In all the months that I am an admin of the Facebook group Freelancing with a Heart which is a group that caters to those who want to start freelancing but are totally clueless, I still get personal messages and comments from people who are confused with what to include and what to avoid in their cover letters, resumes, and portfolios. A lot of people seem to get them mixed up.
While I certainly am not the expert in this field, I’d like to give you guys a rundown on how I understand things, and I am going to explain it in the simplest way possible.
In the office and corporate world, resumes are sent with a 1-page cover letter in front. It is meant to be the “window” to your resume. The hiring managers for companies do not have all day to read all the resumes that are submitted to them. It is their job, though, to screen all the resumes before they endorse it up to the big boss.
So basically, the resumes have a 1-page cover letter that they read in order to gauge if you are worth their time. If you don’t impress them with the cover letter, then they won’t even flip it and continue reading your resume. It is the same with Upwork and other freelancing platforms, you will have one chance to impress your potential client and that is with your cover letter. You should not make it look like a resume because your profile is already your resume. Your cover letter must make the client want to click your profile and know more about you.
Think of it as your teaser, the movie is your resume, and you have to make sure that those who watch the teaser will want to watch the movie. It’s that simple.
Your resume is where you will showcase your work experience and professional background. This is where you will enumerate all your skills and past work. If your cover letter succeeds in making your client want to know more about you, this is the next step. You have to convince the client that you indeed are the right applicant for the open post he has.
In creating your resume, you have to be able to answer these questions to ensure that you are utilizing your resume in the best way that is possible:
- What do you want to communicate about yourself and your professional career?
- What does this particular client need to know about you? (Yes, you must also edit and cater your resume to fit every client’s need)
- Are all the skills you included beneficial for the job position you are applying to?
- Do you think that you have fully showcased yourself and everything that you can do?
Remember that your resume will decide whether you will get hired or not. Make sure that you spend time on it and make sure you revise it from time to time.
This is a visual way to showcase your skills and talents. Everything that you CAN do can be placed here. It does not matter of you haven’t had a working experience where you used that skill, as long as you can do it, it can be included in your portfolio. It is a common misconception that your portfolio can only be filled with past works and jobs. That is not true,
It is a common misconception that your portfolio can only be filled with past works and jobs. That is not true, if you can draw, then you can include your drawings in your portfolio. If you can create design or logos, include samples of your past designs in your portfolio.
If you have nothing to show in your portfolio, you can spend time in investing in yourself. Create something that you can upload as your portfolio, design your cover photo on Facebook, design you Facebook Page logo, or design the logo of a friend who is starting her own small business. Even if that friend does not have the capacity to pay you yet, think of it as a win-win situation, where you are able to help her and you are able to come up with something that you can add to your portfolio.
Do’s and Don’ts
I compiled a list of what you should and should not do when it comes to these three important documents in your career.
There you go, I hope you now have a clearer idea on how to differentiate these three. In the next blog, I’ll tackle more about how to create a good cover letter.
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If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. :)