Contracting offers a more flexible way of working for professionals across a range of industries, but the shift from full-time employment to self-directed work means that you’re solely responsible for securing your next project.
Talented professionals with some marketing skills know how to make this work – no matter what the economic situation. How do you ensure that you’ve always got a steady number of job offers and clients coming in?
Here are three ways to start:
- Building the right relationships
- Marketing yourself professionally online and offline
- Finding the right management company
Building the right relationships
The way talent is sourced and placed is changing. One thing that hasn’t changed is that people hire people they know. Increasingly, clients are taking more of a role in directing the search, prioritising contractors that are known to either them or their recruitment partners.
Reach out to recruitment agencies to be added to their pool of talent. A tip is to look for agencies that already specialise in the industry and skills that you are seeking roles in. For example, if you are an IT contractor, search for agencies that operate in the IT industry as they will not only have connections with clients relevant to you, but their consultants are more likely to understand your role and the nuances of the IT contracting market.
It’s not enough however just to sit in their database. You have to build relationships with the recruitment consultants in charge of your industry area. Find out who they are, and make sure you are connected with them via email and social media. These days consultants often share job opportunities on their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles or their company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Direct to Clients
You can also make your own connections directly with potential clients by simply networking. There are many ways to do this including attending meetups, workshops, and getting involved in company events. Those who often influence the hiring decision includes the business owner, the talent or hiring manager or department manager. The 6 degrees of separation rule applies in the business world too, so once you have a few great clients under your belt, you’re likely to bump into potential clients all the time.
If you’re able to build strong relationships with your agency and leave a good impression on the clients you work with; you may find yourself redeployed with the same client or referred from role to role. This is becoming more common in talent-short industries such as cybersecurity, where the pool is small and the need to get the job right is paramount.
Marketing yourself professionally online and offline
But what if you’re just starting out? If businesses are looking to a known pool of talent even for contingent work, how do you join that pool? The answer lies in building your personal brand’s authority.
Building authority for yourself as a contractor is similar to developing a positive reputation as any kind of business.
Some tips to start marketing yourself:
- Build up your LinkedIn Profile and connect with recruiters in your industry, follow companies you want to work for and add other contractors and professionals – they are also a great source of job opportunities
- Find platforms and forums that operate in a niche space for your services and add your profile there
- Depending on your industry, you can create a website and brand look. This is a great way to showcase your work
- Build your personal brand as an expert through your own content – blogs, social posts, videos, etc. This is great if you’re into consulting work.
- Network as much as possible. Go to meet-ups with like-minded professionals to grow your network but also attend events where key people with opportunities will also be in attendance
- Tell EVERYONE what you do and how open you are for new work. Even family and friends can turn into great referrers for your contracting career
- And finally, when you’re in a contract role, build relationships within the company and with those you work with. Often your skills will be required again and by different departments.
Finding the right management company
All of these marketing and relationship-building efforts take time, which many contractors find themselves short on. Once you’ve done all the hard work landing a contracting opportunity with a new client, the last thing you want is to stall the process by having to look for a suitable payroll company to manage your contract and payments.
That’s right, as a contractor or freelancer you don’t want to waste time with manual timesheet entry, chasing invoices, organising insurances and ensuring your compliance with government regulations. A contractor management company will help you by taking on the payroll responsibilities between you and your client.
Oncore’s contractor management services will not only streamline all of the above, but we have a range of services and benefits designed to put hours back on the clock for professional contractors like you so you have more time to network, build vital connections and get on with your job.
Make the right choice for your career and join a global community of contractors with the world at their feet at Oncore.