If you were a hiring manager looking for a contractor who can write C+ code, would it matter to you that one of the candidates has lots of tech contracting experience or whether he or she has specific experience in C+ coding? I would say the latter.
That's why a contracting resume should look different than a normal chronological resume. Instead of organizing your resume chronologically by the companies you've worked for, arrange it by individual project, with the projects that contain the wanted skill set first.
Continuing with the C+ analogy, let's say that your last contracting job was actually migrating a small office to Windows 8. Since that's not relevant to the direct needs of the hiring manager, you can push that down further on the resume.
The first project you list will be the one where your C+ skills were most in use.Project title: Creating Desktop application for Windows Duration: You can write this in hours, weeks, or months Technology used: Lead with C+, but list all other technologies that lent themselves to project Description: This is where you can describe the level of complication of the project (without, of course, giving away proprietary details), what project milestones had to be met and what intervals, etc.
This gives the hiring manager the information he or she is looking for right off the bat. And, once you have delineated all of your contracted projects this way, you can then copy and paste the order as needed when sending out future resumes for gigs that ask for different specialties.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.