Contractor advice: How to find your next contract in the current climate

25.05.20

As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, contractors and freelancers are struggling to secure new work.

That’s understandable – businesses are naturally cautious of investing in new projects with the economy turned on its head.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a new role if you have the right skills, experience levels, and recruitment strategy.

Below, we’ve pulled together some top tips for securing your next contract – and fast…

 

Take control as a contractor

Though many contractors work with recruitment agencies, you should consider taking your job search into your own hands.

As well as working with an agency, who’ll contact you when a position becomes available, you should follow up and chase any potential leads, and be persistent.

It may feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, reaching out to managers and companies directly, but it’ll put you on the map and ensure you’re in their minds when hiring.

If you still don’t have any luck, consider moving to an alternative recruitment agency – there are many on the market – and updating your CV to focus on core skills that companies are looking for.

Remember that the market is changing during the pandemic, and skills that were once considered unnecessary – computer training, cybersecurity, and presenting – may now be at the fore, so consider putting yourself up for positions outside of your comfort zone.

 

Stand out from the crowd

In today’s cut-throat market, being able to differentiate yourself and your services from fellow contractors will help you stand out.

The truth is that the contractor job market is saturated and figures suggest there could be up to two million job losses as a result of the pandemic.

In short, that means you’ll face tougher competition any time you put yourself forward for a role.

The only way to ensure you’re first pickings is to update your CV and cover letter and tailoring each for specific roles.

You should also pick up the phone and speak to a potential client directly – rather than sending them a generic email like every other candidate, a quick phone call could position you as a favourite and allow you to bypass the typical recruitment process, saving you time and allowing you to win a contract over a more experienced player.

When you attend a job interview – either in person or over Zoom – send them a follow up to thank them for their time and stressing your passion for the role and be original.

Ask yourself why someone would hire you over the next guy and use that as your “unique selling point”.

 

Ensure you’re ready to work

Contracting is not only competitive, but it’s fast-paced.

A client may be looking for someone to start at their organisation in a week’s time, especially with the pandemic creating new job opportunities in sales, security, and construction.

One of the best ways to increase your chances of securing your next contract is to be ready to take on a project at the drop of a hat – and make sure your hiring manager knows that you’re flexible and able to relocate quickly.

So, how can you be prepared?

Have all of your tools and equipment ready, have a savings pot that you can tap into for travel and accommodation if needed and brace your family for your next job.

The more ties you have, the less likely you are to be picked for a job that’s in high demand and requires immediate deployment – especially with clients having so much choice. If you’re wrapping up a contract, put the feelers out for your next role and be clear on availability – if you can’t start until 5th August, don’t apply for an “immediate start” job in May.

Some recruiters specialise in last-minute contracts, so if you’re flexible/have the capacity to move to the other side of the country overnight, put yourself forward for those positions.

With many workers choosing to stay at home with their families during the crisis, you might have a unique advantage if you’re open to relocating at short notice, living out of a suitcase.

Finally, be open and transparent with your recruitment agency.

Update your profile to suit your current situation and let them know whether you’re available for work.

The last thing you want to do is receive a call for a position of your dreams, only to turn it down because you have other commitments or you’re still finishing off a freelance jor for a regular client.

Though we can’t help you find your next role, we do offer umbrella services for contractors designed to save you time and money. Reach out to the team today to arrange a free quote for your needs – we’re always on hand to help you achieve your goals and make life easier.

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