How to create a stand-out CV for contracting

How to create a stand-out CV for contracting

May 10, 2017

First impressions count so it’s worth spending some time getting your CV in shape before you apply for a contracting position.  While CV content and presentation should reflect your style and the type of role you are applying for, there are a few basic principles that everyone should follow.  In this article, Esther Davies, our Head of HR, gives her top ten tips to consider when reviewing your CV.

1.  Tailor your CV to each role

Your prospective client will spend only a few seconds scanning your CV, so it’s got to be impressive.

When applying for a new assignment, check that the content of your CV is relevant to the role you are applying for. Emphasise your experience and achievements in line with the role’s requirements. Remember, the person reviewing your CV wants you to be the right candidate, so make it easy for them to see that you are the ideal person for the role!

2.  Cut the waffle

Getting the length of a CV right can be tricky. In general, try and keep your CV to no more than two pages. If you need to use more pages, do so, but remember to keep your content to the point and provide brief, relevant evidence.

3.  Use evidence

Your achievements and experience make you different from other applicants, so make them clear and provide evidence where possible. If you have saved a business money, state how much. If you have completed a project, state the benefits to the company/customer.  Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet.

4.  Make it personal

Your CV needs to stand out, so use it to tell people more about the unique person you are. Include information about your passions and interests, things that grab attention.  I once received a CV where the candidate stated they could complete a Rubix cube in only a few minutes.  They got the interview (and I had a cube ready for them to complete at the end!)

 5.  Be honest

Don’t be tempted to stretch the truth on your CV.  Your interviewer could choose any aspect for further questioning and it will soon become apparent if you are not being 100% honest. Most people have had negative experiences, the important thing is to be prepared with an explanation, including an analysis of any learning points.

6.  Think about presentation

While this may seem like common sense, many candidates simply don’t give the matter of CV presentation enough attention.  A reader-friendly CV could be the deciding factor for a recruiter who has spent hours wading through a pile of CVs.

Put your experiences in order from your current role and work backwards, this way they have the choice to read your historic roles.

Use clean lines and uncomplicated formatting (such as bold and underline) to draw attention – much more than this and you’ll find the formatting effects simply cloud over the real content.

7.  Check your contact details

You’ve spent time on the content, format, style and relevance of your CV, but recruiters aren’t calling you back?  It could be that you haven’t included the correct contact details!  It’s surprising how many candidates fail to include phone numbers or email addresses.  Check and double-check, you don’t want to miss that opportunity!

8.  Proof read

A CV containing spelling or grammatical errors is likely to be placed on the ‘take no further’ pile.

As with any important document it is wise to proof read it again and again until you are confident there are no errors. Always ask someone else to proof read it for you – a fresh pair of eyes will naturally be drawn to mistakes that you may have missed.

9.  Use the right format

How many times have you received an item electronically and either haven’t been able to open it or have found it difficult to read because the formatting is incorrect?

The best way to submit an electronic CV is to save it as a PDF document. That way, your formatting will remain.  Plus, this format limits the recipient’s ability to alter anything without your knowledge.

10. Keep your CV up-to-date         

Your CV should be a working document, tailored to each role you apply for. This means you need to refresh it on a regular basis.  So even when you’re not actively looking for a new role, add any new achievements or points of interest so that you have the information you need when you are looking for new work.

Crest Plus is a specialist in providing payment solutions for contractors throughout the UK.

If you are a contractor, or thinking of becoming a contractor, please call us on 01244 684700, we will be pleased to talk to you about your working options to help maximise your take-home pay.

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