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As a contractor, the most challenging step can often be the hunt towards finding your first contract. You may have scoured the web for an appealing contract that matches your industry, daily rate, level of skill, and location, but if your CV is the ultimate turn-off, then you may need to rethink your approach.

If you’re applying through a recruitment agency, or directly to the end client, first impressions always matter. They may have a pile of CVs the size of a filing cabinet so it’s important that yours really catches the eye, making them look twice. You don’t always need to make a grand statement through presentation, sometimes just sticking to writing concisely can work wonders.

We’ve rounded up the key criteria that you should meet when crafting your killer CV:

Introduce yourself

It’s rude to jump straight into it, introduce yourself, but keep it bitesize so the recruiter can understand who you are within five seconds of reading your CV. Begin with a few sentences which ‘sell yourself’, almost like the first two sentences of your LinkedIn bio, but a little more comprehensive and tailored towards the contract in hand. It’s important to adjust your introduction to different contracts as these may require different skill sets. The recruiter will be weeding through the pile, picking out the unwanted CVs, so make a memorable first impression.

Layout and Presentation

Find a balance between white space and blocks of text, you don’t want your CV to appear as long as an essay, or short as a nursery rhyme. Ensure to distinguish between sections by using bolded headings in larger text. If you’re working within the creative industry, if appropriate, reimagine your CV and let it reflect upon your trade.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer; use infographics to depict your past jobs or career advancements.

If you’re applying for a contract within the creative industry, crafting an online portfolio can allow recruiters/end clients to view your past projects. There are countless, free online portfolio platforms which allow you to display your work in original, and imaginative ways. It’s also vital to provide the recruiter with a traditional, hardcopy version of your CV.

Here are some online portfolio websites:

Content and Writing Style

This is the mammoth section of the CV as it will determine whether you fit the criteria for the contract, or not. List your experience with the most recent job first, and ensure that you demonstrate industry knowledge by finely weaving this into your job descriptions.

For example, if you’re applying for a contract that deals with current affairs, it’s important to recognise that you’re aware of this by referring to relevant news stories or developments within the media.

Remember to only include information that is relevant, and keep it concise and jargon free. Include relevant technical qualifications that you have achieved, as well as education.

Contact Details

There’s nothing worse than receiving a CV without contact details – an amateur mistake. Include your full name, contact number and address. If you have a website that is relevant to your trade, include the link. A LinkedIn profile handle can always be handy to include, depending on the industry.


The inception of LinkedIn has reinvented the recruitment process as it allows easy networking, and provides a bank of recommended potential candidates. Make yourself visible through LinkedIn by uploading all the relevant information, leaving no blanks. You can even connect with people you have worked with, who can then endorse your skills.

At Gorilla Accounting, we welcome first time contractors, as well as veteran contractors. We offer an all-inclusive accountancy package at a competitive price of just £85 plus vat per month.

If you have any questions about our service, call a member of our New Business Team on 0330 024 0406 or email