Moving into 2016, we’ve seen an incredible increase in the number of freelancers on the job market, as well as the demand for specialist consultants in the various Life Sciences sectors. Along with this increase, is the rising importance of fine-tuning your CV with elements of personal branding and key-strength definition. As the average time spent looking at a CV is a mere 6 seconds, we’ve compiled a list of pro CV tips for freelancers to ensure their application gets the attention it deserves.
Technical-oriented freelancers’ or independent contractors’ CV’s are often long, complex and only after lengthy conversations with the candidate, does it become clear why they are a good fit for the role. The average hiring manager does not have the time to decipher your CV so you need to help them see why you’re the best fit within 6 seconds:
- Whether applying for a specific role or providing a recruiter with a general version of your CV, leverage the skills and experiences that directly match the job you’re applying for or the type of role you’re looking for
- Speak their language by using job titles and keywords that are recognized within the industry and where possible, within the company.
As a freelancer, especially one who has been working for several years, your resume is undoubtedly extensive. But as a freelancer, you’re hired in as a specialist – an expert in a specific field. When it comes to your CV, being clear about what you can do well and where your key strengths lie will help your recruiter and future client see where you can add value.
- Be true to yourself and honest about your expertise. Having assisted in an internal audit 5 years ago, does not make you an expert.
- Avoid coming across as a jack-of-all-trades in your resume, (unless that’s part of the requirements,) as this will create confusion and could decrease your chances of success.
- Include a professional summary that clearly states the roles you can be good for and where your strengths lie.
As your work experience and capabilities help define your expertise, the key transferable skills and knowledge are often hidden in the CV. Following on points 1 and 2, be clear on what you can be hired for by providing the reader with a clear outline of the key transferable skills and knowledge that you can bring to the table.
- Most contractor jobs require hands-on skills, therefore it’s important that you highlight these capabilities as such.
- While many positions overlap in industries, clients often look for contractors with affinity and experience in a certain industry. Clearly indicate your industry-specific knowledge (e.g. GMP, ISO 9001, Serialization), hard-skills (e.g. CAPAs, IQ, OQ, PQ, CAPEX), and the software you have worked with, (e.g. SAP, LIMS, MES,).
You’ve played an important role in the growth of several companies and departments, accomplishing specific results during the execution of the specific tasks that you were hired in for. Paint a clear picture of where your key strengths lie and grab the attention of the hiring manager by indicating where you can add value.
- Besides your hard-skills, provide evidence of specific tasks and projects you have carried out that are relevant to the job you’re looking for.
- Include any accomplishments and results of said tasks and projects in your CV, using facts and statistics where possible to further emphasize what you can achieve for your next client.
Nothing stops a reader in their tracks quicker than a poorly formatted, illogically-written CV. Steer clear of large chunks of text, overly long sentences and irrelevant bits information, and try to use bullet points where possible. A few additional checks:
- Ensure your CV is in chronological order, moving backwards by date.
- Avoid complicated formats but do make sure the headings stand out. A simple, clean and clear format allows the reader to scan and pick out the most important and relevant information quickly.
- Keep it short, sharp and to the point. Ideally, your CV should be 2-3 pages max, but you can also use appendices where necessary. Remember, interviews allow you to go into more detail about your experience and expertise.
Writing a CV isn’t rocket science but as recruiters, we often come across applications that are too lengthy and complex. The key take-aways from these pro CV tips for freelancers are really to make it absolutely clear to the reader what you can do and why you’re the best person to do it. Focus on your key strengths and be true to yourself so that when you’re invited to do so, you can further build on these skills and your added value to the company in an authentic and detailed interview.
Now that you know what you need to do get your CV read this year, maybe we can help you get your next freelance or contract role? View our latest Life Sciences jobs, upload your CV or get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today to discuss the best strategy for you.
Ready to take your CV to the next level? We put together a handy checklist with the above tips, as well as a few additional points to make sure your skills aren’t overlooked by hiring managers. The checklist is exclusively for members of our Freelance Life Sciences Professionals in Europe community on LinkedIn.
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