Contractors’ Questions: What’s my single CV/LinkedIn job title if I’m multi-skilled?

Contractor’s Question: He’s just one of the recruiters I’ve spoken to since getting back into contracting, but one agent said that after reading my CV, he wasn't sure what my job title is.

As a new contractor, I thought I should shy away from permie-sounding job titles. Plus, I can fill a good range of roles due to my many years in IT.  My CV therefore highlights each one of my top skills. The agent hinted I should customise my CV for his role, but the spec says the ‘successful candidate will likely be an IT generalist with a set of skills.’ Any thoughts?


Expert’s Answer: When recruiters and hiring managers review CVs, they are always looking for something specific. For example, if they are hiring an Agile Project Manager, they will want to know that you are one of those; if they are looking for an Interim IT Director, they’ll want to know that you’ve been one of them; and if they are hiring a Solutions Architect with extensive knowledge of front office banking systems, they’ll want to know that you are exactly that.

Anything that appears woolly or ambiguous in those first few seconds of reading your CV will result in your CV going in the reject file.

I call this the ‘Cheap Red Shoes Theory.’ Why? Well, if I wake up tomorrow with a burning desire to own a pair of cheap red shoes, I would most likely type into Google, “buy cheap red shoes”. If a search result comes up that says, “we sell shoes of all shapes and sizes”, will I click it? Probably not! If another search result pops up that says, “we specialise in cheap red shoes”, then I know I’m onto a winner and I’ll no doubt click through to that site.

The same rule applies in recruitment. You need to be specific, obvious and match your ‘go-to-market’ description to the contract spec or job description. This will mean having to create multiple variants of your CV (as the agent in question might have implied), assuming you have multiple strings to your bow. A nice problem to have, some might say!

This is actually fairly easy to manage with a CV, but when it comes to LinkedIn, things get a bit harder. You obviously can’t have multiple LinkedIn profiles (it breaches their user agreement), so what do you do? Well let’s say that you are both a Project Manager and a Business Analyst, you might write the following.

“I am an experienced IT professional who has operated in both Business Analyst and Project Manager roles. I am at home leading the analysis of complex business requirements for front office banking systems, but I am equally comfortable leading the end-to-end delivery of technical projects with budgets of up to £2m and project teams in excess of 50 people.”

It's only an off-the-cuff example but you can see how a prospective buyer of BA and PM services would still probably proceed to my profile. To do even more to secure the sale, you can then create two headings and talk about each discipline separately.

If you’d like to discover more strategies on how to create a compelling ‘contract-winning’ LinkedIn profile, and how to use LinkedIn as a tool for business development, I’m hosting a webinar this Wednesday -- March 6th at 7.15pm. It’s free and exclusive for ContractorUK readers and you can register your place in just a few clicks: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6083729075027254531.

The expert was Matt Craven, founder of The CV & Interview Advisors.

Tuesday 5th Mar 2019