Contract Job Prospects – Ten killer ways to improve chances in IT job market

Contract Job Prospects
Contract Job Prospects

Contract Job Prospects for IT Contractors

You need to enhance your contract job prospects as many ways as you can to get an advantage on your competitors.

Those that work in IT seldom use any of the selling techniques that other people or small businesses use. Some of these are to do with marketing and some are to do with salesmanship or upgrading ones skills.

Here are ten that can give you a competitive advantage on all of those people looking for work out there.

Customise your CV

For each job for which you apply, customise at least the front page of your CV. Take out what the client or agent doesn‘t need. Give greater prominence to what they are looking for.

Agents and clients get so many CVs these days that if they can‘t find what they want quickly, then they‘ll likely dump your CV

Add a covering letter

It is always worth including a covering letter. This should be brief, but highlights why you are suitable for the job

Produce a Brochure

Most businesses, large or small, have a brochure. Having a brochure looks far more professional, and it separates the wheat from the chaff. Send this brochure out to companies that you know who have the tools and skills that you have. Make sure that you have contact details on the brochure

Keep a Database

Keep a list of all the companies where your CV has been sent, especially where you’ve been sent for interview. These are the types of companies that are most likely to want you in the future. Next time you are looking for work, contact these companies, sending your CV or brochure.

If you have an email address, use that too to tell them that you are available. Also, if you have a phone number, use that as well. If you are lucky, they will have a vacancy that they haven‘t contacted the agencies about yet

Train in New Skills to Increase Contract Job Prospects

If you can still afford it, take a training course in an area which is relatively new, and where the skills are in short supply. Normally you can‘t get a job or contract with just a training course behind you, but there is a much better opportunity if people with that skill are just not available in the marketplace. Concentrate in a niche area so that you have a skill that is in short supply, e.g. in a new tool that has just come out.

Tool vendors hire their own people out at exhorbitant prices to clients.

Ask tool vendors if they will let you go on the course for free, if they can hire you out afterwards for a certain period of time. If they have a place free on a course, they might just go for it. They often can‘t train people up quickly enough in a new tool to fulfill client needs. If they won‘t let you go on the course for free, ask them if they can take it out of future income

Ask your partner to do the phoning

When you have identified a list of companies that have the same skills as you have and are a suitable match, ask your partner to phone round. Incentivise them by promising them a certain percentage of your rate or salary if they are successful. If you are a contractor this will also help you get around IR35 and Section 660. It also sounds a lot more professional if someone else is phoning for you. It may help you secure a better rate or salary

Arrange to meet potential clients

Instead of just asking potential clients if they have a job or contract for you, why not ask if you can arrange to meet them for lunch, or even just a drink, or even in just a room at their office, to discuss possible future opportunities.

Most people who want future business from customers do this. This includes agents. However, it appears to be a virtually unknown ‘trick of the trade‘ to people who work in IT. You can then find out from them when they are likely to have work in the future, e.g. when new projects are likely to start

Ask around About Contract Job Prospects

If someone tells you that they don‘t have an opportunity at the moment, ask them if there is someone else at the company who is likely to have an opportunity for someone with your skills soon

Collect References

Collect as many references as you can from all the sites you have been at. Quote the best bits in your CV or brochure, e.g. ‘Jim was one of the most productive workers we ever had’ or ‘Jenny‘s work was always of the highest quality’. Most other people selling something do this. They do it because it is effective

Have people looking for you

You must know lots of people who have the same skills as you, and many of them are currently working at sites where those skills are used. Contact as many of them as you can, and tell them that you‘ll incentivise them to get you into the site where they are working, when an opportunity comes up.

If they can get you in direct, tell them that they can have 10% of whatever rate you get. If you have to go through an agency tell them that you‘ll give them a bonus of 1500 quid to get you in there, as well as whatever they can get from the agency.

Have as many people as possible looking out for you. Create, what marketing people call, channels, and as many of them as possible.

Contract Job Prospects – Techniques Used Elsewhere

So here then we have several techniques that marketing and sales people in other business used and have found that they create more business. There‘s absolutely no reason why people in IT shouldn‘t use them either with the same success.

Increase your contract job prospects in all the ways you can.

Getting any advantage on all those other people out there looking is crucial.

For more great advice on looking for contracts click on Job Hunting.

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For all critical IR35 news and advice for contractors click on IR35 News.

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