Top tips to finding work as a contractor

 Unless you are a sales and marketing contractor, finding work can be a particularly daunting task and more often than not people will procrastinate and put off finding work for as long as possible.

We have put together a few useful hints and tips to help you get started in your search for work.

Be wary of IR35 when looking for work

During your search for work, you constantly need to be aware of IR35, if you have started a limited company, you’ll want to ensure that your contracts fall outside the legislation so that you can continue to benefit from the tax planning opportunities that come along with it.

If you aren’t familiar with IR35, read our comprehensive guide on what is IR35?

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies will be your primary source for work. Just as with when you were a permanent employee, recruitment agencies will have listed most of the contract roles available. A quick Google search will provide you with literally thousands of results.

If you are contracting in a specialist industry, for example oil and gas, it is always worth looking for dedicated oil and gas recruitment companies to be able to find the most useful roles.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a fantastic yet greatly underutilised job search tool for contractors. The professional social network as it has become known as today has many interesting features that expand far beyond the typical job search function.

We have outlined a few ways that you can use LinkedIn in your search for that next contract role:

Make use of your existing connections

Once you have created a profile, make sure that you add your colleagues from previous roles and any other business connections that you have. As you go through your list of LinkedIn connections you might just see someone who is working at a company that you know you can help. If that’s the case, send them an email to make them aware of your services and see if they know of any contractor vacancies.

Search for mutual connections

If your current connections do not know of any jobs that you may be interested, chances are that they know someone who does.

A great feature of LinkedIn is the ability to search for employees at specific companies. Compile a list of companies that you would like to work with and search for their employees on LinkedIn, if you have any mutual connections with an appropriate person you can ask to be introduced and once you do this you’ll be able to speak with the individual directly.

Post an update

Just like with Facebook, you can post a status update on LinkedIn. There is no harm in posting an update to make your connections aware of your job search. If you have a website, you could direct people to that via your update.

Contact companies directly

Some companies don’t advertise vacancies with recruitment companies and instead opt to promote them via a dedicated careers section on their website.

You could develop a short sales email (tweaking it slightly for different companies) with a copy of your CV to send to HR managers. This will make them aware of your services and even if they don’t have any roles at the moment, they’ll keep your CV on their records if they think you’ll be a good fit in the future.

Develop a website

Everyone uses the Internet today, so it is well worth investing in a website so that prospective clients can search for you online. Websites don’t need to cost a fortune and you can easily find an affordable agency or freelancer who will be able to make you something that appropriately represents who you are and what you do.

What to include on your website:

  • A downloadable copy of your CV
  • An area to promote your skills and experience
  • Testimonials
  • Portfolio
  • Contact details

And of course anything else that you think is relevant.

Search Engine Optimisation

In order to make your website appear in search engines, you’ll need to start thinking about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO is essentially a set of techniques that you can implement to increase your rankings within search engines. There is no quick fix and it is always worth speaking to an expert, but here are a few useful tips:

  • Keywords – You need to think about they keywords that people will type into Google to find your website. Once you have a list, you’ll need to include them in page headings and within the body content of the page. Don’t go overboard and repeat a keyword hundreds of times as Google could see this as an unnatural attempt to influence their ranking factors.
  • Links - Google uses links to determine the popularity of website and therefore where it should rank for specific keyword searches. Consequently, you’ll need to start thinking about sites that you can contact who may be willing to add a link to your site. Just remember to only contact sites that are relevant to your services.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like to find out more about our fixed-fee accountancy package for just £55 per month, call our friendly experts on 020 7481 4743.

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