If you’ve spent any amount of time contracting on short-term projects, you have probably asked yourself, “How should I organize my resume?” Resumes are supposed to be concise documents, but contracting assignments can cause your engineering resume to expand tenfold in just a few years. Use these strategies to organize your resume in a way that showcases your knowledge, expertise and experience, without submitting a document the size of a novel.
Contractors and Consultants Often Have Two Resumes
Remember when you submit a resume online, it will be subject to an initial screening process, either by machine or by a human. The resume you submit should be as concise as possible. Be certain to include a “Relevant Skills” list at the top of the resume that uses keywords from the job posting, and you list your most relevant experience first. Pare every job and contract assignment down to a brief list that covers the most critical achievements.
Your resume should also include a link to your LinkedIn profile, which paints a more thorough picture of your work history, skills and experience. Hiring managers will look you up if they are considering interviewing you, and they can fill in any blanks there. When you make it through the initial screen, bring a longer, more detailed copy of your resume for the hiring manager to study as they evaluate candidates.
Organize Your Resume by Relevancy
Forget what you know about chronological resumes. Organizing a resume chock-full of consulting assignments will be far too long if you take this approach. As previously mentioned, include “relevant skills” the top of your resume. Don’t include any outdated or unnecessary skills, as they will only take up valuable real estate.
Next, organize your work experience by relevancy, rather than chronological order. Include a brief, one-sentence summary of the job or the project you were hired for. Next, include a short summary of your achievement in that role.
Make Consulting Assignments Obvious
If you just list the start and end date of contract work, hiring managers may mistake you for a job hopper rather than a professional consultant and subject matter expert. Include the word “contract” or “consultant” in the title and the length of your contract. For example:
Nuclear Engineering Consultant, 6-Month Contract | ABC Corporation, Atlanta, Georgia
This makes it clear you accepted a short-term contract and you didn’t just leave ABC Corporation after six months.
Don’t be afraid to address your history of consulting assignments in your cover letter, either. This will prepare the hiring manager for what is to come in your resume, and reinforces your commitment to your chosen field.