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How to stand out when going after your next contract

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Friday 6th Jan, 2017

When you're working for yourself as a limited company contractor, it can be tough dealing with the level of competition that there is for some roles.

You need to make sure that you and your personal brand stand out from the crowd in order to demonstrate to clients that you are the person who can add the most value to their business, particularly amid the ongoing skills shortage and ahead of the potentially challenging post-Brexit era.

So, how exactly can you do this?

Be clear and concise, but don't hold back details

Advice from iContract states that job candidates should make sure they are being clear and concise in their CVs, applications and cover letters to ensure they are getting straight to the point without too much fluff.

However, it needs to be about striking the right balance between cutting to the chase and providing enough detail to make sure you're saying the right things in the best way to capture the recruiter's attention.

Advice from iContract states: "The trick here is be clear without holding back, 'A senior regulatory project manager in financial services' gets to the point, but doesn't say the next bit: 'A senior regulatory project manager in financial services with leadership experience of implementing MiFiD II and FATCA change' says everything a recruiter and hiring manager need to know in a clear and concise manner."

Show off your skills

Recruiters may sift through hundreds of CVs and job applications in a single day, and it's no longer enough to simply present yours on fancy paper or in an unusual font to make it stand out from the crowd.

Instead, you need to use this as an opportunity to truly showcase your skills. Specialise in graphic design? Then present your CV as an infographic, with statistics about your experience, pop-out boxes highlighting your qualifications and a few fun 'about me' facts to give it an even quirkier edge.

If you're looking for a contract in animation, using your skills to create an animated CV, cover letter and e-portfolio would be a great way to catch a recruiter's attention. You want to present yourself in a way that sticks in their mind for a long time to come, meaning they'll be more inclined to want to invite you to an interview to see what else you can do.

Create a strong personal brand

As a limited company contractor, you are the face of your brand. An increasing number of people are focusing on creating their own personal brand these days, with this concept all about marketing yourself and your career as one and the same.

This means you need to live and breathe what you do and demonstrate your passion for your job in every aspect of your life. Prospective clients may not necessarily be able to see this at all times, but they will be able to see your social media profiles, so it's important that you keep your pages as professional as possible at all times.

More and more recruiters check out candidates' social media channels before inviting them for an interview, so it's worth remembering that drunken photos and inappropriate or negative-sounding photos could damage your limited company's reputation for the long term.

Creating a distinctive personal brand is also another opportunity to show that you really know your stuff. Help out with other people's queries online, offer your services to companies that are struggling and continue to nurture and develop your skills in order to gain as much varied experience as possible.

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