Contractors’ Questions: Should I have an outside IR35 CV and an inside IR35 CV?

Contractor’s Question: Should I have an outside IR35 CV and an inside IR35 CV? Do I need a different style or layout of CV for different contractor ‘status’ roles I go forward for?

Expert’s Answer: I was having this exact conversation with a recruiter about traditional CVs versus a more business-focused document for contractors looking to work outside IR35. The recruiter was expressing a preference towards the traditional chronological CV but recognised how his preferred format didn’t really support outside IR35 status.

Although the new off payroll rules of April 6th 2021 are firmly etched into the minds of everyone associated with the contracting sector, old habits die hard. So some ‘dyed in the wool’ recruiters will find it difficult to come to terms with a new or different style of CV that’s more appropriate for outside IR35 opportunities. Like everything else though, the more that agents get used to seeing something different, the sooner they will accept it as the norm.

In contrast, I also spoke with a contractor who has recently worked with a recruitment firm that goes to market in a slightly different way, acting more as a ‘professional services business,’ supplying ‘project resource.’ They were apparently more aligned with a ‘business-brochure’ style of CV or work-seeking document.

I suppose all this might cause a conundrum in the mind of some contractors – so many conflicting opinions and seemingly no consensus on the matter! To me though, the solution is simple:

  1. Use a chronological CV for permanent job applications, and
  2. Use a slightly adjusted chronological CV for inside IR35 or umbrella company-specified roles
  3. Use a business brochure style CV for outside IR35 roles
  4. Have ready both a chronological CV and a business brochure style CV for recruiters/direct to client opportunities, and ascertain which format the decision-maker would prefer (N.B The business brochure-style CV should be your first port of call for outside IR35 roles where you are likely to be approaching the client directly).

Adopt the above four and you’ll be ready for whatever the contractor labour market throws your way. But be aware, you’ll need to draw up a proper portfolio of marketing materials to house these at least three key documents (and yes you can call them all ‘CVs’ if you want!).

This portfolio for securing contract work covers all bases. It’s just the same sort of approach that a medium-sized or large business would take, by having marketing assets for their differing client groups or briefs. Ironically, and for those still interested in the outside IR35 world, it’s this thinking and acting like a true business that is the essence of the IR35 legislation, old and new.

You can get a FREE CV Review by visiting here, or read more CV Advice and Content here.

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

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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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