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Contractors: Is your CV up to scratch?

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Friday 2nd Sep, 2016

As a contractor, your CV is the tool you need to use to create a strong, professional first impression with prospective clients.

The information you include in your CV will be the first that clients read about you, and from there they are likely to look you up on social media channels or do some extra research into your skills and areas of expertise - that is, unless they're not impressed with the overall look of your CV.

Here, we've put together a refresher on what to include in your CV, alongside providing some tips for what you might have forgotten.

CV tips you should already know

To start with, here are a few CV tips that it's likely you already know, but we thought it was worth reminding you just in case:

  • Always use a legible font. If the client can't read it, you're never going to get any further in the recruitment process.
  • Make sure you include up-to-date, professional-looking contact details. If your email address doesn't sound professional, you might not be taken very seriously.
  • Detail all of your relevant previous experience that will add value to the role you're putting yourself forward for. The recruiter needs to know why they should hire you.
  • Use industry-specific terms. If your CV doesn't look as though it's specially tailored to the contract you're going for, it probably won't engage the recruiter as well as it could.

It's also important to make sure that the overall style of your CV suits the type of contract that you're applying for. For example, if you're wanting to work in a graphic design role, your CV should reflect this and be presented in a creative style, but if you're applying for an engineering position, your CV should probably be more professional-looking and detail your technical experience.

What you might have forgotten from your CV

These aren't the only things that contractors and freelancers - and indeed all other workers - need to include on their CVs though.

For instance, while you might have listed the general details of your past experience, it's also important to be specific about the job titles you've held previously. If you worked in IT, using skills in software development and cyber security, this will be useful information to a prospective client, but they might be even more likely to take notice of you if they know you were a 'security architect' or a 'cyber forensics investigator'.

Research carried out by Mortar London on behalf of Michael Page at the start of 2016 looked at the other areas workers often underestimate when writing a CV, which include failing to use keywords from the job advert, not writing in a professional tone, and making spelling and grammatical errors.

Michael Page commented: "To stand out from other candidates, it's important to be clear on how you contributed and where you added value while in previous roles," before adding: "You're being hired as a professional, so you should show you can present yourself as one."

The research also listed areas that contractors don't necessarily need to cover on their CVs, such as soft skills, all of the qualifications that you've ever achieved, personal interests and providing more than two pages of detail.