How to find contract work

Top tips to find contract work

Looking for contract work is a different kind of process to looking for permanent roles. This is partly because contractor vacancies often need to be filled quite quickly and partly because the very nature of contracting means that looking for your next role is an on-going process. If you’re currently working in a contract it can be tempting to put off the task of looking for your next role. However, it’s advisable to keep on the lookout for potential roles on a regular basis, whether you’re currently working or not. This way you’re less likely to miss a potential work opportunity.

1. Tailor your CV to the role applied for

Keeping your CV up to date is, of course, essential.  Just as important is highlighting elements which are directly relevant to the role you’re applying for. Don’t assume that others will understand what your previous roles have involved. Instead, ensure that what you have to offer is clearly stated to make it easy for the recruiter to match your skills to the role they want to fill. This may mean that you have to create several versions of your CV, but the effort involved is worthwhile.

2. Use keywords in your CV

When uploading your CV online, remember to include relevant keywords in the CV text. This alone can result in your CV being picked up in a search by a potential recruiter. For example, if you’re an ‘IT contractor’ with ‘public sector’ experience, try to include these terms within the text.

3. Make use of online Job Boards and CV Databases

Job Boards are online services which recruiters use to advertise roles which you can apply for. Most allow you set up email alerts to send you details of roles as they appear. This makes it easy for you to keep up with what’s available with minimal effort.

CV Databases are online services where you can upload your CV and profile for recruiters to search through when they’re looking for a match to vacancies they have. If you have the skills they need for a role they will contact you. The advantage of this kind of service is that your ‘shop window’ is permanently visible to those who may need your skills. Once again, make sure that your CV clearly highlights your capabilities and make sure you keep the most up to date version visible.

4. Register with contractor job agencies

Take a look online for agencies which specialise in your area and register with them. With their contacts they often hear of roles before they’re advertised so you potentially have access to jobs you would not hear of otherwise.

5. Network online and offline

Having at least a LinkedIn account is essential for contractors to increase online visibility. It provides a way to keep your contacts updated with projects you’re working on, enables you to add testimonials and allows you keep in touch with people you may not be able to meet with on a regular basis in person. Read our blog about the benefits of LinkedIn for contractors to help maximise your professional visibility. As well as LinkedIn there are many other ways of being visible online and demonstrating your expertise, on contractor discussion forums for example.

Face-to-face networking can also be an invaluable way of making contacts and finding work. Remember, if you meet someone face-to-face, follow up with an email or LinkedIn invite to keep the contact fresh.

The keys to finding contracting work are: use agencies, Job Boards and CV databases; stay visible to potential recruiters both off and online; and make good use of your contacts.

Thinking of moving over to contracting and unsure of the practical factors to consider? Read our blog on moving from a permanent role to contracting to help make your transition to contracting life easier and smoother from the start.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

The benefits of LinkedIn for contractors

The benefits of LinkedIn for contractors

As all contractors know, having a steady stream of contract opportunities coming in is essential to ensure a healthy income, especially if some of the engagements are short term. To help make your skills and experience visible to potential hirers and agencies in the marketplace, one of the most useful ‘must haves’ for a professional contractor is a LinkedIn profile. The latest figures from LinkedIn show there are now over 313 million accounts in 200 countries and territories around the world. Over 16 million of these are in the UK alone. That’s a huge pool of potential recruiters and valuable contacts that you could be missing out on if you’re not making the most of this powerful professional networking tool.

How to maximise your professional visibility with LinkedIn

There are a few basics which will help your LinkedIn profile really work for you and maximise your visibility and impact.

  • Make sure your profile is 100% complete. LinkedIn, like Google, works on algorithms. If your profile is only partly complete it can’t fully integrate your data. This will mean that you may rank lower than others if someone searches for a skill set, or industry sector.
  • Have a profile photo. According to LinkedIn your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. In many cases a professional one would be preferable, but not always. Think about your industry and target market and have an image that would appeal to these.
  • Choose your skills and experience keywords carefully. Make sure you use the kinds of words and terms that a potential recruiter in your industry would look for. This makes it much easier for them to find you.
  • Include recommendations. Don’t be coy about this. Ask for recommendations from clients and colleagues and make use of them. As you would expect, this will immediately raise your profile ranking.
  • Join LinkedIn groups. There are literally thousands of groups to choose from, with some also organising face-to-face networking opportunities as well. For contractors, some are more news related, or geared towards job boards. Others are more industry specific, such as Oil & Gas groups. Look around and see which appeal to you. Making comments or giving answers to questions can also help as this not only raises your profile ranking, but also gets you noticed within these communities.
  • Keep your profile updated. It’s not a one-off process. Treat it more as a real-time CV. Also, if you’ve done anything genuinely interesting or novel, let your connections know. Keep things flowing, but relevant.
  • Get connections. Ideally, you should actually know the people you’re connected to or have a known connection in common. The more connections you have the higher the profile ranking, but do think in terms of the quality of your contacts as this can also be relevant.

Remember – business relationships can be sociable

Although you can keep your contacts pool up date with your professional activities it’s important to remember that both current and potential clients are real people too. Try to maintain appropriate levels of LinkedIn contact on an individual basis too, even if you’re not currently working with them. This could be as simple as asking them if they’ll be attending an industry relevant event and suggesting a catch up over coffee if they are.

The appropriate level of contact will depend on the relationship you have, of course, but direct contact keeps you and your skills ‘in mind’. This factor alone could open the doors for your next contracting role and help keep the fees flowing in.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.