Finding contract jobs: a how-to guide

Knowledge base from Boox

By Lynne Gowers on 5th May 2015

Finding contract jobs: a how-to guide

With the British economy tentatively returning to growth in recent times, the market for contract workers is gradually becoming healthier – a welcome development for contractors following the lean years that followed the global downturn in 2008.

Recent research from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has shown a steady and often rapid increase in temporary placements during 2015 so far, with pay rates on the rise and demand outstripping supply. Moreover, 45 per cent of UK firms are planning to expand their use of contract workers and agency staff in the next four to 12 months.

With so many opportunities out there, it’s now more important than ever for contractors to make sure they are adopting the right approach to finding work, as this will ensure they remain at the forefront of a competitive pack.

Finding new contract work

Develop a strong CV

As with any type of job search, much of the success or failure of finding contract work hinges on the creation of a strong and compelling CV that demonstrates your skills, experience and the services you can provide for different employers, thus ensuring a good range of responses if the CV is intended to be uploaded to a database.

While highlighting your versatility and adaptability is important, it is also vital to tailor the CV when applying for specific roles, as most employers respond better to a document that has been targeted to suit their needs.

Demonstrate your value with your own website

Developing a personal website can be a great way of providing information on your services in a more expansive and visually dynamic way than the strict stylistic of a CV allow. As well as including contact details and information on your prior project work, you can also provide a blog that lets you demonstrate your industry knowledge and insights.

Get your pricing right

Pricing is a key consideration for contractors who want to make a good living from their work. Researching a fair rate for your work that conforms to the industry standard should be considered a priority, as setting your price too high can put potential clients off, while undercutting yourself can leave you out of pocket, as well as undermining your professional image.

Put yourself out there

Self-publicity and networking are valuable tactics when trying to gain a competitive advantage over other contractors. This could include liaising with established business contacts to find employers seeking contract workers, or getting in touch with local companies to find out about opportunities. Producing blog content for industry websites is another viable way of establishing your name and expertise.

Manage your workload appropriately

Contractors need to have a keen sense of their own capacity and capabilities in order to ensure their workload is sufficiently lucrative, but also realistically achievable. There is no advantage to taking on more work than you can handle, as it creates the risk of missing deadlines or delivering under-par results, thus damaging your reputation in the long run and preventing you from securing contracts in the future.

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