How to Make a Kickass Consultant CV

As Mavericks is in the business of providing our customers with experienced software consultants, we deal a lot with CVs. So we should have a quite good understanding of what a kickass consultant CV looks like. In general, there are two selling points in our line of business:

  1. CV
  2. Interview

The interview itself is the one shot mutually, between the customer and the consultant, to find out if they’re a good match for each other. I could write a whole other post about that process. But, in order to get to the interview, you need to pass the first hurdle, you need a kickass consultant cv. Customers collect CVs from providers of choice and interview the most promising ones. In such searches, the customers are rarely able to describe their needs much beyond the tech stack so providers are left guessing basic questions such as “What kind of a person they are looking for” and “What is the exact problem they are looking to solve”. That’s why CVs are usually quite generic showcases of the consultant in question.

Through my career I’ve seen thousands of CVs from freelancers, consultancies, recruiting agencies and job applicants, both domestic and international. Having seen what works and what doesn’t, and gathering feedback from our clients, partners and consultants, I wanted to break down what I believe is important in consultant CVs.

A good/kickass consultant CV is different from a job applicant’s CV. Consultants are hired to a specific, often short-time need so main emphasis is on the skills and experience that the consultant already has. Proven track record is usually valued over eagerness to learn. Another big differentiator is the time spent reviewing each application – as you don’t really need to treat vendors and their consultants equally, you can just quickly browse through the applicants at hand and choose the ones you want to interview. Not having to specifically reject anyone let alone explain why you chose not to interview specific candidates can make a world of difference in how fast buyers skim through available consultant CVs.

Another important factor in a good consultant CV is emphasis over accomplishments over career history. Former employers are of less interest than projects you’ve done and things you’ve achieved. This is specifically true for previous consulting experience. While describing experience, it is worthwhile to consider the STAR-model in how the information could be presented. Being able to showcase accomplishments and deliverables indicates you’re a problem solving consultant, not a follower.

Listing technical skills clearly is often valued, and at least a good CV should highlight the main skills of the consultant very clearly to avoid being dismissed within the first 10 seconds of skimming. That’s the easy part, though. Describing the soft skills and interest is the harder part. Things that really matter under the hood are the ones that are rarely described: “Is he/she a good team player? Developer or a consultant?” Honesty doesn’t hurt either – if you can, in a constructive way, describe what is it that you’re best at and what doesn’t suit you well, you can come across as more self-conscious and less desperate, potentially saving everyone’s precious time.

So, to sum it all up, I believe that a good consultant CV is like an onion. You can instantly see what it’s about but when you peel deeper into it, you can find layers of relevant information:

  1. A good and clear front page that gives a good overview of the consultant’s best skills, what they are looking for and what kind of a person is in question.
  2. A section that clearly presents what kind of problems the person has been solving. Don’t forget to describe the domain, role and most important skills used. Consider STAR-model when outlining the track record. 
  3. Extensive lists of skills in present in a clear, understandable manner

Usually you don’t know what the person reviewing the CVs is expecting to see and at what level. If you do, then complement the CV with a good intro that helps you stand out from the competition and you’re all set!

What about having a chat with us to hear what kind of work possibilities Mavericks could offer for you? Get in touch!

Mavericks is the new consultancy for seasoned developers. Besides the fairest compensation in the market, we also provide a wide project selection for you to choose from. Not to mention the famous fully transparent adult culture without bouncy castles, read more about us here.