How to create an IT Contractor CV/Resume that brings you results

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There's a big world out there, with many different types of roles from permanent to contract, technical to managerial, sales to engineering etc etc. To me, each requires their own CV style, in order to earn the right to that 1st interview. However today, let’s focus our attention on IT Contracting which is one of my main focuses, alongside permanent IT placements and all in the ERP3.0 / Industry4.0 space. 

Each week, I see many CVs (Resumes) and while it’s clear we all have our own personal styles, it’s only right that we follow some proven principles of formatting to achieve that first milestone. It starts as always by being “customer-centric”. In other words creating a CV that works firstly for the recruiters and secondly for the hiring managers, not for you!

In previous articles, I have dealt with some of the more strategic elements to acquiring the best role for you, however now, I’d like to keep it tactical in order to create a CV that gives you the best chance of achieving that 1st meeting.

marketing & sales principles

Allow me for a moment to define what I mean in this area. Marketing to me is getting the attention and gaining some interest in the market for your CV, often resulting in being contacted by a recruiter and convincing the recruiter you're a good option for one of his/her jobs. Sales meanwhile, at least in this article, is converting that potential job into a 1st interview with the hiring manager.

Therefore, let's be tactical in bringing your CV some attention. First and foremost, a contractor CV is not like a permanent CV.

A contractor CV is built around specific skills/point expertise and projects, whereas often permanent CVs are more general and demonstrate progression along a chosen career path. You've heard the saying "less is more"? well with IT Contractor CVs, "more is more" but within reason!

You see, in today's online CV search marketplace, you're often being found through certain terms, hopefully contained within your CV.

the boolean search world

It is across a range of platforms that the recruiter will as quickly as possible use a boolean search in order to find hopefully the right person for that 1st interview.

Boolean searches allow you to combine words and phrases using the words AND, OR, NOT and NEAR to limit, widen, or define a given search. Most search engines default to these Boolean search parameters anyway, but a good recruiter should know how to use basic these Boolean words.

Armed with some basic Boolean (pronounced BOO-Lee-Un) skills, the recruiter will search on the terms contained in the Job Order / Requirement on the internet and hope to find you. If your CV contains those exact words and frequently, chances are he/she will find you and get in touch. If your CV does not, there will be silence. Thus, why your CV is THE Marketing Tool and needs to contain the right words, phrases and acronyms for your technical world!

It's almost like the original days of SEO and cramming your website full of the right words, phrases and acronyms in html and on as many occasions as possible for google to find you. But, please keep in mind once you've been found by the recruiter this CV will be used to represent you in front of the hiring manager and must therefore look presentable, far more than "blitzing" numerous pages with content!

As a result, please keep in mind your CV can be too long, but at the same time can also be too concise. Typically, my week is filled browsing 6-12 page CVs!

But, trust me if you do the above, you will receive much more attention from the recruiters, which I hope you agree is generally a good thing?

the CV 1st page

At this stage we turn our attention to the sales effectiveness of your CV; the ability to convince the hiring manager you should be granted a 1st interview (if your recruiter can't).

That 1st page is critical, while the remaining pages and most recent projects support your claims made. And so, what should be contained in that 1st page?

I know many feel the need to pre-amble, however contracting moves fast and so think of this 1st page as retail shelf space please - it's precious and needs to contain critical, attention grabbing, interest gathering material. There's nothing wrong with an introductory few words that grab the attention and differentiates you from the rest, as long as you can back it up!

But thereafter, let's include the following:

  • Roles undertaken and prepared to do, next time around: unlike permanent staffing, it's generally understood that you could have been a Project Manager one-day, but are more than prepared for the next contract, to undertake a consulting or lesser role. Please state it for the record, so the hiring manager can relax in talking to you about a role that he/she could consider "below" you.
  • Industry experience: which sectors have you worked in and with whom?
  • Business Processes: digital and business transformations revolve around operational efficiencies, agility and productivity and therefore we need to understand the areas in which you've made a difference
  • Application Functionality: here they need to understand the application functional/configuration skills you've deployed in the past and today where your knowledge and skill base sits.
  • Technical / Development skills: what are your skills in the development, infrastructure, network parts of the business applications market.
  • Awards: and of course, if you've been fortunate/successful enough to win an award(s) for your past achievements, please share it. Only recently, one of our contractors was interviewed because of certain awards related to business excellence that grabbed mine and the hiring manager's attention sufficiently to earn the right to be interviewed and eventually placed.

the CV thereafter

Your CV from here, is all about the projects done and what you've achieved. As detailed in the image above, we need to understand the Situation you walked into, the Task to be undertaken, what Action you took, the Results of that action and all that containing some of those critical elements required in the Job Order / Requirement given to you.

Sell yourself project by project, but say what you NEED to say and no more!

Please let me know if I can help in anyway. it will be my pleasure.

All the best, Andrew

LinkedIn DM / +44-(0)773-241-3732

Haig&Co