Writing a Contractor CV

Looking for work as a contractor can be difficult, especially when you haven’t got any former clients with new projects on the horizon. Contractors looking for work need to spread their wings a little and consider looking in new directions, and a quality CV is completely essential. Below are some things to keep in mind when writing your contractor CV, ensuring you are best positioned for finding future contracts.

Contractor CVs versus Permanent CVs

The main difference between a contractor CV and a permanent CV is that in the first instance potential employers are looking to buy your skills and industry experience on a short-term basis. Your role will be to help on a short-term basis, fix problems and deliver instant results.

You need to avoid the filler content that may be found in permanent employee CVs. This means less focus on how you can become a core member of their team and more detailing of the exact experience and skills you have.

CV Length

Essay-length CVs never go down well. This is as much to do with layout as content but you need to focus on those roles which are most relevant for the contract you’re trying to win. A CV longer than 3 A4 pages long it too long and though this can be difficult if you have been working as a contractor for decades, you need to focus in detail on recent roles and simply list the others.

Presenting your CV

First impressions really matter when it comes to your CV and if you want it to find you future contractor work then you need to pay attention to every last detail. These tips may seem simple but they really count:

Spelling & Grammar

Using a spellchecker is a good start but after that you need to go back through your work to ensure there are no slip ups which may go unnoticed such as missing letters. The same goes for getting your ‘theirs’ and ‘theres’ right.

Fonts

Sticking to easily readable, commonly known fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman and Helvetica will ensure your CV has a uniform appearance. Using fancy fonts or those which you think express your personality simply isn’t a good idea as your CV is about business and showing off your skills, your interview is a chance to include your personality.

Layout

A standard layout should be carried through the whole of your CV, with no sections looking out of place or odd looking icons or graphics. There is no real need to submit your photo as part of your CV unless it is a requirement, which shouldn’t be the case.

What goes in your Contractor CV?

Your CV is a sales document, it is the way you can highlight the most important elements of your contracting business, whether you’re part of a limited company or working under an umbrella company. You need to ensure your key skills and experience are made clear.

Personal Summary

The ‘about you’ element of your CV. This is simply your name and contact details, it doesn’t need to include every fact about you such as age or marital status as these facts simply aren’t relevant to your application.

Skills Summary

This is the key section of your CV. It should be made up of a bulleted list of points which show off your key skills and experience such as MySQL (6 years). Short and concise bullets will stand out more clearly than a dense paragraph.

Past Jobs & Contracts

List your most recent contracts and even permanent roles if relevant, in reverse chronological order. As mentioned you don’t need to go back to the beginning of your working life but you should be able to demonstrate what you have been doing since embarking upon your career and what you achieved specifically in each role, especially in those trouble-shooting contractual roles.

Further Information

There may be other things you feel are important for your CV. It could be things such as your driver’s license and also things such as a quick summary of your academic qualifications, to provide a little bit of in depth background to your characters. Information such as hobbies and interests doesn’t have a place on your CV, unless it is directly related to the role you’re attempting to apply for.

What about LinkedIn?

Paper CVs are being looked at less and less and though this isn’t a sign that you don’t need one, it does mean you need to have other bases covered. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for contractors and employers to connect through so ensuring you have an up to date and well written profile is as important as your CV. It isn’t a replacement but it is very likely that employers will check you out on LinkedIn after reading your CV and as a modern professional they’ll expect to find you there. On the topic of social media, make sure that your privacy settings are correct and try to refrain from adding clients on your personal accounts, the last thing you want is them seeing some rather embarrassing photos and status updates.

It may also be a platform for finding possible employment and projects looking for further contractor support.

Key Points to Remember

A successful contractor CV can be your way of finding new projects and ensuring your business continues to trade successfully. Below are the three key points you need to keep in mind when putting together your CV.

  1. Keep it simple – simple, presentable and clear are essential elements of your CV. Anyone reading it should be able to have an instant understanding of your key skills and experiences
  2. Skills come first – you should always put the most important elements of your experience first, your skills summary needs to be the most prominent part of your CV and you should avoid all filler content.
  3. Tailor it – every role will require a slightly different CV so be prepared to tweak, highlight specific skills pertinent to individual roles and this also shows you have a genuine interest in each contract.

At the Futurelink Group we provide a dedicated service to contractors, ensuring they have the right systems in place to succeed. Our range of services should ensure that contractors looking for work have the right systems in place to immediately begin working when your CV delivers results.

To find out more about our range of payroll and accountancy solutions, call us on +44 (0)1923 277 900.

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William Cadden, Self-Employed Contractor

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Ronaldo, Umbrella PAYE contractor

“WS Contractors Ltd are extremely happy with the services that Futurelink provide. The efficient and friendly staff are always willing to help and assist. The feedback from our operatives is positive and pleasing. We would recommend Futurelink to all new recruits joining our team.”

Michelle Hughes, WS Contractors Ltd

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