IT professionals are some of the most sought-after candidates in today’s market. As such, it’s not unusual for them to have a background that includes some contracting work. When pursuing a full-time opportunity after serving in contracting roles for an extended period, there are a few smart ways to structure your contracting experience on your resume.
The Issues with Contract Work
First, it’s important to understand why a history as a contractor can make a hiring manager hesitant. From a hiring manager’s perspective, there are two key issues for professionals with a long history of contract work: 1) they are typically accustomed to a higher hourly salary, and 2) they are used to moving on to new opportunities after a brief time. These are issues you can easily address in an interview— “I am looking for the stability a long-term position offers”—but communicating that through your resume takes finesse.
Make Contract Positions Clear
As you add contracting positions to your resume, make it clear these were not full-time positions that ended quickly. Do this by ensuring your title has the word “Contractor” in it. Include the client you worked with as well as the recruitment agency to make it clear that the position was contracted.
If you worked multiple contracts under one recruitment agency, use the recruitment agency as an umbrella company and include individual contract positions underneath that heading. This makes you look more appealing by proving your willingness to work with the same people for an extended period.
Why Did You Leave?
Whether on your resume or in the interview, you will may have to answer a form of “Why did you leave?” for each position, especially any positions lasting less than a year. Head this off on your resume by volunteering that you left at the completion of your contracts. For example, if a contract lasted from September to December, you could list it as “September-December 2017 (completion of contract)”. As a caveat, this can highlight positions where you left involuntarily, so weigh your options to ensure this is right for you.
Focus on Results; Don’t Waste Space
Remember that space on your resume is limited. Make every effort to maximize space usage by removing vague skill sets, any objective or summary section, and short bullet points. Instead, focus on describing projects you worked on and what was accomplished. Include whatever acknowledgements, awards, or metrics you can, as these offer additional strength to your accomplishments.
Cover It in the Cover Letter
Many IT professionals use contract positions as a chance to improve their skills. If you sought out a position to increase your skill set, leverage that in your cover letter to demonstrate a willingness to learn, a self-starter mindset, and how the position you are applying for will fit into your overarching career goals.
Contract work is excellent for exposing yourself to new work environments, offering opportunities to work on exciting new projects, and creating strong skills that can transfer to a variety of employers. With just a little care, you can create a resume that uses your contracting experience to highlight your assets and skills to a hiring manager instead of highlighting the short-term nature of contract positions.