Your contractor CV: how ballsy should it be?

Knowing how hard to sell yourself in your CV is an age-old challenge, writes Matt Craven, personal branding expert and founder of The CV & Interview Advisors. So in 2018, it warrants some timeless advice with a modern twist.


I call this ‘knowing where to set the dial.’ Your average contractor or indeed job-seeker, tends to set the dial too low, largely because it’s uncomfortable selling yourself. It creates a feeling of self-consciousness that doesn’t sit well with many people.

I used to train people in customer service and I would often say that if you don’t feel slightly uncomfortable with how nice you are being, you are probably not being nice enough!

The same could be said of writing a CV; if you don’t feel slightly uncomfortable with what you are writing, you are probably not selling yourself hard enough.


I’m not advocating being braggadocious or using unsubstantiated superlatives, but if your CV doesn’t communicate that you are good at your job then how will anyone know?

I’ll often mention during coaching sessions that there’s no ‘osmotic force,’ no telepathy, no higher-being telling the world how great you are. If your CV (and LinkedIn profile) doesn’t communicate your professional worth, then no one will ever know.


The trick to it is to back everything up with examples; that way, you feel more comfortable with your assertions and avoid ‘imposter syndrome.’

A good CV will have plenty of achievements in the Career History, which focus on the business benefits / outcomes you have driven. These outcomes should be backed up with tangible, measurable and ideally statistical evidence (pounds and percentages work well).

Case Studies

A liberal smattering of mini case studies also works well. We recommend having three on page one. The idea is to elevate your three biggest and most relevant achievements onto your front page, giving them enough context to stand alone by writing them in case study format.

For more information you can get a Free CV and LinkedIn review here. 

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.

Saturday 16th Feb 2019
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Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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