As a contractor, your next pay cheque is always just around the corner. There’s no guarantee of a regular income unless you line up the work back to back. And the best way of doing that is to be always marketing yourself. How? Simply follow our three proven ways to boost your job search and set yourself up for financial security in 2018.
1. Build a contractor CV
It goes without saying that you want to format your CV correctly. So, make sure it’s no longer than two pages of A4 and has an outstanding personal profile paragraph at the top of the page, clearly outlining what you can bring to this role.
Tailor your CV
You want to follow up the personal profile section with a list of your key skills that are applicable to the job you’re applying for. This is crucial.
You don’t want to list every skill that you possess in your arsenal. You want to be sure that you come across, to potential employers, as someone who is competent and capable of filling the requirement they are lacking.
You might be a jack of all trades, but for every job, you have to sell yourself as specific to it. Therefore, zoom in on five or six of your best ones.
List recent, relevant work
Whoever is hiring will want to see that you have a wealth of experience in whatever it is that you do. Always start your employment history with your most recent position, start and end year. Avoid including ‘to present’ as recruiters looking to hire contractors typically want you to start straight away; they don’t want to wait until you finish your current job.
2. Learn how to market yourself
Finding constant work is the key to being a successful contractor; always try and have something lined up before you finish your current job. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but there are ways you can achieve this, and one of those is through successful self-marketing.
Treat every job and every opportunity as a potential to network. You never know who requires your specific skills or who they might know, so have an elevator pitch ready to drop when required.
Keep a handful of business cards with you too and never be shy about handing them out. The more people who know what you do and that you’re looking for work, the more word can spread about you.
No one enjoys cold calling, nor do they like to be on the end of a cold call. A cold email, on the other hand, isn’t a nuisance; it doesn’t disrupt workflow, and it can be actioned when the recipient has time.
Be sure to include:
- Who you are and what you do.
- What you offer and most importantly, what benefit you can bring to them.
- Recent clients who can (and are happy to) vouch for you and your work.
- Your contact details, including a phone number.
If you haven’t set up a profile on LinkedIn, go and do it now. This wonderful resource could be the goldmine you are looking for. Simply type the industry you work in in the search bar and use the filters to flush out the key hiring decision makers in that field.
Send each person a connection request and a personal message outlining why you’re reaching out to them. If you can, ask current connections to introduce you. A personal recommendation goes a long way.
3. Learn how to use job boards
Job boards are fantastic way of finding ad hoc work or at least discovering who is hiring and what type of work is available. However, it’s how you approach applying or pitching to each job that will determine your success.
Set yourself apart in your application
If you have found a job that interests you, so too have hundreds of potential other contractors. So, make sure you don’t send a generic CV to the recruiter. You want to stand out, not be just another candidate. Tailor your CV specifically to each job you apply for. It’s time-consuming, but it works.
Narrow your search
Don’t use a scattergun approach and apply for every job that you see, that’s a waste of time and not typically fruitful. Instead, seek out the jobs that you know you can add value to and concentrate your efforts on applying for those. Your core skills are what will set you apart from the rest of the contractors, so never underestimate what you’re capable of offering.
Proactively seek contracts
Don’t just wait for a company that you want to work for to advertise a position on a job board. Or, if you have seen that they have recently advertised, but are no longer doing so, proactively target them in your email marketing campaign. The more people who know about you and what you offer, the more likely you are to get work.
Finally, never finish a job without asking for a reference, it’s the easiest way to keep your CV current.
CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.
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