If you are a contract employee, you have probably wondered exactly how to structure your resume in a way that is effective but doesn’t result in a book-sized document. It can be hard to strike a balance between keeping your resume concise but providing enough information that helps hiring managers to understand the breadth and depth of your experience. Use these strategies to list contract work on your resume.
Create Two Resumes
Contract professionals often have two resumes. The first is a concise resume that they submit to online applications and the second is the resume they present when they are asked for an interview. Why? Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) scan page one of a resume and score it based on keyword matches. Contract employees need to make page one of this resume as concise yet as information-packed as possible.
This can be done by adding a “Relevant Skills” section to the top of page one that leverages keywords from the job description, then organizing job experience from most relevant to least relevant. Pare down each job and contract assignment to a short set of bullet points that cover your most critical achievements.
The resume you submit online should also include a link to your LinkedIn profile, so hiring managers can click through to get a broader picture of your experience. When you are called for an interview, send the hiring manager a longer, more detailed resume to review.
Organize Experience According To Relevancy
As a contractor, chronological resumes may not be the most effective in communicating your fitness for the role. Instead, focus on your experience that is the most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
In your longer resume, also include a “Relevant Skills” section at the top, focusing on the skills that align with skills listed in the job description. Then, create a “Relevant Experience” section and organize your past experiences by that criteria, rather than by date. Include a very brief summary of the job or project and a concise bulleted list of your achievements on the project.
Be Clear About Contract Experience
Listing the start and end dates of contract roles could make you look like a terminal job-hopper rather than a professional contractor. Always include the word “contract” in the job and list the length of that contract. It also pays to list both the recruiting firm you worked for and the employer For example:
Developer, 6-Month Contract, XYZ Recruiters | ABC Inc., Tulsa, OK, January 2 – June 30, 2018
This makes it clear that you worked a six-month contract through XYZ Recruiters at ABC Inc. and you didn’t just decide to leave a full-time job. It is also useful to address your contract experience in your cover letter, as well.