I receive many requests to help people write their CV, a good proportion wanting to consider interim roles as part of a portfolio career, which can be a great way to manage work and life at certain times in your career.
The issue is that many people are trying this and failing to secure their first interim role. The main reason is that it is far harder to convince a recruiter that as a serial permanent role candidate you can convert your workstyle to become an effective interim practitioner. You are competing against career interims who have a proven track record of delivering assignments. So here are my top tips to help you create an effective interim CV based on a permanent career.
- Project work – an interim candidate needs to convey their ability to take and understand a brief, plan the work, swiftly build relationships and deliver the assignment on time in full. You must break down the work you have been doing into distinct assignments so your CV can be structured to show your work as projects with a start, middle and end; showing a ROI if possible. Break your work down into achieved projects that demonstrate the correct mentality and workstyle.
- Expertise – what are the areas of expertise that you are offering? There are only a few truly generalist interim roles – you need the recruiters to know what specialism you bring and have a reputation for. Become known as the person ‘to go to’ who will solve certain problems the business has. Clearly focus on this expertise in your CV. It’s really hard for a recruiter to place a ‘jack of all trades’, so get known for something and build that reputation when you can. “I can do anything in HR” may feel like a sensible broad offering to get assignments, but I recommend you market the fact that you are a generalist with a specific area of expertise.
- CV format – There may be a temptation to create a ‘functional CV’ which illustrates the functional expertise you have, in place of a chronological CV. As started above I believe expertise should be highlighted but the recruiters I know do still prefer to see a chronological CV, where they can see the context of your work and assess how long ago the work was done. Use the ‘Personal Profile’ or ‘Key Strengths’ section at the top of page 1 to flag the expertise and then put evidence of it in the context of the chronological roles.
Remember, the world of interim is fast moving and you very quickly need to show that you are highly relevant for the role you are going for. Show the expertise in the required area; demonstrate that you have delivered similar projects with successful outcomes and put it in a format that will be read.