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What is the difference between a permanent and contractor CV?

What is the difference between a permanent and contractor CV?

  • If you're only looking for contract work, make it clear

  • Bring your key skills to the forefront

  • Tailor your work experience to the type of job you want.


While we may spend hours stressing over them, creating a CV is a relatively straight-forward process. You detail who you are, what you’ve done so far and what you want to do next in your career. 

So, when it comes to writing a CV suitable for fixed-term contract roles, the basic elements are essentially the same, but the devil is in the finer details. 

Here’s some of the most common questions jobseekers have about contract-specific CVs, along with some helpful tips you can put to good use:

Should I say if I’m looking for a contract role?


This one’s simple. Yes. If you are only interested in taking on contract positons, making it clear in your personal statement and cover letter that this is the case. 

But if you’re undecided, and might consider a permanent position if matches up with your career objectives, it’s best leaving this vague. 

What format should I follow?


The main purpose of a permanent CV is to demonstrate that your experience, skills and personality are aligned with the short and long-term business objectives and culture of the organisation – but the main goal of a contractor CV is to highlight your suitability to solving a specific problem, or achieving a particular goal. 

So, while permanent CVs normally state your name and contact details, a short personal statement about yourself, followed by your employment history and achievements, then your education and key skills, on a contractor CV, it’s best to bring your key skills to the forefront as this is what the employer is really interested in. 

Try your best to keep your CV down to two pages, and if you’ve done a number of contracting roles, don’t waste space with lengthy descriptions of each job, especially if they are very similar in nature. Instead, try focusing on the most recent and relevant roles, then summarise the remaining positions. 

Should I detail if a role was permanent or temporary?


There’s no legal requirement to state whether a role was permanent or temporary on your CV so it’s completely up to you, but if you’re trying to demonstrate your contracting experience to an employer, it might be worth saying that the role was a fixed term position next to the company name and the dates you worked there. If you’re not comfortable with this approach, starting a job description with something like “In this contract role…” will help make this point clear.

Should I state my own company name on my CV?


Many contractors have a registered company name, even though its essentially just them running the show. This is by no means a bad thing, but including this on your CV might open you up to not being considered for a role as the employer assumes you’re only prepared to work under your company name rather than as an individual. You’re better off securing an initial interview first and then sorting out the details with them face-to-face.

By clearly stating what you’re looking for, demonstrating your contracting experience, and bringing your best skills forward, you’re far better positioned to secure a contract position as you would be following a traditional, permanent-style CV.

For more contracting tips, click here

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