Top 10 tips for your CV! - SystemsAccountants

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes Top 10 tips for your CV!


The Contractor’s CV playbook for winning your next job.

Are you a contractor looking to win your next contract with confidence?

It goes without saying that a well-written and well-presented contracting CV does a lot of the hard work in getting noticed, getting selected and getting hired.

This is especially true when you consider what you’ll likely so often be up against – competing to get noticed from many other applicants, standing out enough to be selected by recruitment teams, and being skilled enough to ultimately be hired by the client.

Presenting yourself as the perfect-fit can be daunting. Thankfully, with our Top 10 Tips, SystemsAccountants are here to give you the low-down on everything you can do to give yourself the very best chance of getting seen, selected and engaged for your next contractor role.

TOP TIP #1 Include an Elevator Pitch of You

With our attention spans so short these days, it’s always a good idea to write a professional summary at the top of your CV. Give anyone reading your CV like recruiters and employers an ‘elevator pitch’ of you. Include what you are, your value proposition and unique selling features along with your top 5 strengths you believe would tick recruiters’ and employers’ boxes. You have about 5 seconds to capture the attention of a reader, so make it count.

TOP TIP #2 Wax lyrical on your achievements

It sounds obvious for a CV, but shouting about your achievements from the rooftops is a no-brainer for proving to contractor recruiters and employers you’re the very best fit for the job. An achievement on your CV isn’t the actual task itself, but a positive outcome outlining the benefits you’ve delivered, along with vital stats and factoids to support your success.

TOP TIP #3 Avoid ‘Me, myself, and I’

Contrary to popular belief, it’s always good CV practice to avoid writing in the first person. Writing about yourself in the third person instead will help you stand out from the pack by stopping you from sounding like you’re writing a series of boasts, which can sometimes feel a bit much. It will also allow you to talk about your skills and achievements in a more matter-of-fact way, which in turn will help you sound more authentic and grounded.

TOP TIP #4 Pick powerful proof points

Time-poor recruiters and employers need to know you’re the right person for the contract, so are instinctively scanning your CV for the powerful proof-points they’re looking for. Use numbers where possible to add quantifiable metrics as an extra layer of evidence to make you stand out. In a similar way to writing about your achievements, try to write powerful, unequivocal statements that hit them right between the eyeballs and leave them in no doubt you’re the one for them. Remember, it’s not enough to just say what you did, it’s about illustrating the benefit of those actions to the business. Think about what you’ve achieved, not just what you did.

TOP TIP #5 This is no place for modesty

Talking about yourself without boasting is always a fine line, but think about it, for any one contractor position you only really have one shot to stand out and show yourself that you’re the perfect candidate. This CV is your out-and-out sales pitch; there’s no time for being bashful in this beautiful brochure of you. Confidence is infectious so be proud and talk passionately about yourself. Don’t just list tasks and responsibilities, sell your features and the benefits you bring to the business.

TOP TIP #6 Don’t worry too much about page count

It’s a cliché, but when it comes to CV length, there isn’t really a right or wrong. Whether it’s a little longer or little shorter, it’s all about making every word and section pop. Don’t get too bogged down in ensuring it’s within a set number of pages, it’s quite normal for an experienced and senior-level contractor’s CV to be up to four pages. Don’t keep it short deliberately if you haven’t done everything you can to sell yourself. The golden rule is to have it just the right length to prove yourself the perfect fit.

TOP TIP #7 Don’t get too personal

It’s pretty clear by now that a good CV is all about balance. Not too long, not too short; not too ‘me, me, me’; the perfect blend of achievements and benefits. The same goes for personal information, too. Don’t have all your personal details clogged up all in one space on the first page. Sure, have the vital bits you need upfront before your elevator pitch, but keep the other bits and bobs safe and sound in their own section towards the end.

TOP TIP #8 Use case studies to illustrate

When it comes to making sure your contractor CV stands out from the rest, it’s about showing to recruiters and potential employers that you can walk your talk. Often the best way of doing this is by writing succinct case studies to show your achievements in action. It’s a great way to illustrate the situation and how you applied yourself to the task and the actions you took to achieve the results.

TOP TIP #9 One size doesn’t fit all

In a world where business goes at breakneck speed, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re going to miss out, and then subsequently not taking the time needed to tailor your CV to each position you apply for. CV’s are never a one-size fits all, and it’s obvious to recruiters and employers if you’ve taken a vague ‘catch-all’ approach. Be relevant – think about hierarchy of messaging, and front-loading the key information up front as much as possible. Tweak your elevator pitch and have relevant case studies on hand to ensure you’re off on the right footing from the start.

TOP TIP #10 Focus on being found

Getting your next contractor position is all about putting yourself in the right place at the right time – not just physically, but digitally. In an always-on digital world, where every one of us to one extent or other, for better or worse, is our own global micro-brand, getting found online by the right people at the right time has never been more important.

Today, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) goes far beyond businesses and brands being found online. It’s about you being found and identified as potentially being the right peg for the right hole. Optimising your CV for the keyword searches recruiters and employers will be making day-in, day-out, as well as for the often automated CV-tracking sites, will mean you and your skills are much more likely to stand-out in a sea of potential applicants.

Still need some help?

So there you have it. Our Top 10 Tips for getting seen, selected and suited-and-booted for your next contractor role.
Follow our Top 10 Contractor CV Tips and you’ll be well on your way to getting noticed, selected and hired to secure your next contract.

If, you’d like some more advice and guidance on presenting yourself as the perfect fit, then please Download our CV Templates below:

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