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How to find and win that next contract

Tom Sweeney

Tom Sweeney | Marketing Assistant

Monday 28th Sep, 2020

Finding and winning contract work is a whole different story to finding and winning a permanent job. Contractors often get just one opportunity to impress as they are usually hired after just one interview. And competition for those great contracts can be fierce, especially in the current climate. So it’s crucial that you’re doing everything you can to not only find but also secure that next role, here are our hints and tips in doing just that.

  1. Write a contractor CV

    As a contractor you’re not a normal employee, so why would you have a normal CV? A contractor CV should be short, concise but more importantly tailored to the contract you are applying for. It should include specific skills which are relevant for the job along with any previous roles which highlight you are the best person for the role. The previous roles you include should prove that you can deliver the results you are claiming, after all you are a specialist in your field.

  2. Know your rate

    Do you know what you’re currently worth in the contractor market? Keep up to date with how in demand your sector is as you can use this to your advantage when negotiating a rate.  It’s also important to remember that you need to factor in things like pension contributions, taxes and National Insurance, if you’re a limited company contractor.

  3. Develop relationships with recruiters in your field

    Above all others, this is your best access to the market – a good recruiter offers a wealth of market information; who’s hiring, what skills are in demand, what potential day rates are on offer. Create a network of recruiters you can work closely with and allow them to do the heavy lifting, they are the experts, they do it day in and day out!

  4. Network/market yourself

    Get yourself out there! Attending virtual industry events is a great way to connect with potential end clients and fellow contractors, always be professional and genuine that way you give a lasting impression of yourself. Don’t forget to give out your details, or get theirs as a means of making contact in the future. A large percentage of jobs themselves are filled without being advertised so getting your name out there is a must and what better way to do that than on LinkedIn?

  5. Utilise LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a great platform for contractors to locate their next role, albeit it’s very competitive therefore it’s a good idea to optimise your profile to make you stand out from the crowd. To do that ensure that you regularly update your profile, treat your profile like a CV the more up to date it is with your skills and experiences the better it looks. Try to post relevant content regularly too, writing an article or even sharing an insightful post about what you have learnt in your most recent role. If you’re looking for a new role consider adding this to your profile so when a recruiter or end client stumbles across your profile they know you’re on the hunt. When trying to navigate the do’s and don’ts of Linked, you may find our 15 things to avoid when it comes to LinkedIn article useful.

  6. Find contractor specific jobs and send a targeted application

    Finding jobs which are specific for contractors is always a good start, you don’t want to be applying for permanent positions! Identify any roles which suit your skill set and experience level and simply tailor your CV to the position. Keep track of what roles you have applied for and when so you know who and when to follow up.

  7. Follow up on applications

    The job market is incredibly competitive, and COVID-19 has resulted in some contracts becoming increasingly hard to win due to more contractors applying for each role. So how can you stand out from the rest of the applicants? Following up your application with a  phone call or email is a great way to show you mean business. Over time you will reap the rewards of your effort and may even build longer lasting relationships as a result of this which could lead to more contracts in the future.

  8. Prepare for each interview

    Much like a normal job interview preparation is key, those contractors who turn up unprepared are unlikely to progress and secure the contract. It’s important to know about what’s required with the contract, but you should also show an understanding of the company. Take the time to research the company and also the sector they operate in. Take a look through their website and social media channels, this will help you to understand if you a right fit for the company, and if they are the right fit for you.  Most contracts tend to be sealed on the first interview so it’s important that you make a good, lasting impression and sell your abilities to the client.

  9. Manage relationships

    Whilst it’s important to build new relationships it’s just as important to manage these relationships and nurture them to ensure you get the most out of them. Check in with your contacts and previous clients regularly, even just to see how they are coping. Keep an eye on any changes occurring in their sector and make sure you keep them informed of these changes, it shows that you’re still interested in their business.

  10. Bring added Value

    Employers and end clients look to contractors to fill a void in their business and it’s your job to ensure you live up to expectations. This means you should be looking to constantly improve your methods of working and expertise to truly establish yourself in the field. Why not set some time aside each week or month to do research or training so you can truly add value to your clients.

  11. Be Flexible

    The way in which we work and how companies operate is changing so it’s important that you’re flexible in the way you work. Whether that’s being available to call at certain points in the day or offering to work in the office every so often, anything you can do to be more flexible with your clients will promote trust and help you to win more contracts in the long term.

  12. Give back

    If you have some downtime between contracts, why not give back to your local community by lending your expertise to those who need it? A local charity or small business will greatly appreciate your help regardless of the market they operate in and it will serve you well. You could add these experiences onto your CV or LinkedIn profile or simply use it as a way of gaining experience in a new sector to you and making new relationships.

  13. Be proactive

    As an umbrella or limited company contractor you should always be looking for a new contract a few months before your current one finishes. This will become easier over time as your connection base will grow as will your expertise and experience.

    When you’ve found that next contract don’t forget that PayStream are here to help. Whether that’s through our award winning umbrella company, or with the help of our straight forward range of accountancy services. If you want the time to focus on what you do best, use one of our services and leave the rest to us. Contact us below to get started.

To get started with PayStream today call 0161 923 0201 or email newbusiness@paystream.co.uk

Related article - 5 tips for becoming a trusted contractor

Trust is essential in any line of business. For contractors, establishing a relationship as a trustworthy partner is essential if you want to regularly attract contracts. But how can you ensure current and future clients see you this way? Read our top five tips to find out.

How to become a trusted contractor
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