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How to construct a killer contractor CV

Lauren Potter our consultant managing the role
Posted by Lauren Potter
Published on 11 August 2017
No matter how much industry experience you have or how confident you are with job interviews, your CV will always be one of the core building blocks to your career success. As a contractor, you’ll typically work on more projects and with more clients than the average long-term permanent employee, which means you’ll have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share when you advertise your services.
With 1.91 million freelance workers in the UK and an increasing desire from young workers to take on new projects and jobs (two in three Millennials plan to have left their current employer by 2020, according to Deloitte), it’s clear that the demand for need for clear, concise CVs will continue to increase. Here’s how to make yours stand out.

What makes a contractor’s CV different from a permanent CV?

When developing your contracting CV, it’s crucial to understand the difference between it and a CV that is aimed at securing permanent employment. You’ll probably be used to hearing about the ‘two-page maximum’ rule and the need to include more general details such as your education and outside interests. However, the biggest priority should be highlighting specific skills and expertise you can apply to a project, minimising ‘filler’ to put your core skills forward. Hiring Managers will be looking for people who can immediately apply skills and industry knowledge to a specific task, so minimise the management speak and corporate jargon on your CV and get to point straight away. 
Once you eliminate the fluff and hone in on the tangible skills you can bring to a role, you’ll likely notice the length of your CV reduces significantly. However, it’s still a good idea to aim for two to three pages of key achievements and competencies that highlight your strengths. As you gain more experience, you may find it difficult to condense your CV, so speak to your Quanta consultant about what you should include and leave out.

Keywords count

Consider your CV to be the sales document for your skill set. With that in mind, you need to highlight what you do best and what you can bring to a role. For this, you need to employ the use of keywords. Read the description or job spec for the vacancy you’re applying for and pick out the key things companies are looking for. If they mention specific qualifications, years of experience, knowledge of key products or abilities specific to their industry or organisation, highlight these within your CV. If you have experience in a similar role to the one advertised, make this clear too.  
Short, concise bullet points are best for stating your skills summary – you can use sentences or short paragraphs to go into further detail where appropriate, but most organisations just want to know what you’ve done, how long you did it and what the results were. 

Tailor and proof it

Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’d also recommend that your CV is highly specialised and targeted to suit the specific opportunity or project. You may even want to consider putting together separate CVs if you have a diverse work history or a number of interests. Finally, grammar and spelling will always catch the eye of a recruiter and hiring manager, so use your spell check function and ask a trusted friend to review it for mistakes.

Ask the experts

At Quanta, we want to give you access to the best opportunities around and will help you get your CV where it needs to be in order to work on some of the most exciting projects on the market. Head to our contractor zone to find out more about what it’s like to contract with Quanta, or take a look at our latest job opportunities.