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Landing that lucrative high-day-rate, work-from-home-if-you-like contracting gig is always satisfying – but the application process can often be a stressful affair.
As more and more people enter the contracting market competition is hotting up, and to make sure you land the juiciest gigs you need to make sure all your application ducks are in a row. Skills sharp? Great. Examples of recent work? Check! Recommendation from a friend who already contracts there? Amazing!
But it can all fall apart if your application is a dud.
When it comes to putting together a great CV – be it for a contractor or permanent gig – there are some sensible ground rules to follow. We spoke to Joanne Munro, a professional CV writer, to find out the secret to crafting a winning CV:
For contractors who have worked on tens or hundreds of projects over the course of their career, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool. Joanne recommends using your LinkedIn profile to add some colour if a recruiter or client wants more information:
A contractor CV is the distant cousin of the traditional employee CV – alike it many ways, but with several important differences. Keep in mind what you’re being recruited for. You’re not there to join the rank-and-file staff – you’re there to solve a problem; often one very specific problem. Use this to your advantage to make your application stand out.
Highlight your problem-solving skills and initiative. A good client won’t care if you diligently follow instructions (in fact an overbearing client could impact your IR35 status – so be careful) – they want to know about projects you’ve helped deliver in the past, and how you went about it.
Another quirk of the contractor CV is your education may only be a footnote or, depending on how many years you’ve been at it, completely irrelevant and omitted entirely.
Think about it – how many times have you been asked about your education when applying for a contractor gig? Unless you’ve just graduated the answer is probably “never”.
Many contracting gigs, especially for big public sector organisations or financial institutions, will require varying levels of security clearance – and many positions routinely require an up-to-date Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Since the merging of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, such checks have been carried out by the newly-formed Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), so these checks are now officially known as DBS checks.
The new DBS checks cost £13 and last one year – meaning if you move to a different client within a year you can probably use the same DBS check to save applying for a new one. If you have an up-to-date certificate, it’s well worth listing it on your CV.
To get your CV-writing juices flowing, download the template CVs below to see how a few successful candidates have structured theirs.
Now that your CV is primed and packed full of only the most important talking points, it’s time to cast your line and see if you get any bites. If you’d like to know more about the next step, you can check out our article, “Find your perfect gig: the ultimate contractor job hunt checklist“, for more helpful guidance.