So you are applying for a job that is not through word of mouth, and you need to present your resume to your future employer. You see a problem, though your resume does not show that you have worked anywhere longer than a year! You already know that the first thing your potential new employee is going to ask is, “Why so many jobs in so short a time?”. The answer, because you are a contractor! If this sounds like a problem you have had to deal with then keep ready we are dishing out our best resume advice for those who work contract positions.1. Put CONTRACT POSITION on your resume, next to each contract job you have worked. If you don’t, it is almost 100% guaranteed your resume will get looked over for being considered a job hopper (for more information on why being a job hopper is not always a bad thing check out Tim Davis’ blog).
2. Have two versions of your resume, one long and one short. Look we get it, there is no way that you can list the last six years of job experience you have on one page when you have worked at six (or more) contracts in that time frame. We recommend you have two resumes, one that is short that skips on all the fluff like, full job description, with three bullet points on each task you performed. Your one-page resume should list your title, the company, the time frame you worked there, and a few keywords. Your second resume can be longer and provide lots of detail on each of the jobs you have worked (we do however recommend not going over four pages). When you are presenting your resume to HR or a recruiter ensure in your cover letter that you state that you can provide a more detailed resume upon request.
3. Forget chronological order when it comes to how you list your jobs. We recommend that you list your projects putting them in order of most applicable to least relevant. For example, if your last contract position was in the healthcare industry as a .NET developer and you are applying for a position in the construction industry you should list a job that more closely reflects what you are applying for.
4. Write a cover letter, end of story. Look yes, the idea of a cover letter is old outdated and a tad bit antiquated. Unlike dial-up internet, though you still need a cover letter, especially as a contractor. The cover letter is your time to make your case to anyone looking at your resume. There are a variety of things you should put in your cover letter (for tips check out Secrets to Writing an Awesome Cover Letter) to ensure that you land the job. As a contractor, this is a place where you can explain relevant past work experience, certification you have, and your success as a contractor.