10 Essential Soft Skills for Your Freelance Resume

10 Essential Soft Skills for Your Freelance Resume

The freelance industry has grown exponentially in the past few years. You can derive lots of benefits from freelance work – flexibility, a better work-life balance, and greater earning potential, to name just a few – so you can see why many are choosing to leave the 9-to-5 life behind.

Traditional jobs and freelancing do have something in common, though. Both require certain soft skills, also known as transferable skills or employability skills. 

In this blog post, we’ll explain what soft skills are, how you can improve your soft skills, and how to add them to your resume.

What Are Soft Skills, and Why Do They Matter?

Soft skills are general, non-technical skills that people need in most jobs. They show how competent you are at relating to those around you (i.e., being able to communicate clearly) and how effectively you can manage your work (i.e., being organized). 

They differ from hard skills, which are technical skills that require field-specific knowledge.

Soft skills are important because they help create friendly, well-balanced work environments. They are also easily transferable between jobs or careers, meaning that employees with strong soft skills are often more adaptable to change. 

10 Essential Soft Skills (and How to Improve Them)

1. Communication

As a freelancer, you should consider communication your bread and butter. Communication comprises how you network as well as how you find and keep new clients. It’s more than simply talking. It’s about:

  • Active listening (being fully present and interacting with others in a meaningful way)
  • Written communication (being able to communicate effectively in emails, on social media, and in other written media)
  • Nonverbal communication (being aware of your tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions)

The best way to develop your communication skills is to practice them regularly. Pay close attention to the three areas listed above, and over time, you’ll learn how to express yourself and collaborate with others effectively. Your ability to understand the point of view of clients and colleagues and treat them with empathy and respect will make them much more likely to work with you again

You can also ask for feedback from the people you work with, hire a coach, or consider taking a communication skills workshop. 

2. Resilience

Resilience is all about your ability to face and bounce back from challenging situations. Every industry has its challenges, but knowing how to handle them and come back stronger will help you to be more successful in the long run. Resilience is a valuable skill in the workplace – and in other areas of life! 

You can build resilience in many ways. One way is to use your experience or the experiences of others to identify areas to improve on should a specific situation arise again. Doing this helps you reframe the challenge as an opportunity for learning and growth rather than something to be afraid of. 

3. Time management

Time management is about how productive you are during a particular time frame. Good time management includes being able to prioritize tasks, set goals, manage stress to avoid burnout, and delegate tasks where appropriate.

If you want to improve your time management skills, you need to establish habits that foster organization. These may include determining your most productive work hours, creating a clear schedule, taking frequent breaks, and using time management tools. Such habits will make it easier to tick items off your to-do list and reach your goals. 

4. Attention to detail

Attention to detail is a soft skill that many people take for granted. It can help you avoid making errors, increase the quality of your work, and boost your productivity. Attention to detail is an important skill in most industries. For example, if you work as a proofreader, editor, or copywriter, being able to follow style guides and deliver high-quality work that clients will be happy with is essential.

You can improve your attention to detail in lots of ways: creating lists, maintaining a routine, making quality a priority, etc. 

5. Organization

Organizational skills include being punctual, meeting deadlines, and staying focused on a task. 

As a freelancer, you need to complete projects on time (and to a high standard) if you want to keep your clients happy. Otherwise, they may not want to work with you in the future and are unlikely to provide you with good references or testimonials. You are also responsible for making sure that your business runs smoothly and that you take care of any administrative tasks, such as paying your taxes on time. 

As with many of the other skills on this list, becoming more organized means establishing small habits that make a big difference over time. These may include making lists, setting realistic deadlines, and learning when to say no to extra work

6. Ability to solve problems

Problem-solving is about identifying the possible causes of a problem and coming up with a solution. Effective problem-solving often involves using a number of skills: teamwork, creative and logical thinking, resourcefulness, a willingness to explore different options, the ability to make a final decision, etc.

Strong problem-solving skills show your clients that you are flexible and that you can rise to any challenges that come your way.

If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, you can do a number of things. These include focusing on the solution (rather than the problem), breaking the problem down into manageable parts, and actively listening to different ideas and suggestions. 

7. Adaptability

Being adaptable is an essential soft skill in a world where things often change quickly, especially in a work environment. 

Adaptability will give you greater confidence in taking on new projects, working with new clients, and tackling any challenges that come your way as a freelancer. It can also help you with problem-solving and being receptive to constructive criticism. 

As with every skill on this list, you can do lots of things to become more adaptable. For example, consider pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. You could try taking on a project you would usually shy away from – you’ll soon see that you can handle more than you think! 

8. Accountability

Accountability is recognizing that you’re responsible for your own actions. 

As a freelancer, you’re directly accountable for communicating effectively with clients, meeting deadlines, and maintaining a high standard of work. You’re also accountable for the success of your business, from completing day-to-day administrative tasks to making long-term plans. 

A few ways to create accountability are knowing how to set clear expectations around projects, being open to feedback, using work-tracking tools, and setting SMART goals for your business. 

9. Teamwork

Lots of people associate freelancing with working alone. However, freelancers have to work with clients, so teamwork skills are still essential. 

Teamwork, or being a good team player, is all about communication. It’s about being able to listen actively, being receptive to other people’s ideas and opinions, and collaborating to manage projects and reach goals. A good team player also shares accountability with their team and works with them to solve any problems that arise. 

10. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the verbal and nonverbal skills you use when interacting with people face-to-face (whether that’s in person or on a video call). Strong interpersonal skills are essential if you want to build good relationships. They help you understand other people’s perspectives so you can adjust your approach and work with others more effectively. 

You can improve your interpersonal skills in many ways, such as:

  • Attending workshops or online classes
  • Finding opportunities to network and build relationships (e.g., joining industry-specific groups can help with continuing professional development)
  • Asking others for feedback and constructive criticism

How to Include Soft Skills in Your Resume

When reviewing resumes, recruiters look out for specific keywords (concerning skills, qualifications, and experience) to help determine whether you’re suitable for a position. Some recruiters even use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan for these keywords, so it’s really important to include them if you want to be considered! 

To find the right keywords, all you need to do is look at the job listing. Look out for any skills that are mentioned (particularly in the first paragraph) and any powerful verbs relating to skills or employer expectations. You can then scatter these keywords throughout your resume, making sure to match them exactly. If you’d like to learn more about adding keywords to your resume, check out our guide on How to Use Resume Keywords and Phrases.

Becoming a Proofreader and/or an Editor

Want a new challenge to put your soft skills to the test? Our Becoming A Proofreader and Becoming An Editor courses come with a guaranteed work opportunity. Learn everything you need to be a freelance proofreader and editor – and then get to work immediately!

Start your journey

Start your journey

Start your journey

Kick-start a flexible new career

Our Courses

Time for a change?

Sign up for a Knowadays free trial – it’s your first step towards a new career.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Join 5,000+ Learners Advancing Their Career With Guaranteed Work 🚀 Save 15% On Our Bundle Today! 👉Buy Now
+ +