How to avoid time between contracts
As all contractors know, having a steady stream of contracting jobs is essential to keep the flow of money coming in. The length of individual contracts can vary widely and there can be opportunities for extensions, so in some cases a contractor could be with the same client for quite a while. Nonetheless at some point the contract will end and a new contracting role will need to be found. If you’re keen to work constantly, with back-to-back contracts throughout the year, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you’re aware of opportunities and are more able to match your availability to roles as they come up.
Let recruiters and contacts know when you’ll be available
It’s quite common when you’re in the middle of a contract to be so focused on the work in hand that you forget to plan ahead. However, if you know that a contract is not likely to be extended, as the end date comes closer it’s helpful to update your CV and online profiles to show when you’ll be next be available. If you have agency and other contacts it’s also worth contacting them as they may not be aware that your current contract is about to end and don’t rely on your current agent alone. It is unlikely that they will be monitoring the end of the contract they placed you on. Recruiters are focused on current vacancies and candidates who can join immediately and so may not be aware of those whose contract is coming to an end. If you leave things until the very end of your contract you’re more likely to have gaps between jobs as the process of finding your next contract, interviewing and starting could take a week or two, or even longer.
Explore other options with your current client organisation
In larger organisations there may be opportunities in other areas of the business. Different departments within a business may need your skills so it’s worth finding out what’s going on elsewhere in the organisation. You could make contact with other departments either directly, or through your agency, whichever is appropriate. Generally clients like to have contractors who are familiar with their business, so if you’re already working for them it can give you a real head start. Even if this approach doesn’t produce an immediate opportunity, it’s still worth exploring as it may produce something in the future.
Keep an eye on job boards
It’s possible to set up daily or weekly email alerts which list the latest jobs which meet your criteria. This is an easy way to keep up with what’s available and often these roles have slightly longer lead times so you can realistically pursue them while you’re still in your current contract. Agencies often advertise roles in this way, so it can be a good way of connecting with them too which may also open up new prospects.
Maintain relationships with your contacts
Keeping in touch with people you’ve formed good business relationships with is always worth investing time in. Whether you do this via platforms like LinkedIn, through phone calls or face-to-face catch up meetings and networking will depend on your schedule. Do factor this in though as it’s an essential part of your personal marketing. Keeping these contacts up to date with your projects and availability can potentially lead to contracting work and of course is also a good way to keep up purely socially with your peers and clients.
It’s a good idea to schedule some time in your weekly routine to search for potential contracts, update your CV and profiles and keep up with your contacts. This way you’ll be aware of what’s available as well as being visible to potential recruiters. This approach should help keep the contracting work – and the income – rolling 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.