Becoming a contractor is full of wonderful benefits – you are essentially your own boss, have the type of freedom and flexibility that permanent workers can only dream of, and to top it off, you could also potentially earn more money than what you might do as a permie.
Of course, with most things in life, where there are positives there will always be at least some negatives, and contracting is no different. To be a contractor, you must be able to get out there and motivate yourself to find the work.
And so, when it comes to finding that very important contract, you will need to make sure that you have an amazing CV that will sell you and your skills and make you stand out from all the other contractors applying for the same role.
CV – Contractor vs Permanent
It’s very important to remember that when writing your CV, it will have a different purpose to one that you might write as a permanent worker.
For example, unlike a permanent CV, your main priority is to highlight the skills you possess early on in the document, and minimise the ‘filler’. The key is to get straight to the point and let the reader know your core skills very early on.
Here are some great tips on how to write a ‘killer’ contractor CV:
- Your CV should never be more than two pages long. Think quality, not quantity – you’ll find that most readers will absorb around 60% of the first page, 40% of the second and near enough nothing on the third. This is worth thinking about when writing your own.
- Be sure to avoid the most common and easy to make mistakes, as they could jeopardise your chance of being accepted; for example – spelling errors or using the wrong grammar. Have someone proofread your CV before sending it off!
- Think about how it looks on the page, so consider using a common font (such as Arial, Times or Verdana) and use a common presentation style throughout.
- Make sure you include a list of your key skills, the number of years worth of experience you have in them and a summary on the first page, as these are the areas where employers will often make up their minds.
- Make sure you tailor the CV to the type of company or department that you are applying for, as this could really make your CV stand out from the rest, as you’ve made that extra effort to change it around to suit the job role.
- Emphasise more on the recent roles, while simply summarising with the older ones.
- Don’t include your required salary; you can negotiate the pay if you get the job! More likely than not you would’ve either given a figure too high or too low otherwise.
- Try to avoid anything too personal being on your CV, such as your age, marital status etc and don’t include a photograph – you can include some interests, but keep it short.
- Find a balance – be positive and be modest, just don’t lie about any information included on your CV!
- Include a covering letter. Although it’s true that some employers may not even bother reading your cover letter, professional CV writers and many recruiters will agree that a good covering letter will only enhance your chances.