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By Lynne Gowers on 5th November 2014
Having the perfect CV is very important when becoming a freelancer. It tells potential clients all that they need to know about you in a professional sense and highlights specific skills you have that will put you above the rest.
Typically, a CV will only be looked at for a few seconds initially, and with more and more people turning to freelancing, it is all the more important that yours stands out against any competition.
If you are starting up in the world of contracting, or are thinking of updating your CV, here are some tips we have to make sure that what you have to offer is as perfect as can be.
Writing your professional CV isn’t to be confused with an episode of This Is Your Life. The potential client doesn’t need (and probably want) to know about any sports day races you won at primary school or what grades you achieved in your SATs.
Similarly, any particular jobs you may have had in the past that have absolutely no connection to what you do now don’t need to be included. Saturday jobs and work experience that was undertaken at college, unless relevant and impressive, should be left off. You need to make your CV as high impact as possible and show why you are the perfect person for the project now.
It is also imperative that you also don’t tell any ‘fairy stories’ and that your CV is completely, 100 per cent truthful as it will not look good as you turn red with embarrassment for being caught out. Having a GCSE in Spanish does not make you fluent in the language and as there is no place for exaggeration in a CV, it’s best left off.
While you have to bear in mind that your CV isn’t your life story, it is important to start your CV with a personal statement. This is your initial chance to market yourself to the potential client and allows them an idea of who you are as a person and whether or not you will fit the bill.
Be straight to the point and don’t waffle, and make sure you clearly state what you do while being true to your character and experience. Remember that this will be the first thing that the client will read, so it must be engaging and interesting, while being easy to read. With this in mind it is best to do it in bullet form.
Following your personal statement include your professional experience, starting with the most recent first. Clearly highlight the company and project that you were working on and the dates in which this took place (you don’t have to be specific, it just shows how recently you have worked).
Outline the project that you worked on, the responsibilities you had with regards to it and the key skills that you utilised to make it happen. Obviously, this part of the CV is subjective depending on the type of contracting work you do, but if you can also include some achievements for each client, it helps to further showcase your abilities over others.
Qualifications are equally as important as your working experience to potential clients and when including them in your CV you must ensure to include all details you think are necessary. School qualifications such as GCSEs and A Levels don’t really need to be put on unless you are turning your hand at freelancing at a relatively young age.
Make sure the majority of your emphasis is put on professional qualifications that are relevant to what you do and are more likely to make you stand out.
Once you have included your experience and qualifications, it fares well to create a section listing the skills you have that are industry specific, especially if you are an IT contractor as clients will be wanting to hire someone who ticks off all boxes of a particular skillset.
If you have any professional memberships make sure you also pop these in under your skills and experience.
Is there anything we’ve missed? What’s your experience of making best use of a contractor CV?
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