When you first move to become a contractor, the idea that you might be sitting there with nothing to do and no income is, quite frankly, terrifying. Of course, once you’ve been self-employed for a while, you’ll have word-of-mouth and referrals behind you, which will see offers of work coming directly to you. This blog, however, will give you some tips and ideas on how to find work as a new contractor, besides the more traditional job boards.
If you’re giving up full-time employment to become a contractor, take advantage of the last few weeks of your notice period to contact people to let them know that you’re striking out on your own, what you will be doing and when you will be available from. This may seem like a fairly old-school method but it does, in fact, work. It is also prudent to get in touch with businesses who may well need someone offering your services. Even if they don’t have work available imminently, they may keep you on file for the future.
As with emailing, social media is another good way to drum up business. The obvious choice is LinkedIn, where you can let your professional network know that you are becoming a contractor, as well as forging new connections. It’s good practice to keep your LinkedIn profile updated with your latest projects and let people know about availability. You can also build your reputation by making longer posts on LinkedIn to give the benefit of your insights into your industry. Despite the dominance of LinkedIn, however, you shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness other social media platforms in building your network.
Agencies and recruiters
Finding agencies and recruiters that specialise in contract work in your field can really help take some of the pressure off. The idea is, of course, that they will find placements for you and do all the hard work on your behalf. Find a good individual or company that understands contracting and acknowledges that you may well have your own personal clients so that you can build a good working relationship. The trick is to keep in touch with your recruiter or representative so that you stay fresh in their mind and you don’t slowly drop to the bottom of their contact list.
The idea of networking events can send chills down the spine of some contractors, but they can be incredibly useful. While sharing a buffet breakfast with strangers can be awkward for some people, there are other networking possibilities available today. Recruitment expos in your industry can be a great way to network with companies you want to work with, as well as other contractors in your field. If you’re networking at a big event like this, remember to follow up introductions with an email or a LinkedIn connection afterwards.
There are various online platforms out there to help you find work as a contractor and how useful they are will depend on the field you are in. Most of them mix jobs boards with the opportunity for you to advertise your services, with the idea that you can apply for work and employers can also approach you. They can be useful, particularly when you’re having a slow patch, although you should be aware that they usually take a cut of your earnings and so you should bear this in mind when setting your fees.
If you are in the process of becoming a contractor and want to speak to someone about getting the correct insurance, contact our friendly team on 01242 808740 or take a look at our website. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us over on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages.