What does it take to become a successful contractor?
- To become a successful contract professional it is essential you start by understanding yourself as the product. Understanding what you can offer both in terms of your experience and your transferable skill set can go a long way to securing a continuous string of contracts.
- It goes without saying that to be successful you need to deliver on each and every project. Whilst it may seem like an obvious part of any job, contract or perm, delivering the expected results strengthens the relationships contractors have with their clients and can often lead to future work or strong recommendations and references in the future.
Know your worth
- It is important to determine exactly what your skills and experiences are worth to the client and you should have a solid understanding of the current market rates for the contractors in similar roles.
- Charging too much for your services can often mean you price yourself out of the market as there will be someone out there willing to do the job for less.
- Similarly, don't under sell yourself as the client may call your knowledge and skills into question if you are available for way below the going rate. Remaining flexible and keeping up with market changes will make sure you put yourself out there at the right price.
- Communicating this 'understanding of yourself' through a tailored, contract specific CV is the next step. Successful contractors will know how to create a CV that effectively highlights their strengths quickly and clearly and that their CV matches exactly what the client wants to see.
- You need to be able to adapt quickly and effectively to each contract. Whilst the day-to-day tasks may be the same as previous projects, the work conditions, tools, cultures and overall environment could be hugely different and the best contractors are able to fit in with those around them for the duration of their contract.
- It is no surprise that the contractors who are good at securing their next contract quickly are good networkers. Keeping in touch with your previous clients, employers and colleagues and having a strong network will keep you in the forefront of their minds should an opportunity crop up.
- The contract recruitment process is often much quicker than for permanent roles and the recommendation from a peer can count for lot and those that utilise networking tools such as LinkedIn often receive more contract opportunities.
Deepen your knowledge and skills
- Keeping on top of your skills knowledge and development is best practice for successful contractors and is the only way to stay competitive. If you neglect this area of your career then you and your clients will suffer and you'll potentially be over looked for your next role. Aim to end every contract with a more developed skill-set than when you started.