Build Your Resume Freelancing
One of the most common ways young people look to build a resume is through internships. This usually involves a lengthy application process followed by 2-3 months of unpaid work in exchange for a company name and three bullet points on your resumé. Some internships are paid, which sweetens the deal.
Taking on a typical internship is one way to build your resume, but you should consider adding freelance work into your 'career building' efforts for a number of reasons.
1. You Can Rack Up The Names
If you're young and your resumé is bare, freelancing is a great way to quickly add multiple pieces of experience to an otherwise white sheet of paper.
A full time internship will take 40 hours per week of your undivided attention. (Don't forget to count your commute time into this commitment.) Even a part time internship will take a considerable quantity of time over a multiple month period. In exchange for all this effort you'll get one name to throw on the resume which isn't very helpful if your only other experience is restaurant work.
Freelance work can give you experience in a certain area without the massive time commitment. Even if you're freelance video editing takes just two hours of your time per week it will look good on your resume. Mentioning this experience will look similar to a part time internship you could have taken at a local film studio but will take you one tenth the time.
Because you can freelance whenever you like, (mornings, late evenings, weekends) and because the time commitment is so low, it is very easy to double up or triple up with different jobs for different employers. In a very short time it is possible to build a resume of paid work that would take years to build with 'typical' jobs and internships.
If you already have an internship or a full time job, it's relatively easy to add a little extra freelance work into the mix.
2. Everything You Do Is 'Front Lines' Work
One of the most satisfying facts about freelance work is that everything you do has economic value. You'll learn real skills that are worth real money.
As a freelancer you never need to do the office busy work. You never need to shred old documents because your boss doesn't want to do it himself. You never need to sort old documents or fold fliers for an upcoming company event. You'll never be asked to get coffee for the office.
Once a client agrees to hire you, everything you do is 'front lines' work. They will want you to get results and it is up to you to make these results happen. Every job you complete, therefore, will teach you how to produce real value the field you're working in.
Because your employer has the option to end your working relationship at any time, you get a quick feedback loop telling you how much value you bring to the table. If you ever get caught up in busy work (intern work) and don't produce results you will be told to find employment elsewhere.
As a freelancer, your time will always be spent honing skills that are worth real money. You'll never need to wait around watching YouTube videos to pass the time and you'll never need to be the 'coffee intern' who has become so well known in America's workforce.
3. You Can Build Your Resume While You Travel
One of the most unfortunate aspects of most 'typical' internships is that they are location dependent. Usually, you need to commute into the office in order to work and the idea of taking a trip to Mexico for two weeks during your internship is unimaginable. (You're probably not getting paid so the vacation would be too expensive anyway...)
Freelance work gives you many more opportunities. So long as you get your work done before your deadlines you can travel as much as you want, all while earning the money to fund your trip.
If you only consider typical internships, you'll need to decide whether to spend your time traveling with friends or 'getting experience' working for a company in your city. If you choose to get work experience, you won't be able to travel, you probably won't get paid, and at the end of the summer you'll have just one company name to throw on your resumé.
If you choose to freelance, you'll be able to travel all summer long, you'll earn an income that funds your experiences, and you'll most likely have at least 3-4 clients who you can point to in your next job interview.