Before we start, it’s important to recognise that, as good as my advice is, it is just that – advice. And as good as my advice is, there is other good advice out there. Definitely beware those who say you “must” present your CV in a particular way. I’m going to set out what I feel are the most important points to make when thinking about your CV for contract marketing or freelance roles.
Standard CV vs Tailored CV
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with having a standard, default CV that you can work off and tweak at any point. However, it always helps to target your CV to particular roles. You might be saying at this point, “Chris, come on, I don’t have the time to prepare a standard CV and then produce myriad others!”, but having that basic framework there can really save time in the long run, so my advice is to spend the time at the start to save time down the road.
Hold your tongue
Try not to make your CV too “wordy” if at all possible. It’s a CV, not an immaculately-produced, gripping blog post. So, just use a couple of opening lines, no more, to say why you’re looking and what you are looking for from your next role.
What are you good at?
An important point to make, particularly in the case of contract/freelance CVs, is that you should definitely highlight your key skills. It comes with the nature of the work that less time is given to reviewing CVs for contract roles than permanent roles, so it’s important to make sure that the reviewer can get a good grasp of your skillset early on. Highlight key skills in bullet points and if you have a number, maybe group them under 3 or 4 headings.
The Employment Timeline
When it comes to your employment history, put it in chronological order. This is a simple, seemingly obvious, point to make, but having your experience set out like this makes it a whole lot easier to review for an employer. Remember, a contract CV generally gets less review time than their permanent counterparts. So, get your roles in order, with the most recent at the top, to ease the review process for your prospective employer.
Meat on the bones
For each role, it can help to provide a brief summary, including what the company does (don’t assume the reviewer has heard of your previous employers), your role within the company, the level that you worked at, any stakeholders you reported into, and any key achievements from your time there. This is especially important, and it is often overlooked, so it can easily make your CV stand out from the crowd. Sell yourself here and let the reader know what you have brought to the company as a result of your work. – x% uplift in traffic, x% increase in conversions, £x uplift in turnover etc.
How long is a piece of string?
The length of the CV is unimportant. How many times have you heard “2 sides of A4 paper, no more” handed out as advice? It’s nonsense. If it’s relevant then put it in the CV, and if it’s not, then don’t. Simple as that.
Again, this is my own advice, and obviously I think it’s worthwhile, but it’s not the only advice out there. But do be careful of those who would have you believe there is one “sure fire” way to create that perfect CV. Everyone’s different, so why should all CVs be the same? You’re unique, your CV should be as well.
If you want any further information or advice, then please feel free to get in touch.