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Finding Your Next Contract

The ability to secure new contracting work will have a significant effect on your life as a contractor. The freedom to choose when and where you work, to take a break when you want to, to decide the direction of your own career, all have their roots in your ability to source new clients. In this article we’ll look at strategies that have worked for other contractors, to help you sharpen your own work-finding process.

Write an effective CV

Your CV will often be your first opportunity to sell your services to a potential new client, so it’s important to get it right. A contractor CV is different from an employee CV, and should be focused on relevant experience and successful delivery rather than your career history. Ideally you should tailor your CV to each contract, to minimise irrelevant detail and maximise its impact.  

If you need help or advice creating an effective contractor CV, our partners The CV and Interview Advisors can help.

Optimise your work-finding process

It’s a good idea to consider in advance what actions you need to take as your current contract draws to a close. You are in the best place to know how recruitment in your sector works, so you’ll know which channels and job boards to check, and when is the right moment to let recruiters know your availability. Having a defined process that you follow allows you to repeat successful strategies and change things that didn’t work so well last time.

Refine your marketing game

Marketing is about helping potential new clients to find you, and this can be done by building a network of contacts who can recommend you, being active and helpful on social media and having an effective website that you can use to promote your services. With the right marketing strategy and the right contacts list, you may find that most of your new contracts come to you.

Carefully consider the cost of your services

Before you can effectively search for contracting work you need to have a realistic idea of what your services are worth – what’s the going rate for your skills and experience? This will help you when vetting potential options, and you’ll have more success in negotiations if you have a solid idea of the value you bring to the table.

Understand IR35

In order to get the best returns from your contracting career you’ll want to work outside the scope of IR35 wherever possible. Understanding IR35 and how it relates to your work will help you target the right kind of contract and work in the right way so you don’t find yourself being defined as “employed for tax purposes”.

Plan for time off

Because it’s up to you to ensure the success of your contracting business, it can be easy to fall into an “always on” situation, where you never take time off because you don’t want to turn down work. Paradoxically, the freedom to decide when and where you work and take time off when you want to is one of the things that attracts many people to contracting in the first place. To ensure you can take time off without harming your business, plan your holidays well in advance, and make sure your contacts at clients and agencies are aware of your availability.

Review your situation

As your contracting career develops, your situation will change. For example, the experience you’ve gained could mean you command higher rates, your expanding network could mean you have a wider choice of contracts, your personal situation could change the way you want to work. As your circumstances change, it’s important to review how you operate, from whether your Limited company is working as you want it to, to how you go about sourcing new contract work.

If you have questions of if we can help in any way, please call our expert team on 01296 468483 or email info@orangegenie.com.

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