Talent Development Centre

Independent Contractors Must Have This in a Resume

We recently surveyed Eagle’s Recruiting Team to gather more information about what they believe makes the perfect resume for an independent contractor.  Last month, we shared specific details about what they love and hate about reading resumes.   Today, we’re going to get into the meat of the resume to discuss what absolutely cannot be left out and where you should focus your efforts.

Professional Experience

Businessman holding resumeThis is no surprise to anyone (hopefully), but what may be news is that the majority of recruiters move directly to this section of your resume, meaning they get their first impression of you here.  Make sure this section is easy to find and, more importantly, easy to read.  When evaluators look at your Professional Experience, they want to get an understanding of every client you have worked with and which projects you have completed.  Specifically, provide this information in a simple presentation:

  • Client name
  • Your title
  • The dates you worked with the client (month and year)
  • Specific projects you completed
  • Your accomplishments (more than just regular tasks completed, include what did YOU do to make a difference)
  • Technologies used

Summary (not an objective)

The second most popular section recruiters zoom in on is your summary.  Not to be confused with an objective which is usually vague, the summary is your selling pitch that is designed to make the reader want to learn more about you.  It’s also the section that a recruiter is likely to pass onto the hiring manager when they present you.  When you write a fantastic summary, you control people’s first impressions of you and which experiences will be highlighted.

Contact Information

You definitely have some contact information in the header of your resume, but is it the right information?  100% of recruiters agreed that your resume MUST include, at the very minimum, your email address and cell phone number.  Other important, but less urgent, details are your home number and address, as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile.  The LinkedIn profile link is less common in a resume, but extremely helpful and definitely a growing trend.  Wouldn’t it be great if recruiters track you down, connect with you, and give you immediate access to all of their opportunities? Keep in mind, often staffing agencies only have hours to submit candidates to a client.  If a recruiter can’t get a hold of you easily, you may be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Bonus – Don’t bother with your Hobbies and Interests

Hobbies and interests are often included in resumes of people looking for permanent positions because it helps an employer understand if the candidate will fit into their corporate culture.  Clients are less interested in this section where contractors are concerned because of the short term nature of their role.  By including this section in your resume, you’re only adding more content into an already long document with minimal extra value. In fact, more than 85% of recruiters say that the Hobbies & Interests section rarely or never affects their opinion of a candidate.

Of course, there are many other important sections to include in your resume, including your Education and a Technology Overview, but those above were identified by Recruitment Specialists as what they care about most.  Do you have any other questions for our Recruiters?  Let us know in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Independent Contractors Must Have This in a Resume

  1. I have been an IT contractor for over 10 years and have worked on many important projects that are all worth mentioning in my resume. I currently have a 6-page resume. How long is “too long”?

  2. Hi Yvonne,

    A hiring manager will spend between 15 – 20 seconds reviewing your resume for a role, so how can you make that resume real estate work to win you the position?

    Outside of Government work where RFP responses where winning responses often require lengthy, detailed resumes, a CV targeted to Private Sector work should be no longer than 5-6 pages. Try to keep it to 4!

    The most detail (and space) should be allocated to the last 5 years of employment, particularly the last 3-5 projects that were successfully completed. Older experience should be summarized to key points only.

    The trick to resume writing is to understand that the best resume will be the one that is customized to a role that you are applying for. All 10 projects are valuable, but perhaps only 2 really highlight how you solved a similar problem to what the hiring manager is facing. Focus your energy expanding details there, and shorten the rest.

    Brianne Risley,
    Delivery Manager, Western Canada at Eagle

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