Creating a CV that sells

CV – two letters from both ends of the alphabet, which together create one the key ingredient of our world of work. When you’re a freelancer, CV is your first handshake with a potential employer. And like with a handshake, also a lot can be told from your CV. We have compiled a list of easy ways that help you to create a CV that sells.

We get it, writing your CV can sometimes feel daunting. However, creating a CV that sells you into your dream project is so much easier than you think it is. While it’s not exactly rocket science, there are still some things that should be considered when creating your CV.

There are as many different resumes as there are people, so there is no one-size-fits all approach to this. If you have a gut feeling on what your CV should look like, go for it! However few things should be found in every CV no matter the field or background; if you have your name, contact details and work experience in a chronological order, you’ve mastered the essential basics. But if you want to have a CV that really helps you land your dream project and makes the client shout “Sign this talent up yesterday!”, read further.

1. Keep it short

The first tip is a classic no-no, but it is still quite regular to see reeeeaaalllly looooooong CVs. We get it, you don’t want to leave anything out in the fear of getting accidentally skipped for lacking a skill or experience, after all, you’ve worked hard for them. However, too many pages actually work against you since it usually makes the reader more eager to just skim your novel compared to a more compact, readable version from your fellow freelancer. Good rule of thumb is to keep your CV to two pages, maximum three.

Add to your CV only your relevant experience and think again, if your high school experience or your most junior positions are still relevant in your future career. If you have years and years of experience that is now going across multiple pages, the most important years to include are the last 10 years. Good way to still make your earlier experience counts is to create a skill list – check our tip number four!

2. Give a little insight on your role

Your professional experience is what makes the bread into a burger and should be given the most attention in your whole CV.

When writing down your previous experiences, have some kind of description on what you did in a certain project, since just writing “Nokia - software developer” gives us very little data.
In a couple of sentences, write down the project description, your main tasks, possible leading experience and main goals that were reached.

Adding to these, your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight your best moments so it is important to include where you have gone above and beyond or made a significant achievement. Consider these achievements as your unique selling points that make you stand out from the mass.

3. Highlight your top skills and goals

By highlighting your top skills, stating that you’d love to work on Android native projects or by telling that you aim to be the best chicken-farming front-end developer out there, you really catch the eye of the reader. You can consider these highlights as your professional key words. While some job seekers opt to leave these kinds of personal statements out, a good resume showcases a powerful career objective or personal summary that puts some context around you. It also provides a quick overview of your qualifications and goals.

Especially if you’re a superstar with lots of experience and multiple talents, highlighting helps when you want to focus on having certain types of roles and projects in the future. A good place for the top skills listing is at the very beginning of your resume.

4. List your technical skills

Listing all your languages/frameworks/databases by field, skill level and experience in years works wonders when you’re considered for a project. Especially if you’re not much of a writer, this is a sweet deal for you. For example, a table where you list all your technical skills is a good idea. Don't forget to specify how many years you have been using certain skills and to tell when was the last time you employed them.

Sometimes skills are only written here and there in the middle of project descriptions. While it makes sense to present your skills this way, in fact, it can make the recruiter have to work harder to figure out what tech the candidate is actually familiar with – one of the most important things when hiring a talent to a case.

Though the listing doesn’t tell everything about you and your goals, the tech stack gives a great insight about your basic professional background, which again tells if you have the hard skills that are required for the role.

5. Show off your personality

We’re letting you in on a little secret… We aren’t fans of boring CVs either! When a candidate takes time to write and tell us about their deeper interests, how they are passionate lovers of Eurovision or are secretly super skilled at knock-knock jokes, we can’t help but give you a mental high-five.

It’s quite obvious but worth reminding yourself that behind all the clients and projects are just regular people, who all have the passion towards the same tech as you do. Unless you’re a robot, clients and teams are very much interested in your human side including your personality, values, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. They want people that can do their job but also simply great people to work with. Having the technical skills and know-how to do a technical job is essential, but soft-skills are critical too.

Your personality can come through with your words but also through your CV template, maybe consider adding a happy photo of yourself or if you have a motto in your life, we’d love to hear it!

Still need help with your CV or just want someone to give you a thumbs up? Send us a message and we are more than happy to help!

Thinking about becoming a freelancer? Check our previous post Top 3 reasons to become a freelance developer.

Linnea Saari - Client Relationship Manager

Linnea Saari

Client Relationship Manager