Most people know the basics of writing a strong resume: no spelling or grammatical errors, be clear and concise and tailor it to the job description.

But as a contractor, your resume will be different from that of the general workforce. You will have a lot more ground to cover due to the number of roles you’ve held, and you may also have some gaps in your career timeline.

So what can you do to highlight relevant experience for contract jobs while still providing a comprehensive overview of your skills? Here are our top tips.

1. Opt for a skills-based format

Most people list their jobs in reverse chronological order, outlining their skills as they go along. But given that many contractors have a non-traditional employment record, foregrounding your skills rather than your history may be a better approach. Rather than listing every single job you’ve had (which could result in a 10-page resume), focus on those that are most relevant to the job at hand, and list the skills and responsibilities for each role.

RELATED: The four types of soft skills to demonstrate in a job interview

2. Focus on the numbers

Make your contract resume as data-driven as possible. Focus on quantifiable accomplishments and use data to support these accomplishments. Answer questions like:

  • How many people have you managed?
  • Have you reduced spending/increased profitability? By what margin?
  • Were you able to implement new processes?
  • Has your work positively influenced your employer’s business?

Hard numbers and facts like these make it easy for employers to understand your potential, and they make a much stronger case than vague, generalised statements like, “I have strong management skills.” 

3. Emphasise transferable skills

Both your generalist and specialist skills become useful in marketing yourself as a contractor. Depending on the employer’s needs, they may be looking for an attitudinal or cultural fit for a broad job description, so transferable skills like communication, stakeholder management and even experience with certain software suites may be the make-or-break for getting hired.

Be sure you can prove your claims of transferable skills – either with a description of a specific example, or with referees who know you well.

RELATED: Your definitive guide to contracting work: the good, the bad, and the reality

4. Incorporate relevant keywords

Many recruiters and hiring managers today use software to automatically whittle down a stack of resumes, so make sure to use relevant, specific phrases and descriptive words throughout your resume. That way, whether it’s being scanned by a computer or a pair of eyes, the right phrases will jump out.

If you’re unsure what keywords you should use, look at the job description for inspiration (being careful not to copy it word-for-word). Also look at the LinkedIn profiles of people who are in roles similar to the ones you’re applying for, and take note of the words and phrases you see in their profiles.

Looking for contract work opportunities? Talk to the team at Page Personnel – we place candidates in contracting roles all over Australia.

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