How networking can help your job search

Knowledge base from Boox

By Lynne Gowers on 22nd July 2014

How networking can help your job search

Becoming a freelancer means that you have to take on a much more active role in finding your next job.

Whereas a permanent employee can work with the same company for years, you’ll need to look for new opportunities on a regular basis.

Finding your own work

Depending on how long your contracts are, this could be every three, six or twelve months. It may sound like a lot of effort, but moving from project to project is one of the benefits of freelancing. It offers flexibility, a change of scenery and the chance to acquire new skills as you go.

Many independent professionals, especially those new to freelancing, rely heavily on specialist recruiters to help them find work. There is nothing wrong with this, and to begin with, it’s pretty much the best option available.

Contractor recruitment agencies are already set up with contacts and job opportunities, all you have to do is be persistent and show you’re the right candidate for the job.

However, after a while it’s a good idea to become more independent with your job hunting. Once you’ve decided that the freelancing life is definitely the one for you, you can really start to alleviate your dependency on agencies and source projects for yourself.

It’s not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but as you establish yourself in your chosen sector, cutting out the middleman and finding work can be a great way to develop as a freelancer.

Here are a few tips as to how you can start to find work on your own.

Apply directly to the company

A lot of big companies will handle their recruitment in house. This means keeping an eye out for potential business opportunities online and getting in direct contact with the business themselves. Also keep your eye out for industry trends on contractor news sites.

Build relationships, build your network

How ever you find a contract, be it through an agency on your own, you should try and add that client to your network of contacts. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this.

If you build a good working relationship with them and perform then chances are you’ll be in the frame for more work down the line. The chance of a contract extension may be possible, or you could your connections to try and source work further down the line.

What’s in the vicinity?

Are there local companies nearby that might benefit from someone with your expertise? A quick Google search will give you the answer and also the relevant contact details.

Don’t be afraid to inquire personally with these firms, you never know, they might just be looking for someone like you.

You can also sign up for company alerts from these potential suitors that you have found as well as following them on social media. All these things will give you a good idea of what’s going on with such firms.

Pick up the phone

Emails are easy to ignore, either intentionally or by mistake, but a good old fashioned phone call is a great way to make someone take notice.

Whether you’re following up a potential lead or applying for a job directly, talking to someone on the phone is a good way to show you’re serious and get your name out there.

Get organised

Set up a system and stick to it. You only need to spend a few minutes each day looking for your next project, but you do need to keep it up on a regular basis. IT Contracting recommends investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system as this will help you log all the information about a client you have.

Not only is this useful for storing data for each of your contacts, but it can also be used to log the details of recruiters who are trying to find you work – it’s always sensible to stay in contact with an agency in case they do find a project that’s perfect for you.

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