Top tips to writing a contractor CV

Finding work! Its something that contractors find themselves doing far more regularly than when they were working as a permanent employee. It can be quite difficult, especially if you don’t already have a strong network of previous clients who are exploring new projects.

There is one tool that will be invaluable to you each time you are searching for a new contract, and that is your contractor CV. Below are some key differences between permanent employee and contractor CVs as well as some top tips to making sure your CV is best positioned to help you find work.

The differences between permanent and contractor CVs

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the last CV you used when you were searching for a permanent job will be ideal for your contract roles.

The main difference between permanent and contract roles is that clients will be more concerned with how you can make an immediate impact and what expertise you possess that will help them to achieve their end goals. In contrast, when you are looking for a permanent role, your skills are obviously a big part of it, but they’ll won’t to know more about your ability to work with others and your commitment to be part of the team long term.

Ultimately, you need to be a lot more factual and ditch the corporate filler jargon.

What to include on your contractor CV

Think of your contractor CV as a sales document, it should sell the main benefits of a client working with you and your key skills need to jump out from the page so that the recruiter or client can’t help but invite you in for an interview.

Featured below are the key elements that you should include on your contractor CV, use it as a framework, if you can think of anything creative to include, all the better.

A bit about you

This is your chance to provide a summary of who you are. It doesn’t need to be paragraphs long like the “about me” section a social media profile, just your name and contact details. Things like the sports you enjoy and your marital status aren’t relevant.

Your skills

This is the section that you need to pay the most attention to! Put together a comprehensive bulleted list and outline your key skills and how much experience you have. So as an IT Contractor, you might have one bullet that looks like “Java programming (4 years).”

Past experience

Here you can detail your most recent experience, it doesn’t matter if these are contract or permanent roles, just make sure that they are relevant to the contract that you are applying for.

As we said earlier, be factual; give examples of how your skills were put to use to achieve certain objectives.

Anything else that you think is relevant

If you have anything else that you think is relevant, don’t be afraid to include it. If a position asks for a driving license, add a footnote that says you have a full license. It could also be useful to add any relevant qualifications that you have obtained.

It is extremely important to tweak your CV from job to job. What is relevant to one contract position might not be so important for another. Take your time and make sure that your contractor CV sells you as much as possible for each role.

Presentation of your Contractor CV

Once you have established what to include on your CV in terms of content, you need to start thinking about how you are going to present the information so that it’s easy to read and that the key points stand out.

If you are working in a creative driven industry, it is important to think a bit more outside the box with the design of your CV. For example, if you are looking to find work as a graphic design consultant, a standard out of the box template may not be the best approach, just remember it still needs to be legible so don’t go crazy with the design.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to the presentation of your contractor CV:

  • Fonts – are you using one that is easy to read?
  • Spelling & Grammar – get someone to double and triple your check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Structure – Is there a clear structure with headings for the reader to clearly identify the key parts of your CV?

Is your CV social?

If you haven’t got one already, make sure you set up a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool in networking and your search for new contracts, so it is essential that you have a complete profile. You can use your CV as a guideline for completing your LinkedIn.

Whilst we are on the topic of social media, its important to remember that around one third of employers have discarded a candidate based on something they read about them on social media. As a result, it is paramount that you have the privacy settings on your social media accounts watertight. You only want your friends seeing those embarrassing photos of you on a Saturday night… not a prospective employer.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like to find out more information about our fixed-fee package for just £55 per month, call one of our friendly expert accountants on 020 7481 4743.