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How an Independent Contractor's Resume Can Stand Out

I have spent over 15 years evaluating resumes, interviewing candidates, selling the skills of the candidate to the end client and finally soliciting feedback from the end client.

Through this experience, I have come across a few commonalities.  Clients want to see the successes and results of you and your independent business.  They want more than a description of the tasks you completed from 9-5.  What were the results of those tasks?  What did you build?  What value did your work bring to the client?  Too often we focus on the description of our activities rather than the benefits to the client that were the results of said activities.

For example, a project manager’s resume should show successful projects on time and on budget.  They should show how the organization benefited from the successful delivery of the project.  Was there money saved through efficient delivery etc.   To simply describe the activities of a project manager is simply not enough, clients already have that information.

Another example is a web developer resume.  The resume must have more than the programming languages that were used.  What was built?  Where can a prospective client see your work?  What benefit and value did the application bring to the client?  It is also beneficial for the client to see that you and your business understand the big picture and how the technology and applications you worked on add business value.

Put yourself in the shoes of the end client.  What are their objectives with this engagement? What is it exactly they are looking for?  What skills and experience must be engaged to be successful?  Once you have determined this you can properly highlight your accomplishments and abilities to match.

Based on these experiences and more, here are 10 tricks you can implement to your resume today that are sure to help you stand out:

  1. Highlight accomplishments, NOT tasks. Use quantitative data to support your accomplishments.

  2. Be clear and concise, and have a very well formatted and readable resume.

  3. Spelling and grammar is NOT overrated. It says everything about your attention to detail and pride in your work.

  4. Get to the point: accentuate your skills and accomplishments in a clear and efficient manner.

  5. Format your resume to highlight your skills that are relevant to the job you are applying to.

  6. If you have described skills or experience in an email or a cover letter, it HAS to be supported in your resume.

  7. In the world of Boolean search, ensure the proper words to action a recruiter are in your resume and supported by your experience.

  8. Always highlight any awards and recognition that you and your business have received (ex. Eagle Elite), this is not insignificant.

  9. Avoid personal interests or hobbies at all costs!! A business does not have hobbiesJ

  10. A business needs to be up to date and relevant. Ensure your resume does not include irrelevant technologies and engagements.