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 24 month rule and how it affects contractor travel expenses

The 24 month rule and how it affects contractor travel expenses

Contractors are allowed to claim travel expenses through their Limited Companies, if the travel is related to a ‘temporary workplace’, which for contractors will mean their clients’ workplace.  The 24 month rule relates to the HMRC definition of a ‘temporary workplace’. If you are aware that you will be travelling to the same workplace for more than 24 months, this workplace becomes a ‘permanent’ workplace.  From then on any costs associated with travelling to a ‘permanent’ workplace must not be claimed as an expense.

 

How the 24 month rule works

The key points are:

  • A contractor who works at the same location for more than 24 months cannot claim travel expenses once they have passed the 24 month date.
  • The minute the contractor is aware that their contract will continue beyond 24 months they should stop claiming travel expenses.
  • A contractor cannot claim any travel expenses at all – for the entire duration of the contract – if they know from the beginning that they are likely to be working for the client for more than 24 months.

If you are un-sure of where you stand with your own travel expenses, speak with your accountant to clarify matters.

 

The 40% rule

Many contractors have quite flexible working arrangements with their clients, meaning they are spending time at several different sites over the course of a month. For these contractors the HMRC’s ‘40% rule’ applies. Under this rule, if a contractor spends most of the week, say three days, at one site and only two at another they can claim travel expenses only up to the point that they are aware that they will be spending 40% of their time at one site.  Once they are aware, they cannot claim tax relief to and from the site they spend three days a week at. However, if they make individual journeys to different locations they will be able to claim for these. The 24 month rule calculation includes time even if there has been a gap of a month or two between contractor visits to the site. If a contractor returns to a site the total time spent should be calculated and the 40% rule used if applicable.

 

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.