A self-employed CV can often be needed to showcase your talents and suitability for a particular contract or opportunity.
Competition is tough and to succeed you need an exceptional self-employed CV.
To help you, here is a comprehensive guide to writing a self-employed CV, including 2 CV examples, which will help you get ahead.
- Self employed CV examples
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
- Skills required for your Self employed CV
Self employed CV example 1 – Carpenter
Self employed CV example 2 – Consultant
Before you start writing your own CV, take a look at the example Self employed CVs above to give yourself a basic understanding of the style and format that recruiters and hiring managers prefer to see.
Also, take note of the type of content that is included to impress recruiters, and how the most relevant information is made prominent.
Self employed CV structure & format
First impressions count, so a sloppy, disorganised and difficult-to-read CV won’t do you any favours.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step; if your CV lacks readability, your written content won’t be able to shine through.
- Length: If you want to hold the reader’s attention and ensure your CV isn’t yawn-worthy, it’s best to stick to two sides of A4 or less. This is more than enough room to highlight why you’re a good match for the role – anything more can quickly become tedious!
- Readability: Recruiters appreciate CVs that they can quickly scan through without trouble. Ensure yours makes the cut by formatting your headings for attention (bold or coloured fonts should do the trick) and breaking up long paragraphs into smaller chunks or short, snappy bullet points.
- Design: The saying ‘less is more’ couldn’t be more applicable to CVs. Readability is key, so avoid overly complicated designs and graphics. A subtle colour palette and easy-to-read font is all you need!
- Avoid photos: Logos, profile photos or other images aren’t necessary and rarely add any value – save the space for written content, instead!
Structuring your CV
When writing your CV, break up the content into the following key sections, to ensure it can be easily digested by busy recruiters and hiring managers:
- Contact details – Always list these at the very top of your CV – you don’t want them to be missed!
- Profile – An introductory paragraph, intended to grab recruiters attention and summarise your offering.
- Work experience / career history – Working from your current role and working backwards, list your relevant work experience.
- Education – Create a snappy summary of your education and qualifications.
- Interest and hobbies – An optional section to document any hobbies that demonstrate transferable skills.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Kick-start your CV with your contact details, so recruiters can get in touch easily.
Here’s what you should include:
- Mobile number
- Email address – Make sure it’s professional, with no silly nicknames.
- Location – Your town or city is sufficient, rather than a full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Ensure they’ve been updated and are looking slick and professional.
Quick tip: Avoid listing your date of birth, marital status or other irrelevant details – they’re unnecessary.
Self employed CV Profile
Recruiters read through countless applications every day.
If they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll simply move onto the next one.
This short and snappy summary sits at the top of your CV, and should give a high-level overview of why you’re a good match for the job.
This way, you can ensure that busy recruiters see your suitability from the outset, and so, feel your CV is worth their time.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: Recruiters have piles of CVs to read through and limited time to dedicate to each, so it pays to showcase your abilities in as few words as possible. 3-4 lines is ideal.
- Tailor it: If recruiters don’t see your suitability within a few seconds, they may close your CV straight away. Your CV profile should closely match the essential requirements listed in the job ad, so make sure to review them before you write it.
- Don’t add an objective: You only have a short space for your CV profile, so avoid writing down your career goals or objectives. If you think these will help your application, incorporate them into your cover letter instead.
- Avoid cliches: Focus on fact, not fluff. Phrases like “Committed and enthusiastic thought-leader” and “Dynamic problem solver” might sound fancy, but they’ll do nothing for your application. Not only do they sound cheesy, but they have no substance – stick to real skills and facts
What to include in your Self employed CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Demonstrate your suitability for your target jobs by giving a high level summary of your previous work experience, including the industries you have worked in, types of employer, and the type of roles you have previous experience of.
- Relevant skills: Highlight your skills which are most relevant to Self employed jobs, to ensure that recruiters see your most in-demand skills as soon as they open your CV.
- Essential qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant Self employed qualifications, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
Next, you should create a bullet pointed list of your core skills, formatted into 2-3 columns.
Here, you should focus on including the most important skills or knowledge listed in the job advertisement.
This will instantly prove that you’re an ideal candidate, even if a recruiter only has time to briefly scan your CV.
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Work experience/Career history
By this point, employers will be keen to know more detail about you career history.
Starting with your most recent role and working backwards, create a snappy list of any relevant roles you’ve held.
This could be freelance, voluntary, part-time or temporary jobs too. Anything that’s relevant to your target role is well-worth listing!
Structuring your roles
Your work experience section will be long, so it’s important to structure it in a way which helps recruiters to quickly and easily find the information they need.
Use the 3-step structure, shown in the below example, below to achieve this.
Start with a solid introduction to your role as a whole, in order to build some context.
Explain the nature of the organisation you worked for, the size of the team you were part of, who you reported to and what the overarching purpose of your job was.
“Providing a wide range of bespoke design joinery products and services, expanding my portfolio to clients across both counties, safely delivering the highest standard of craftsmanship ”
Next, write up a punchy list of your daily duties and responsibilities, using bullet points.
Wherever you can, point out how you put your hard skills and knowledge to use – especially skills which are applicable to your target role.
- Visiting clients to ascertain requirements, providing samples and designs for the final product
- Preparing various materials for fittings and fixtures in the workshop including woods and plastics
- Coordinating site assessments prior to work commencing, establishing feasibility of requested works
To finish off each role and prove the impact you made, list 1-3 stand out achievements, results or accomplishments.
This could be anything which had a positive outcome for the company you worked for, or perhaps a client/customer.
Where applicable, quantify your examples with facts and figures.
- Tendered and won a large contract with Devon County Council worth £200K, to complete all fire door fitting works, renewing/upgrading and the installation of new fire doors.
At the bottom of your CV is your full education section. You can list your formal academic qualifications, such as:
- A levels
As well as any specific Self employed qualifications that are essential to the jobs you are applying for.
Note down the name of the qualification, the organisation at which you studied, and the date of completion.
Interests and hobbies
Although this is an optional section, it can be useful if your hobbies and interests will add further depth to your CV.
Interests which are related to the sector you are applying to, or which show transferable skills like leadership or teamwork, can worth listing.
On the other hand, generic hobbies like “going out with friends” won’t add any value to your application, so are best left off your CV.
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Essential skills for your Self employed CV
Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.
However, commonly desired Self employed skills include:
Initiative – Those looking at self-employed CVs are keen to see initiative and how you are capable of motivating yourself in a self-employed situation to the client’s benefit.
Multi-tasking – Showcase that your knowledge goes beyond the core role and how businesses will benefit from your unique range of skills.
Sector skills – Detail the specific knowledge and skills as needed for the specific role, matching them to the descriptors provided.
Adaptability – Use your CV to demonstrate how you can flex and adapt according to different situations and cultures.
Creativity – Explain how you utilise creativity skills to create solutions to different scenarios by thinking about things differently and strategically.
Writing your Self employed CV
When putting together your Self employed CV, there are a few key points to remember.
Always tailor your CV to the target role, even if it means creating several versions for different roles.
Additionally, remember that the structure and format of your CV needs just as much attention as the content.
Remember to triple-check for spelling and grammar errors before hitting send. If you’re unsure, consult Grammarly – it’s free!
Good luck with your job search!