Contractor CVs: The ultimate guide
When a business is in need of a contractor they want to have this position filled with the best possible candidate to give their project stability. The ideal profile of a contractor differs substantially in comparison to a permanent hire and therefore, the structure of a CV for contracting should reflect this. Here are my top guidelines to help you secure your next contract opportunity:
1. Re-write your CV for each specific position and emphasise relevant experience and desired skills. A contractor should be able to hit the ground running. It should be clear on your CV which experience and skills fit in well with the contracting position you are applying for. Start with your most recent position and elaborate on skills and experience gained, explain why you would be the best fit for the position, and remember to keep your points specific. I always recommend the following format: in year 20xx I was working on project X at company Y, where I specialized in skill Z.
2. Length and readability of your CV. Hiring managers will often only briefly read your CV to find common ground with the desired profile. Ask friends, family, and recruiters for feedback on your CV to ensure it is clear, concise, and fits with the vacancy you are applying for. Don’t be afraid to omit or shorten less relevant experience.
3. Mention specifics. Besides your previous positions, tasks and organisation, other aspects such as technology, applications, projects, or ways of working are of upmost importance. Frequently, candidates assume having role X at company Y is self-explanatory for having experience Z. I advise you to be as specific as possible. Mention your experience for example with AWS Cloud migration, working in Agile sprints, Kubernetes DevOps tooling or knowledge of certain regulatory topics, as this will increase your chances of securing the position.
4. References. A big plus for contractors is that they have access to several former employers who can elaborate on your recent performance. Make use of your network! Managers with similar positions from similar organisations who hired you in the past are an asset to strengthen your profile.
As the market and businesses needs are always evolving, you should also always be updating and working on your CV. Continue to add new skills or certifications as you complete them.
If you’re interested in learning more or would like more advice and tips on your CV - reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.