“I have the ability to work independently with minimal supervision …”
Even if it’s true, a statement like this on your resume is more likely than not to get it thrown on the trash pile. Hiring managers love independent workers — but they hate seeing soft skills on a resume with no evidence to back them up.
The solution? Don’t just say that you can work independently — prove it! In this guide, we’ll cover:
- Examples of what to include on your resume to show you can work independently
- How to say that you work well independently (without coming right out and saying it)
- Essential skills for independent workers
- Tips to keep in mind when listing soft skills in your resume
- Sample bullet points for working independently
A quick-start guide to showing your ability to work independently on a resume
Short on time? Here are the essentials you need to know about showing you’re an independent worker on your resume:
- Include project and tasks from times when you’ve worked independently
- Add internships, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities if you don’t have enough independent work experience.
- Start your bullet points with a strong action verb — ideally, one that speaks to your ability to work independently.
- Include clear metrics or results whenever possible.
- Show independent work and related soft skills through your accomplishments — never in your skills section.
- Get expert advice — instantly — by uploading your resume to an ATS resume scanner.
Keep scrolling for more details, including a breakdown of what skills recruiters want to see on your resume and sample accomplishments that show you can work independently.
What to include on your resume to show your ability to work independently
The best place to put your accomplishments is always in your work experience section, since that’s the part recruiters care about the most. But if you’re new to the workforce or just struggling to come up with relevant examples, you don’t need to restrict your examples to traditional work experience — they can also include internships, volunteering, extracurriculars, and freelance or contract work.
Whatever the content, the examples you choose could include:
- Working alone on a task or project
- Multitasking or working on several projects, deadlines, etc.
- Taking point on a high-stakes or high-profile task
- Working on a task outside your normal comfort zone
- A time when you were unprepared for something but got positive results
- Any time when you had to be your own boss, e.g. if you ran your own business, took on a high-level interim role, or you were without leadership for an extended period
Just like other soft skills, your ability to work independently is a skill that recruiters do not want to see listed in your skills section, instead they want to see what you have accomplished with this skill. A good way to check if you have shown your ability to work independently through your accomplishments and bullet points is to upload your resume to the tool below – it'll let you know if your resume highlights independent work as well as your other relevant achievements.
Examples of how to show you can work independently on a resume
Stuck on exactly how to word your resume accomplishments? Here are some tried and tested examples from successful resumes to get you started.
Paid work experience
If you often work independently as part of your regular work experience, this should be fairly straightforward. Choose a handful of examples that show your ability to work independently in different contexts; for example, choosing your own tasks, managing your own workload and priorities, seeking solutions to problems on your own, and proactively communicating your progress without needing someone else to check in on you.
Here are some examples:
Sustained 95% on-time completion rate for software tests by effective team management and work balance.
Created weekly and monthly project status reports for various stakeholders, highlighting key constraints, if any, and ensuring timeliness of project deliverable, resulting in over 95% customer satisfaction rate.
If you’re still in school or only graduated recently, you can treat internships the same way as you would any other kind of work experience, including listing them in your regular experience section. While you may have had more supervision than other types of jobs, you can still choose accomplishments that show what you did on your own or without needing to be told.
Here are some examples:
Secured and surveyed 18 websites with 0 primary attacks in the first month on the job.
Implemented regular monitoring of network performance, reducing network downtime by 11% through quicker responses.
Projects, volunteering, and extracurriculars
Don’t have a lot of work experience to use as an example? That’s okay — personal or educational projects, volunteer positions, and even extracurricular activities can all be used instead.
Here are some examples:
Worked to build out the networking infrastructure for a local education charity as they began expansion to the west coast.
Freelance and contract work
While it may be a little trickier to list freelance work on a resume, it’s also an excellent way to show that you can work independently with minimal supervision. Try to stick to accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for and that highlight your ability to take initiative and get results.
Here are some examples:
Collaborated with over 3K clients to determine project scopes, set milestones, and agree on payment terms.
Provided responsive and professional support to 8K existing clients and developed 900 new relationships within 4 months.
Action verbs for working independently
“Worked independently on …” might seem like a good way to start your bullet points if you’re aiming to show that you can work with minimal supervision, but it says very little about what you actually did. Your accomplishments should be as specific as possible, and that includes your action verbs.
Try some of these resume action verbs instead for maximum impact:
These all demonstrate your role more clearly while showing your ability to get things done with minimal oversight.
Skills that show you can work independently
Working independently involves a host of related skills. To show hiring managers that you have the skills to be an independent worker, your resume should include evidence of:
- Self motivation
- Problem solving
- Time management
- Work ethic
- Goal setting
Like “working independently,” these are all soft skills that don’t belong in your skills section. Instead, think of examples of when you used these skills in a professional context. Bonus points if you can combine them to paint a picture of exactly how well you work independently — for example, working alone on a tight deadline involving valuable assets shows independent work, time management, and integrity.
If you’re not sure which skills to include in your skills section, use the skills search tool below to search for the job you’re applying for. It’ll give you a list of hard skills relevant to the job.
Do’s and don’ts of saying you can work independently on a resume
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when writing your resume:
DON’T explicitly say that you can work well independently. Hiring managers don’t put much stock in self-assessment, which means it’s a waste of space at best.
DO choose accomplishments that clearly show your ability to work independently. Try to be as specific as possible — the more information recruiters have, the more easily they can picture you in the role.
DON’T talk too much about how you prefer to work independently. Even if solo work is a big part of the job, it may raise red flags about your ability to get along with others or work as part of a team when necessary.
DO have a few examples of times when you’ve worked alone or with minimal support ready to go for when you reach the interview stage.
DON’T just put “independently” at the start of every bullet point — generally, you should avoid using adverbs on your resume at all.