Tailoring Your CV for Temp Work


Temp or contract work can be incredibly rewarding, especially if you enjoy new challenges. It’s also a great option for people who can’t commit to a long term contract, such as students. But because temporary contracts are so popular, particularly over the summer and around Christmas, you may find the market is rather competitive. You may have to do more to stand out from the crowd if you’re looking for temp work in a busy period.

So how do you go about doing this? One of the best ways to get hired for temp work is to tailor your CV. Your CV will almost certainly be the first way you’ll make an impression on a potential employer, so it’s essential that you get it right. And for contract work, you need to draw attention to things like flexibility and interpersonal skills.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when tailoring your CV for temp work – we’ve outlined the top three techniques below!

1. Focus on Relevant Skills

Any time you tailor your CV to a role, it’s a good idea to put a lot of emphasis on skills that align with the job description. With a contract role, the attributes you focus on are more important than ever, though they may differ slightly from the skills you’d normally highlight.

Most employers want to be assured that you’ll be a great fit for the business long term. They won’t want to spend months training someone, only for the individual to leave soon after. But with a temp job, the whole point is that you won’t be there for long! So you need to mention things like availability and flexibility on your CV – aim to include these in your career summary at the top of your CV, so that a potential employer will see them straight away.

Other skills that are worth drawing attention to on your CV include being quick to learn, and the ability to fit in easily with a diverse group of people. While these are considered ‘soft skills’, they are incredibly useful attributes for a temporary worker. You can also focus on any technical skills you have that are relevant to the role you are applying for, such as typing speed or proficiency with particular software.

2. Not All Skills are Transferable

It’s not uncommon to have a wide variety of jobs listed on your CV, especially if they were short term contracts. For instance, you may have worked as an administrative assistant, supermarket cashier, and sous chef for a few months at a time, and now be applying for a role as a call centre agent. Not all of the skills you picked up in your previous jobs will be relevant, so you should probably avoid talking about them too much.

The trick here is to group certain jobs together, putting similar placements under one heading. As long as you include the dates of employment, so that there are no big gaps in your work history, this can be an effective way of highlighting relevant skills and downplaying less relevant ones.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t discuss any key responsibilities from your previous jobs that do relate to your current job application. With the example above, you may wish to write about your experience working in an office environment (as an administrative assistant), discuss your interpersonal skills (as a supermarket cashier), and mention your ability to pick up new skills quickly (as a sous chef). All of these attributes would serve you well in a call centre job, even if you didn’t pick them up in that role.

3. Be Specific

Ideally, you’ll have worked similar temporary jobs before, and can list your experience on your CV and cover letter. But even if this is not the case, you can still emphasise previous experience that relates to the contract role you’re applying for. The main thing to remember is to be specific, and try to give quantifiable examples.

For example, if you have a typing speed of 60 or 70 words per minute, make sure you mention this, especially if typing proficiency is needed in the job you’re applying for! Specific achievements and qualifications are also great to include, even if they’re not strictly work related.

Overall, it’s essential that you make your CV stand out from the crowd for any temp job. Competition can be fierce, and you don’t want your CV to let you down. You may even wish to consider getting a free CV check, or contacting a recruitment agency like Pineapple Recruitment, to give yourself the best chance of success in securing a great temporary contract role.


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