How to get your dream job in contracting

Whether it’s to get more freedom and control over work lives, or out of necessity, more and more people are turning to contracting. Being a contractor can be a dream for many people trying to achieve better work life balance and wanting more autonomy over their own career paths.

The good news is that the number of companies happy to work on a contractual basis is rising. Contracting is no longer considered to be a poor relation to permanent employment. The problem with making the move from a permanent, secure role to self-employment is finding enough work to keep you busy and to bring in that essential money.

As a contractor, you could take on one big project, or several smaller ones. It all depends on the type of work that you do, and your client’s requirements. But find work you must and the more pro-active you are the better. See our guide on how to become a contractor.

So where do you find work as a contractor?

1 – Jobs websites

Actually, the best place to start is with the regular job websites. Far from being the preserve of those looking for permanent and temporary employment, many jobs websites give you the option to search by the phrase ‘contractor’ and bring up companies which are purely looking for contractors. If it is web design you’re interested in for example, try this website which lists web design jobs. There will be a job site like this for every industry.

2 – Employment Agencies

It is worth sending an email with your CV attached to local employment agencies, and those which specialise in your profession. Employment agencies deal with all types of employment models, and they can only say no.

3 – Freelance Job Sites

Contracting is also known as freelancing, so look on the internet for freelance job sites. Freelancer, Elance, and People Per Hour are great places to start. It’s tough to get your first job on these types of sites, but once you get one job under your belt with a good rating from the buyer, you’ll start to see the work come in.

4 – Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a solid way of finding work, so make sure anyone who you work with knows what you can do and that you’re available for more. Get some business cards printed, and set-up a website – there are lots of free website packages available – so people can find and contact you. Get yourself on LinkedIn, find your old work colleagues, and let them know you’re now self-employed. Join a suitable LinkedIn community – there’s bound to be one for contractors in your industry niche.

5 – Cold calling

Touting for work directly may not appeal to you but it is necessary that you can put yourself out there. Make a list of local companies who may be interested in what you do and make contact. There are not many companies these days without a website, and a quick internet search will turn up some potential leads, and help you find the best way to contact them. Keep an eye on industry developments. If you see a company win a new project, or something that might suggest they need help in the short-term, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Consider revising your CV. To attract contract work, your CV may not be best laid out in a traditional format – a skills-based CV may better suit your needs. Make sure it’s always up to date and it’s a simple case of emailing it around to prospective clients as and when requested.

James Leckie from contractor advice site, ITCA said that contractors should target all available avenues when looking for new contract opportunities: “Contracting is a competitive industry, so leave no stone unturned in your quest for new roles. As well as the traditional routes – agencies, and job boards, make sure you joined LinkedIn, and keep in touch with old colleagues. You’d be surprised at how many contract vacancies are filled via networking, and never even make it to recruiters.”

There are many ways to make a successful career out of being a contractor. Don’t be disheartened if you get off to a slow start. Keep going, and once the work starts coming in, you’ll never look back.

“I’ll most certainly pass on your details to people I know. You run a great service there, keep up the good work.”

William Cadden, Self-Employed Contractor

“For me, Futurelink Group was the best solution, as a foreign and a lack of knowledge of the UK rules, they were extremely helpful in all aspects. Always fast in answering all my questions. I almost didn’t do anything and they put me on track to invoice and receive my payments. I can fully recommend them.”

Ronaldo, Umbrella PAYE contractor

“WS Contractors Ltd are extremely happy with the services that Futurelink provide. The efficient and friendly staff are always willing to help and assist. The feedback from our operatives is positive and pleasing. We would recommend Futurelink to all new recruits joining our team.”

Michelle Hughes, WS Contractors Ltd

“We at Gemini would like to thank you and your team for all your help and support in connection to payroll solutions. We find Futurelink Groups approach to be responsive to action when required with a courteous and bright manner – keep up the good work!”

Frank Mcfarlane, Gemini Security Services Ltd

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