Contractor doctor: can I apply for different contracts with the same agent?

Dear Contractor Doctor,

Your advice to target the resume to the job ad seems excellent.

Does it still apply in the situation where the same agent is advertising several different roles, for example some as a database developer, some as a C# developer, some as a java developer? Would you send three different CVs with three different profiles? Wouldn't that look a bit phony to the agent?


Contractor Doctor says:

That is a very good question.

There is a risk in appearing as knowledgeable in many trades, but master of none. However, provided you are fully qualified for a role and are interested in doing it then you should certainly apply.

The 'best candidate' for the agent is the one who has the most chance of being offered the position and also returns maximum profit for them. This isn't always the best qualified candidate for their client. Closing as many deals as possible is the priority which means getting as many candidates into interviews as possible.

Whilst most agents are aware that some contractors can be multi skilled, someone appearing to be more of a specialist might have a better chance at getting an interview slot, assuming all other factors are equal. But there are other factors to consider such as availability, price, communication skills, market demand, etc.

Submitting a separate CV for each role is ideal, since it will give you the best chance of securing an interview. You should do this in conjunction with an initial phone call to clarify matters with them. It could be one client with many roles, in which case three CVs wouldn't be good.

Whatever the situation though you should always try and control the CV being put forward so you can target it accordingly. After speaking to an agent who agrees to put your forward it can be useful to further refine your CV based on their feedback to give you the maximum chance of securing an interview spot. Once you've got the interview spot the work of the CV is over.

Good luck with your contract search.

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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