What advice would you give a contractor out of work for 3.5 years?

Contractor Out of Work
Contractor Out of Work

Contractor Out of Work

One of our regular readers and commentators, with pretty good skills, is a contractor out of work for 3.5 years. What advice would you give him?

Long Time Out of Work

One of our readers, a well known commentator on the IT contractor circuit, hasn‘t been able to find a job in 3.5 years.

He has been coming close recently. He has been getting calls. However, whenever he mentions that he has been out of work for the past 3.5 years, it all goes dead. They lose interest.

Contractor Out of Work Skills

His skills are as follows:-

– C (23 years)/Unix/Assembler/Systems programming/Devices/Banking Applications

He also asks why a well known agency, who say they are short of ‘Unix Solaris and AIX’ skills, haven‘t been in touch. So I presume he has those.

It does seem, to me at least, that with those skills he is still employable.

Advice to Contractor Out of Work

Here would be my advice.

I think your problem is with the three and a half years you have had out rather than your skills. They still seem to be marketable.

As you said, you have been getting calls. However, they have lost interest when they have heard about those 3.5 years.

You either have to solve that problem, or wait a little longer till the squeeze on contractors becomes even tighter.

Lower Rate

I presume that you have thought about most things (and had plenty of time to do it) but have you considered going in at a lower rate for the first few months?

If the client was to get a lower rate, and the agent was to get a larger margin (because of the extra risk factor), it might make both more keen to employ you.

Skills Refresher Course

It might also be an idea to do some kind of refresher course on your skills (if your money hasn’t run out). That’s so that you can tell agencies that you have done this. Do this at the same time as telling them that you haven’t worked for 3.5 years.

I think when contractors are out of work for 3.5 years, all sorts of questions rear up in the minds of agencies and clients. They may need to be allayed somehow.

Understanding why they won’t touch you with 3.5 years out would be the first step to solving the problem of setting their fears to rest.

Increased Profit Margins for Agency

Also, increasing their profit margins considerably might make them try a lot harder.

If they are putting half a dozen people into a big bank, say, and one of them is both cheaper to the client and a lot more profitable to the agency, then they might take a bit of a flyer here.

Agencies and contractors alike, what advice would you give this contractor out of work on how to overcome his 3.5 years out of the market?

What would make the difference to him in getting back off the bench?

Recruiters, what is it puts you off someone who has 3.5 years out. How can they overcome this?

Se also 10 Tips for Out of Work Contractors.

For further advice on job hunting see Job Hunting.

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