About Pro Killer CV

Pro Killer CV

Some reports say an average recruiter looks about 750 CVs to generate 250 phone calls, to get 150 conversations, to put forward 15 CVs, to gain three interviews, to finally place one candidate. 

CV is the most important thing in contract world for the candidates, some industry platforms led by LinkedIn arguing that CV will be outdated soon, but that won’t happen in the contract market for the next few decades or so. The CV is the ultimate gateway for your next contract. LinkedIn is great for advertising and building contacts but the CV is the selling book of yourself.

You need to have an extremely professional, well balanced and customised/ tailored CV even to get a call from a recruiter. Getting that first call and shortlisting your CV with other thousands of CVs is the first hurdle. So, how do you do it? Below are the key points:

The Pro CV format

Contractor CV should be structured to the following format, 

  1. Profile
  2. Skills
  3. Core Competencies 
  4. Major Achievements
  5. Key Certifications
  6. Employment Records 
  7. Technical Summary
  8. Educational Qualifications
  9. Industry Certifications
  10. Professional Affiliations

Tailor/ Customise your CV

Make sure you tailor your CV and always stick to your knitting and don't make the CV too generic in order to appeal and market to a huge audience.

Try to tailor your CV as much as possible by focusing on the Job Description. Analyse and investigate the job post first and make sure the skills and experiences required are evident on the first page of your CV. Put all your key strengths (brag list) on the first page but make sure it is attractive and not boring to read. 

As part of customisation of the CV, you need to make sure you include a profile for each of your CV. This should be short, clear and elaborated to tell that you are the exact person they are looking for and the role is ideal for your experience and skills.

Show you are a driver NOT a passenger

Employers hire contractors to drive projects and look for problem solvers who can express the delivery of their projects. Emphasise your problem-solving skills and experience, give 5-7 short examples and scenarios. 

Give your priority for experience, not qualifications. Employers look for experienced contractors and they don’t care if you have three masters and a Ph.D. or a portfolio of certifications. They need experience people who can deliver tasks quickly and efficiently.

Please refer Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Strategy for Contractors section for further details.

What are your USPs (Unique Selling Points)

List your unique selling points on the first page in a bullet from. Be honest and accurate about the information and do not afraid to brag about your achievements.  

Please refer Pro Contract Jobs Tips for getting noticed as Contractor section for further details.

Stick to Knitting

Always stick to knitting and never try and trade up your skills. As an example, “Project Manager now looking for a Programme Manager position”. It will never work in the contract market. Contracting is filling a gap for a certain piece of work/ project/ programme so why they hire you as a Programme Manager when there are other hundred thousand well-experienced programme managers out there. If that’s what you are looking for there is always the permie route.


Is it all about Keywords, Keywords and more Keywords? The answer is yes, but only the RELEVANT keywords you have skilled and experienced. 

Make sure you have relevant Keywords in your CV (related to the job advertisement). Some agencies or companies use certain software applications to scan keywords to select your CV. They will certainly do a “control F”. Make sure you don’t save your CV in non-searchable formats and don’t include any tables or pictures. 
So 2 ways to achieve this, 

  1. List all your relevant Keywords bellow your roles. 
  2. Have a magic table with experiences. 

Create an experience table with keywords

We wouldn’t recommend this if you have just ventured into the contract world. This is an ideal tool ideally if you have at least 10 years of experience. Make sure your table is focused on your role and not loaded with many technical jargons.  

Use bullet points

Avoid paragraphs and use bullet short sentences, and a single typeface. Make it crystal clear with your writing and avoid big jargons as recruiters would like to feel that they are speaking to another human been.

Where to put your qualifications

Golden rule: “Education gets you your first job. Experience gets you the second”

List your educational qualifications at the last (last page of your CV) don’t try to elaborate your qualifications. The name of the qualifications and the year you completed would suffice. Don’t include your GCSEs, just focus on your professional qualifications.

Length of your CV

Contracting CVs can be lengthy with the years of experience but do NOT exceed more than 5 pages. 3-4 pages are the ideal. It’s OK to use IT jargons but be careful, recruiters are not technical and not everyone hiring are IT professionals. 

No Matter how technical you make sure you include your business skills as well (management, Leadership, entrepreneurial and commutations skills).

Your CV must be human-readable. Make sure all the skills for each job are listed in full and in their regular and irregular mnemonics, as most of the contractors, you are applying through agencies so you need to makes sure your CV comes up at the top when you agent does the “Control F”. 

CV Profile/ Summary

Have a personal summary with 5 lines to elaborate who you are and what you good at. Bullet point at least 3-5 key achievements for each role (what you have delivered for that organisation successfully). 

Stay in your sector

If you have years of experience in the financial sector, stay in that sector. You are better off getting a finical sector contract other than one in Gas and Oil sector. 

Please refer A-Z Strategy/ Roadmap for Contractors section for further details.

LinkedIn factor

Add your LinkedIn profile link to the top of the CV. LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for contractors with great a review/ recommendations system. Having many recommendations to your profile will show that you are a reliable and a top candidate for the role.

Final thoughts

When writing the CV, check spelling, check grammar and use a common font such as Arial, Times, Calibri and keep it continuous throughout. Steer away from including a photo of yourself in the CV.

The objective of the contracting is hiring people who can hit the ground running from the first day. They are not going to pay you a higher rate if you don’t have the relevant experience and skills. It’s all about the what you can do for the client and not the other way around. Good Luck!

Related Materials

Candidates/ Contractors

Pro Contract Jobs Pro Killer CV 
Pro Contract Jobs Pro Killer Interview
Pro Contract Jobs Why you should take a Contract over Permanent work
Pro Contract Jobs Highly Paid Contracts
Pro Contract Jobs Tips for Getting Noticed as a Contractor
Pro Contract Jobs Tips for Staying Motivated as a Contractor
Pro Contract Jobs Working from Home or Remote as a Contractor
Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Strategy/ Roadmap for Contractors
Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Guide to Contract Rate Negotiation
Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Tax Guide for Contractors
Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Guide to Limited vs Umbrella
Pro Contract Jobs A-Z Insurance Guide

Recruiters/ Employers/ HMs (Hiring Managers)

Pro Contract Jobs Why you should Hire a Contractor
Pro Contract Jobs Hiring Tips for HMs (Hiring Managers)
Pro Contract Jobs Hiring Tips for Employers
Pro Contract Jobs Hiring Tips for Start-Ups
Pro Contract Jobs Tips to Starting a Recruitment Agency
Pro Contract Jobs Pros & Cons of FTCs (Fixed Term Contracts)