How To Write A Great Contractor CV
Unlike traditional CVs for permanent roles, a contractor’s CV isn’t always able to follow a conventional format. Your work experience may consist of quite diverse projects which don’t tally with a career progression type CV, or some projects may have run concurrently so don’t work in a timeline format.
Instead you should play to your strengths and use your CV to highlight these in an impactful way. Here’s how:
Contractor CV – Project Based
If you have had a varied career working in different sectors, or perhaps your job titles are diverse, consider presenting your work history using project themes. Projects could be grouped by sector if relevant, or by the principal role you performed for that project. For each project you should summarise the role, what you were employed to do, your results and the bottom line impact of your work. For example:
Multidisciplinary Engineering Consultancy Ltd Sept 2013 – Feb 2014
Hired to meet an increased workload due to the consultancy winning three new contracts. Specifically worked on the design of Project C, taking over as the Senior Structural Engineer until the project was signed off in January.
Tasked to get the project back on track and find ways to progress the work quickly without going over budget. The client was very satisfied with the outcome and subsequently is in talks with the consultancy over future projects.
- Top tip: tailor your CV for each individual role you apply for and highlight the most relevant project theme to that specific job.
Contractor CV – Skills Based
Alternatively you could approach your CV from a skills perspective. This means defining a concise list of key skills or attributes that provide you with categories to file your contractual jobs under. Once again you should highlight the most relevant skills category to the job you are applying for by placing it at the top of this section of your CV. This format of CV works best for individuals who have had a broad range of different roles that don’t logically fall under one job title.
It is also an effective way of presenting your CV if you are looking to change career. Instead of highlighting your previous job titles, which a potential employer may think irrelevant to their vacancy, you identify the key skills needed to perform their job and give weight to these instead. Of course you must also provide details of the projects you’ve worked on, including your employers, dates and the information in the above example.
Finally, if your projects tend to be quite short term 3-6 months, you may well have accrued quite a list of them. Received wisdom is that CVs should not exceed more than 2-3 pages (and I agree!) which presents a problem if you are a veteran contractor. Prioritise your most relevant and recent projects so your CV is not excessively long.
If you are looking for a new contract civil, structural or building services M&E engineering job and would like to discuss it with a consultant please give us a call on +44 (0)1252 413 080. If you have a question about structuring your CV leave a comment in the box below.