1. The “added value” you

Your professional summary may appear in a number of places including your CV, LinkedIn profile or website. It is important to capture your value proposition and underpinning skills, and communicate to a potential client where you can add value to their organisation. Many summaries are woolly and generic, not specific enough to allow a client to understand what you are going to deliver for them.

Even worse, many contractors are still using profiles packed full of behavioural traits which read like a list of clichéd HR competencies. This lack of a clear message leaves the client hesitant and creates a disconnect between what you are able to do and what the client perceives you can do.

Make sure your profile describes what you are, for example, an experienced project manager. Follow this up with your value proposition: a track record of delivering multimillion pound IT infrastructure projects for large telecoms organisations. Then describe your top skills: the ability to manage disparate stakeholder agendas or the ability to manage project teams of up to 100 people. Finish the profile off with an indication of the kind of roles you are looking for: I’m seeking contract-based IT project manager roles.

2. Take the case study approach

When writing your CV, instead of presenting your career in reverse chronological order with half a dozen bullet points underneath each job, write each contract as an evidence-based case study and create a section titled ‘contract portfolio’.

These case studies should be approximately six lines long and be written using the STAR methodology (Situation, Task, Action, Results). The dates, employer name and job title can then sit in a list underneath this section (titled ‘career chronology’). The case study portfolio approach provides the most effective framework for professional contractors to write their CV and gives you the option to re-order the case studies depending on the role that is being applied for.

3. Use sales techniques in interviews

The first rule of selling is to assess your customers needs then present a solution that satisfies these needs. Do this in an interview and you will significantly improve your offer rate. Ask subtle questions throughout the interview (and entire recruitment process) to establish the company’s future challenges and make sure you explain how you could provide a solution to these challenges if hired; back this up with evidence of when you have tackled these challenges before, providing tangible and statistical evidence of success.

4. Reign in the ramble

Most people attack the job market without really knowing themselves or the key events in their career. It’s like day one in a new sales job where you know next to nothing about the product or service you are selling. The other issue is knowing how to structure answers to competency-based interviews without rambling.

The ramble prevention technique provides a framework for excelling in competency-based interviews based on the STAR methodology. Document and communicate your key career events by first describing the situation or problem; explain how you were involved ie, your task; describe the headline things you did to achieve a positive outcome, ie your actions; and make sure you provide tangible and statistical evidence of success (opposed to anecdotal evidence).

5. Maximise your LinkedIn profile

It’s important to put the same time and attention into your LinkedIn profile as you would your CV. Over 85 per cent of recruiters and hiring managers check LinkedIn profi les prior to making a hiring decision. Make sure your LinkedIn profile includes your value proposition, plenty of recommendations, and evidence that you can deliver business benefits. Don’t just copy your CV into LinkedIn; instead, provide a summary of each role with the benefits that you delivered. There is no need to list each contract as a separate job (although this might be appropriate in some cases); use your limited company vehicle as the employer name and provide a two or three-line summary of each individual contract.

6. Convey your value proposition

How many LinkedIn users have a professional headline which mirrors their job title? For example, I could write: ‘Matt Craven, managing director/ CV writer’. But a more powerful message would be ‘Matt Craven, expert in helping people increase their effectiveness in the job market’. This statement is more of a value proposition and describes how I can help others. By adopting this approach, you are explaining to a potential client how you could help them – this of course, makes them more likely to engage your services.

7. Mix in the right circles

Make sure you join groups on LinkedIn which are relevant to your job searches as these groups are often used by recruiters to advertise contracts and source candidates (because it is free for them).

It’s also an opportunity to contribute to discussions and answer questions from other LinkedIn users to boost your profile and build a network of contacts who may at a later date have a need to employ your expertise.

By constantly networking and developing your online profile, you are increasing your chances of finding someone who may require your services. A person with 500+ network connections is more likely to be inundated with work than someone with very few.

These marketing tips have come from The CV & Interview Advisors who are an accredited IPSE affiliate member and provide discounts to IPSE members. Services include CV writing, interview coaching, profile writing, LinkedIn profiles, and seminars. Contact Matt Craven on 01274 408 222 or email info@cvandinterviewadvisors.co.uk

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