The CV is still the predominant means by which local freelancers and consultants are asked to apply for roles. A single piece of paper, or two (no more, please) in which to condense all the molecules that combine to form you.
Let’s look at the CV and how freelancers can improve their CVs to maximize their chances of finding work locally.
The Freelancer CV – What’s it for?
Why are you creating and sending your CV? Is it to capture and share everything you’ve done, to enable the recipient to make a decision there and then, OR are you aiming to try to get a meeting with that person. If, we assume, the latter – think about what that means you should or shouldn’t include. What will get you that meeting? Put yourself in your reader’s shoes.
We assume that the aim of creating and sending a CV is to find work. Make the CV short, specific and most important of all, leave the reader wanting to ask questions. Too often after reading a CV I don’t need to meet the person because I know everything I need to know about them. Make the reader feel like there’s much more to you than you could possibly include.
Quantitative, not qualitative
Enable the reader to understand, instantly, how good you are. Make it quantitative, not qualitative. Here are a couple of examples of a make-believe freelancer:
In the three consecutive years I’ve freelanced, I’ve been rehired by 9 out of the 10 clients I’ve worked for. I’ve been careful to analyze my contribution, which has resulted, single-handedly, in a 34% increase in sales, totalling £567k in increased revenue per annum. I’ve managed teams of 4 people and my average budget size is £67k.
People always re-hire me and I produce consistently fantastic results and great revenue. I’ve been asked to manage teams of people and large budgets.
Designers, this means you too. Do you always finish ahead of schedule? What can you quantify? Everyone should use specific examples to enable the reader to understand how you’re going to help make their lives easier.
If you’re a freelancer, indicate where you’ve worked and enable people to contact your previous employers. They’ll likely not, but it demonstrates confidence.
When to send it
Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. They’ve posted an ad and this has resulted in a flood of applications, each with a cover letter and CV. Do you want to be part of that flood, or arrive when the person has more time?
Even if they’re not hiring at the moment, catch them when they do have time – they’re more likely to remember you later during the flood.
What do people look at?
Employers average about 30 seconds to 120 seconds per CV. Make it as easy as possible for people to find the information they need.
What should accompany your CV?
Cover letters take an age and it’s very difficult to make yours any different to anyone else’s. We’d recommend using bullets and being very specific about where you can help.
Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck
No matter how good the CV, if there are errors within, it goes to the bin.
You’ve been warned!
Keep it simple
My favourite CVs are always one or two pages, no longer. If in doubt, leave it out. The best CVs say all that they need to in the fewest possible words. No-one cares about your 25m swimming badge.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to secure your ideal contractor gig, you can check out our article, “Land your dream gig with the ultimate contractor CV“.