7 tips for a great contractor CV
If you have decided to embark on a rewarding career as a contractor, one of the first things you will need to do is sell yourself to potential clients. In this article, we look at how you can make the most of your CV to get your perfect contract.
Work backwards from your current contract
You need to make an impact on the first page of your CV, so list your current skills and most recent contract, then work backwards from there. Remember to include the number of years experience you have for each skill or programming language, and key deliverables achieved in each role.
Tailor your CV to suit the role
Although it may be a time-consuming process, it can help you secure a job, so you should always tailor your CV to a company or department wherever possible. Make reference to specific projects you have previously completed that illustrate your fit for the role - a targeted CV will always have more impact than a generalised one.
Keep it short and snappy
The ideal length for a contractor CV is no more than two pages, with the most important detail on the first page. Keep your job experience to relevant roles (part time summer jobs from ten years ago are unlikely to add anything). Importantly, keep it focused and concise - agencies and employers don't have the time to read through lengthy paragraphs, and it could suggest you are unable to make points succinctly. Using bullet points and bold headings are a good way to get your experience across while making it scannable for readers.
Write a covering letter
A compelling covering letter can make all the difference when trying to impress a recruiter. Keep it brief (around three short paragraphs is ideal) and avoid repeating what is already in your CV. Confirm who you are, the role you are applying for, why you should be considered, any technical skills that are particularly relevant to the job and your contact details for them to get in touch with you.
Update your LinkedIn profile
In recent years, LinkedIn has completely changed the way contractors communicate. The platform allows you to upload a live CV and automatically build out your profile from it. What's more, many recruitment agencies use it for sourcing hard-to-find people - so you've got nothing to lose by being on there.
Ensure it looks professional
Avoid gimmicky borders and colours; use a clean layout with a sans-serif font that is readable on screens (Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are popular choices). If you use a table or columns to outline your experience, make sure they are in a logical order for the reader. It goes without saying, but make sure you manually proof read your CV as spell-checker isn't perfect.
Put your academic record towards the end
For many contractors, it makes sense to put your education at the end of the CV. While strong academic results will undoubtedly help with your application, the recruiter is more likely to be interested in your recent projects and skills.
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