Thriving in the Contract Market

In today's contract market, finding a new gig can be a challenging endeavour. However, with the right strategies and mindset, you can not only survive but thrive - here are couple of my top tips to help you navigate the current landscape:

Networking is Key: Leverage your professional network both online and offline. Attend industry events, join relevant LinkedIn groups, speak to old bosses, and people you worked well with in the past. You never know when a connection might lead to your next contract – My last 3 jobs have come through people I worked with in the past or recommendations so this 100% works.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: Ensure your LinkedIn profile clearly presents your skills and experience. Use a professional photo, craft a compelling headline and provide detailed information about your achievements. AND YES, USING THE GREEN OPEN TO WORK BANNER IS COMPLETELY FINE.

Diversify Your Platforms: While LinkedIn is a powerful tool, it’s not uncommon to have 200+ applicants to a LinkedIn Ad, so don't limit yourself to just one platform. Explore job boards, industry-specific forums, company career pages. Cast a wider net to increase your chances of finding relevant hidden gem opportunities.

Take time to speak with recruiters (Even when you’re not looking): Before I advertise any roles, I will always speak with the contractors that I speak with regularly - this is common practise for all agencies. A 5 min call a month with a handful of reliable, (Yes, we do exist!!) specialist recruiters could make all the difference next time you’re on the market.

Showcase Your Achievements: When reaching out to potential employers or recruiters, highlight specific achievements in your previous roles. A career highlights/achievement section at the top of your CV works wonders to make you stand out amongst the rest especially if it’s relevant to something you’re applying for.

Be Adaptable: This one will likely get me in trouble with a few of you, but in an ideal world all contracts would be outside IR35, fully remote with a banging day rate. However, I’m still seeing a lot of clients with little faith in the economy and overly risk averse so lower day rates/inside IR35 are on the rise. Taking a 6/12 month inside, hybrid gig may not be the preferred choice but it will keep you in work while the market recovers… so it might not be a bad idea.

Patience and Persistence: the contract market is s**t, there is no escaping that, but it won’t last forever. Try to stay positive, learn from each experience, and keep refining your approach.

Take a break: This might be the most important. Spending 8 hours a day applying for roles, reading negative stories in the news and on social media isn’t good for anyone. Take some time for you, go see family, grab a pint with that pal you’ve been meaning to meet or sit on the sofa and have a film marathon. Finding a contract or perm role is a marathon not a sprint, take some time out for yourself and keep it at it. The market is getting better, but you also need to be ready to pounce on that next opportunity.

Remember, every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Embrace the journey, stay proactive, and keep honing your skills. Your next gig may be just around the corner!

If any of my connections want to discuss the market or need any advice, drop me a line I’m more than happy to help! 

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