Your CV is like a key that can open doors to opportunity and employment; but the key must fit the lock. A good contractor CV is neat and clearly set out, but there’s no point in experimenting with fancy templates, colours or borders; a contractor CV means business, so it should reflect you as a professional body and you shouldn’t be displaying your personality. Roughly your CV should fit on two sides of A4. The first side should focus on your skills and the second should focus on your work experience and job history. Below we outline tips for a winning CV.
Use as many buzzwords as possible. Some recruiters may look at 200 CVs just for one position and they will only spend 30 seconds scanning it before they move on to the next. You should fill your first page full of skill words that you know are relevant for the place on offer. If you want, you can put these in bold so they catch the reader’s eye.
Don’t be afraid of bullet points. There is simply not enough space on a CV to write things in full sentences of give detailed explanations of how you completed a project. Simply write your skills in bullet points in one section and then explain your work experience on the second page.
Include education and qualifications. These should be displayed below your contact information on the first page. Because you’re a highly experienced and specialist professional, there’s no point mentioning school grades; stick to anything from degree level upwards and mention any professional bodies you belong to in bullet point format.
Create an experience table. Tables are also great for contractor CVs because they keep things organised and concise. Have the following columns; employer, job role, length of employment, projects undertaken and achievements. Fill in all of these and it will show what you did and how you learnt from it.
Tweak your CV for each application. If you have years of experience and a giant list of different jobs then only include the ones that are the most relevant to the contract for which you are applying. Make sure you thoroughly understand the contract in question and only discuss you work on similar projects. If your earlier jobs are only loosely related then leave them out.
Personality doesn’t matter. A short introduction, briefly outlining you as a worker and your level of skills is important to engage the reader. Other than that, leave out anything about you as a person. Sections on hobbies and interests are irrelevant and take up valuable space where you can discuss your professional achievements.
You can use third person. If writing in first person makes you feel like your ego may burst through the walls of your house, then you can write in third person. Using your own name and third person pronouns makes the whole writing experience a lot more comfortable and you can retain distance between the CV and your actual self.
Writing an effective CV isn’t easy; it has to be a work of perfection. Your CV should be the sharpest tool in your armoury, so you must put in the time to polish it. It is a good idea to get professional advice once you’ve written a draft CV so you can get a second opinion from someone who knows everything about CVs for contractors. Here at ICS we provide a variety of contractor services to help you set up as a contractor, so you can get off to a successful start. 3/11/2013