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Should I Provide A Resume When Asked For One?

There is a pushin-my-button word for some in the virtual service industry and that word is  resume. Some have gone so far as to advise others that if someone ask for a resume they’d better run and run fast or they’ll be treated like an employee. The IRS has some great guides in place to determine if they classify someone as an employee and requesting a resume isn’t on the list. You can read more about what is on the list here.

Some virtual service providers (VSPs) are on guard for this and their I’m-a-business-owner-o-meter immediately engages and goes from 0 to 99 in 30 seconds.  Should you strike back with the “I’m a business owner, I don’t provide resumes” line or provide the requested information?

It’s time we talk about it.  But before we do I want to say there is no right or wrong to this just what works best for you and your business. Does hearing someone ask for a resume make your ears perk up and make you feel the need to educate them on why they shouldn’t use ‘that word’ when speaking with you?  Many VSPs provide the information and move forward.  Occasionally I see VSPs that find it offensive. What makes it offensive? 

I’ve been an employee.
I’m an independent business owner over 15 years
And I was an employee and independent business owner at the same time.
If someone ask me for a resume, I provide the information and move on.
How do you handle it?

I understand for some hearing someone ask for a resume scares them and raises their hair and reminds them that they are glad to be out of the corporate rat race. After all,  you do commonly hear the word resume in the workplace. It has no business being used in the virtual sphere also, right!

I know this is going to throw many for a loop but they also use the words money, payment, invoicing, project management, partnership, contract, agreement, time, timer, assistant, admin, assessment, interview, Skype, office hours, retainer, packages, hourly and other words in employer- employee relationships but we don’t run from them. It seems it is only the word resume that ruffles feathers. Why is that?

What is a resume?
A resume is a document used by a person to present their background and skills.
That’s it.

Yes, it is typically requested by employers but that’s not what a resume is. There is no rule that says a contractor can’t request a resume (insert a gasp). What’s most important is that we look at the reason anyone (employer or someone bringing on a contractor) is requesting the resume. They are requesting a resume to learn more about your background and skills. That’s it.

What I see among many VSPs is a link to LinkedIn (which is used heavily by employers by the way) showing what? Yes, our background and a list of our skills which is some of the exact same information that’s on a resume.

Does having that same information on LinkedIn make it less intimidating and help us feel like more of a business owner? Does it  empower us as business owners to link to the same information on a platform we have no control over that both employers and virtual service providers are using heavily?  I had LinkedIN while I worked in the office;  my office (employee) experience is a part of my LinkedIn profile too.

I’m concluding that it’s the idea that someone would want us to take a few minutes to compile our background and skills and present it in a professional manner on a document that’s the problem. It can’t be the fact that they are requesting the information. We’re willing to supply the information as long as they don’t want it on a document…like a resume. Right? We’re not having to make our resume in the virtual sphere keyword rich so it passes through automated processes to finally reach a human so why does it present a problem?

Don’t let your thought-filter convince you that someone using a word whose meaning has no restriction limiting it to employment is going to be challenging to work with, after all the word means what it means and what it means has nothing to do with employment. Is it used in employment agreements? Yes.

I love how vadirectory makes it plain, if you’re applying to be a team member you need to provide a resume. Plain and simple. They get you’re a business owner, they are business owners too!

Many people asking for a resume are also independent business owners just like us, they know we’re not their employee and aren’t trying to make us one after all that is more expensive for them.
What they want is information on our background and skills. If we are taking on subcontractors don’t we want the same information from them?

Call it a company profile, a skills sheet, send a promo video or anything you’d like just keep in mind a resume by definition is not limited to employer-employee relationships. Widely used, yes. Limited to, no.

You can create one in Canva or any other editor and name it whatever you’d like; you can redirect the requester to get on board with what you call it :
Yes, I’ll be happy to send my skills sheet to you.”

Does it bother you when someone seeking to contract a contractor (sometimes it’s clearly stated in the post or write-up that they are looking for a contractor)  uses the word resume? If so, why? If it doesn’t why doesn’t it bother you? Comment on this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 


  1. I love this blog post! After further reading what you posted here as well as the group I’ve decided to create my resume. I’m more than happy to share my skills, and experience with anyone that requests to view it.

  2. NJ,
    Thanks for this from a newbie VA. I’ve had the exact same thoughts as you… they just want to know about me. However, I keep seeing post after post after post, and most recently as a topic in a webinar, the fact that “we are business owners and we don’t have to provide a resume.” It actually brings to mind a quote from the old movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” Just trade out “resume” for the word “badges.” I really thought my thought process was way off-base. I’m happy to learn that it is not.

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