Contractors' Questions: How to get my CV noticed?

Contractor's Question : Despite some success in the last few months of 2009, I need to try something different with my CV in order to push it towards the top of the pile. Aside from the basic sections on a CV, what one thing do IT recruiters really want to see?

Expert's Answer : Overall, the more complex your CV looks, the less likely an agent may be willing to understand where you're coming from and what you want. They are looking for an easy match, someone that they can put forward to the client and get a good response. So the CV should be relevant to the position being applied for.

If you have a mixed CV in terms of skill-sets and roles, then my suggestion would be to focus on one key area and design your CV around that. Be ruthless in taking out that which doesn't apply or might distract the agent/client and lead them to ask questions about where to place you.

Your CV should be well-formatted; concise and easy to read. Given that it is, ideally, two pages long this shouldn't be too much to ask for. A typical structure for an IT contractor's CV has five components:

1. Contact
2. Summary
3. Assignments
4. Skills
5. Qualifications/Education

The expert was John Waine, the IT Coach for freelance contractors.

Expert's Answer: Prepare a CV for each specific position. Ask the agency to give you the most details possible, so you can adjust your CV to that position while remaining truthful.

Also, IT contractors' CVs can be too long. You should remember that there is no point citing everything you've ever done in your professional career, and don't specify more experience than the client requires.

The expert was Estevao Pape, South Europe Account Manager at contract IT specialists Xtra-IT .

Expert's Answer: I always have the same advice for IT contractors regarding their CV: Detach yourself emotionally from your CV, it's not an autobiographical novel on your work history. It has one sole purpose - to get you an interview.

Make it easy for the reader/agent to select you by keeping the information simple and straightforward - focus on achievements and, if possible, testimonials to back up your achievements, together with work history. However, be careful. IT candidates tend to go into too much detail on their CVs. IT contractors, for example, often overcomplicate their CVs by adding in lists of additional skills, which is too much information.

The expert was Philip Fanthom, managing director of IT contractor recruitment consultancy Jenrick IT.

ContractorUK has partnered with the UK's leading authority on Contractor CVs to provide a FREE review of your CV and LinkedIn profile. Contact The CV & Interview Advisors and one of their team will get back to you to discuss if your CV and LinkedIn profile matches up with industry best practice.

Further reading: IT contractor CV template guide here and Content and example contractor CV here