Freelancers should know this: Profile versus resume – how freelancers present themselves optimally

Whether you like it or not, client acquisition is the be-all and end-all for freelancers. And with client acquisition, as with a typical job application, comes the presentation of yourself as well as a description of your professional career.

As with the CV of an applicant for a permanent position, potential clients also expect certain details and a certain standard from the profile of a freelancer. If you then know where the differences between a typical CV and the freelancer profile lie and what needs to be taken into account, you may already have the next job in the bag.

Resume or profile – what’s the difference?

There are many ways to create, design or send a job application. However, all the different ways always have the same goal: The applicants want to be selected from a variety of competitors as the one or the one and get the desired job. As far as that goes, it’s all the same as applying for a permanent job. And at first glance, the formalities are not much different either: cover letter, CV, references and the statement of qualifications are basically exactly the same as in common written applications. But the difference starts with the fact that the CV for freelancers is called a profile.

Why is a freelancer profile important?

Unlike a traditional CV application, a profile is more about skills information. The potential customer is usually not interested in your school career or previous jobs. Rather, he wants to know what added value the employment of the freelancer or freelancer brings to his company. Qualifications and competencies are your trump card. Use it as a unique selling point that you can use profitably. Your profile is, so to speak, your very personal and unique business card or, more detailed, your company brochure.

The right person for the job

With your profile you show how versatile your portfolio is. Most of the time, companies are looking for specialists for specific business sectors or projects. With the profile you make it clear that you are exactly the right person for this job or assignment. Highlight your very own experience and skills. Use recommendations and references instead of testimonials from possibly your last employer. Be proud of your achievements and showcase them: A beautiful campaign or a successful project show your skills and testify to creativity, reliability and uniqueness.


One major difference from a traditional resume for a permanent position is the objective of the application. As a freelancer, you are applying for a specific project or task. You are applying as a person, but the focus is always more on the requirements that are currently placed on the respective project – i.e. your knowledge and references. After all, the client’s goal is to successfully complete the project within a reasonable time frame and at a calculable cost. If you can also come up with a likeable personality, all the better.

The somewhat different curriculum vitae: provide project-related information

The profile of a freelancer should be designed accordingly. Of course, relevant stages of your professional career should be included, just like in a regular CV – but in a slightly different way. In addition to your special expertise, the focus should be on a project-related orientation. This includes, for example, the most exact possible project descriptions of orders already completed that could be of particular interest to the client. But be careful: do not exaggerate. Limit yourself to the essential information, otherwise it will quickly come across as arrogant.

The first impression counts: the design

For a good freelancer profile, you need not only the right content, but also a suitable design. You have a free hand here, but remember: less is often more. A simple layout is easier to keep track of than a cluttered and colorful document full of tables. Make sure that the layout is consistent, that the formatting is correct and that the spelling is uniform. It is already possible to draw conclusions about the freelancer on the basis of the external form. Spelling mistakes, for example, indicate inaccuracy. If you decide to include a photo in your profile, it should always be up-to-date and professional. 

Less is often more: the content

Clients often have to look at several profiles. Make it possible for them to compare you with other applicants. Therefore: Reduce your profile to the essentials. The quicker and simpler your competencies – i.e. the skills list – become clear, the better. Here is a summary of the most important information:

  • Which competences do you cover for the respective project?
  • What experience do you have in this area?

Only when these answers fit do the points of availability and price come into view. In general, you can use the following content structure for your profile:

1. Give a summary: Who are you? What experience can help your client?

2. Show core competence: What are you particularly good at?

3. Describe master data

4. Execute project history in reverse chronological order

The correct project history

As mentioned, it is important to convince with a freelancer profile in the shortest possible time. The profile should therefore quickly make it clear to the customer that you are exactly the right person for the project. In addition to the brief description of the person, the skills, i.e. the competencies of the freelancer, and the last project, a presentation of your project history and your focus is important. The project description should include information such as:

  • Customer and industry,
  • Role and task description in the project,
  • Duration of the project.

Describe the projects in such a way that even decision-makers from outside the field understand what the order was about. To give the customer a quick overview, the history should be shown in reverse chronological order.

In what format should a freelancer profile be submitted?

The most common formats for sending your profile are Word or PDF files. Both have their justification and are relevant for different purposes.

  • the Word document

Especially for intermediaries, this format offers great advantages. The profiles are forwarded by the agent, but are usually edited beforehand and provided with their own logo and contact details. The disadvantage: Often it is not so easy to generate an appealing layout in Word. 

  • PDF file

This format has the advantage that it cannot be edited. You therefore retain control over your data. Another advantage is that the file is displayed the same on all end devices.


The freelancer profile is a great way to stand out from other applicants. Your skills come first. Present them in the right light and the likelihood that you will land the desired job is high.