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Effective CV writing for contractors

Not getting interviews but have the right skills? Chances are your CV is seriously letting you down. If you only have one generalised copy of your CV then you are doing it all wrong and not making a big enough impact to get to an interview. And without getting to interviews, you won't get a lucrative contract. We'll explain in this guide what a high impact targetted CV is, and how you can use one to ensure you get interviewed.

Typically your CV will get scanned for 20 seconds before a decision is made about you. Therefore it is essential to make a massive impact on the prospective employer or agent who will then contact you or invite you for interview.

Essential fact: It is important to realise that the employer will choose to interview the candidate who has the best CV for the job, not necessarily the candidate who is best suited for the job.

No doubt you've met people in organisations and you wonder how on earth they got hired! It could be because their CV made them shine. Likewise you may have friends who are amazing at their job but who never get invited to interviews. Chances are their CV is awful.

This guide will introduce all the aspects of writing high impact targeted CVs. Then you can drill down into our other CV guides to learn the techniques in detail, and then you can download our CV templates and start crafting your own winning CV.

What is a high impact CV? How are they used?

A CV is a marketing document about you – the product. The reader of your CV needs to get the impression that you are perfect for the position.

The reader wants to see that:

  • This person has the skills I require.
  • This person has experience of using the skills I require.
  • This person understands my requirements.
  • This person has provided benefit to previous clients using those skills.
  • Wow, this guy is perfect!!

In order to maximise the ‘Wow’ factor the CV needs to create a high impact by being targeted directly for the role. We call this writing a killer CV.

One of the common CV mistakes made is writing a CV as a life story from birth, through education and employment. This approach is not targeted and invites the reader to pick through a ‘sweetie jar’ to see if there is anything they like. This is often why a generalised CV does not work. The attractive attributes about you are mixed up with others that are irrelevant to the position.

To create the best impression possible (‘Wow, this person is perfect!’) you need to understand how to structure your CV for high impact.

After writing your first high impact targeted CV for a particular position you will then need to know how to target your CV for each subsequent application.

To convince the reader that you have practised the skills before you will need to know how to write an achievement on your CV. This is one of the hardest aspects of contractor CV writing and often overlooked.

Example CVs - using high impact techniques

After you have read the theory for CV creation in all of our CV guides there are also some real life examples which demonstrate how to take existing generalised CVs and apply the techniques to produce enhanced high impact versions.

CVs Deconstructed: Applying The Killer CV Technique - Case Study 1
CVs Deconstructed: Applying The Killer CV Technique - Case Study 2
CVs Deconstructed: Applying The Killer CV Technique - Case Study 3

Updated: Monday, 19 September 2016

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