When applying for a new IT contract job, it can be difficult to know what to include in order to heighten your chances of securing the position.
Over the years, we’ve read thousands of CVs – with many specialising in the IT and Technology sector. To help you, we’ve created a free, comprehensive guide of things to consider when writing your own IT contractor CV.
Tips for your IT contractor CV
As a contractor, the interview process can tend to be more transactional than for permanent roles. Being a contractor is about adding value. The main focus is on whether you have the right skills for the job. You’re brought in and paid a premium to achieve a certain goal – and potentially, you’ll only have a few months to achieve that goal. It has to be clear from your CV that you can be trusted with that task.
CV headings and what order to place them in
When writing your IT contractor CV, try to get into the mindset of the hiring manager who will be reading it. This will help you to decide what to put in and what to leave out. Your CV should include headings such as:
- Personal statement/profile
- Employment history
Remember, the order in which you place these headings can make all the difference as to whether you get the job or not. Most hiring managers only have time to skim-read a CV and they’ll look for the most recent few contracts. All of your most important and recent information needs to be clearly visible on the first page.
How to write a personal statement for your IT contractor CV
Every CV should start with a personal statement or a profile. This is imperative because it provides an opportunity to express your personal passion for the job.
There are numerous personal qualities that make a good IT contractor, so you need to think about what you want to be known for and include them within this section of your CV. Good examples include:
- Delivering on objectives
- Accountability, honesty and responsibility
- Quality of your work and documentation
- Experience and technical knowledge
Most importantly, represent yourself honestly in your CV statement. If you list a personal quality, you need to stick to it.
Examples of what to include in your IT contractor CV
Present your CV in a structured format that makes it easy for the reader to navigate. Highlight the skills, achievements and experiences that demonstrate your skill and suitability for the contract.
If you’re applying for a technical role, your technical skills should follow your personal statement. Include them all on the front page, so they can’t be missed.
For example, if you are applying for a C# developer contract and have 15 years of experience in C#, include those years rather than listing C# on its own. This highlights your proficiency and sets you apart from the competition.
If you have niche technical skills, like obscure frameworks or Xamarin, include them too. You never know which additional skills may be sought after by the hiring manager, even if they’re not specified in the job spec as a core requirement.
If you’re applying for a non-technical role such as Project Manager, Business Analyst or Product Owner, your achievements should be listed after your personal statement. Include bullet points where you have added value to a project, for example:
- Finished a project on time or within budget
- Re-written processes to save money or time in the long run
- Sourced new third-party suppliers for cost efficiency and improved experience
Think about what type of IT contract you are applying for and be specific when listing your achievements on your CV. Facts, figures, and timescales are key here.
What you can achieve in a contract will always be time-sensitive, so bringing a multi-million-pound project in on time and within budget is a huge achievement. Be careful not to waffle; use it as an attention grabber and then expand upon how you did it in the employment history section or during the interview.
Employment history is a key component of every CV.
- Include the dates you worked at each company to demonstrate how much you achieved in that timeframe
- Include ‘contract’ in the job title. If your contract was extended, include that information because it highlights the quality of your work
- Write a short summary about what you were hired to achieve. If you’ve applied for a very similar project, this can be key in securing you an interview
- Use bullet points to show what you did to add value within your role
- Show the scale of projects you have worked on and the scope of your role
Education, training and qualifications
Your education should follow your employment history in your IT contractor CV. If you have any relevant qualifications or training, include them here. If these specific qualifications are key to you securing the job, include them clearly on the first page; either in your personal statement or your skills section, as well as here.
If you do anything relevant in your spare time that adds to your skills and knowledge, include it here. For example, “I have a keen interest in AI and Machine Learning and have attended two conferences this year centred around AI to broaden my knowledge.”
If you have a reference from a previous manager, co-worker or key stakeholder to attest to the quality of your work, include it here. You should also feature references and recommendations on your LinkedIn page. During your contract, think about this and ask someone to be your future referee to provide a personal account of the value you added whilst in that post.
When you work with our IT recruitment specialists, we will attach your reference alongside your CV to strengthen your application to the hiring manager.
If you’re in a technical role and you have an active GitHub or Stack Overflow account that will positively add to your brand – include the link! If you’ve written your own web page and you’re proud of it, include the link!
The inclusion of examples can make securing an interview much easier – just make sure all your links are up to date. If you haven’t added to your GitHub account for six years, don’t include it.
Although you are a contractor, most potential employers will still google you, so if there is anything online that you are not happy for them to see then make sure your accounts are private. This sounds basic but it’s often overlooked.
If you’re tailoring your contractor CV for a role and you include a link to your LinkedIn profile, make sure your online profile matches up with what’s on your CV to avoid confusion.
Our bonus IT CV writing tip
Sometimes, your CV will be reviewed by an internal recruiter who has no specialist knowledge of IT, meaning they may use CTRL + F to find certain keywords. Make sure that your skills and knowledge in systems, software and programs are named, up to date – and match the requirements of the job specification where possible.
Applying for your first IT contractor role
If you are applying for your first IT contract role, highlight relevant projects you’ve undertaken and the transferrable skills you will bring to a new role, such as:
- When you have picked things up quickly with little handover. E.g. “My manager was signed off sick suddenly, so I picked up the project in his absence with no handover and ensured we still hit the deadline on time by doing X, Y and Z”.
- How you have adapted to change and delivered results. E.g. “My team went from seven to three due to a restructure and I still managed to hit the delivery deadline.”
- Address any large gaps in your CV. You’ll be asked about them so tell potential employers if you took a few months out to travel, renovate your house or spend time with your family.
Work with Distinct
At Distinct, we match IT and technology candidates to their ideal job opportunities across the UK. We are always looking to speak to professionals in the sector. Contact us today to learn how we can support you to take the next step in your IT contracting career.