Working self-employed as a contractor, you are working for yourself and responsible for winning new contracts, as well as ensuring current contracts are completed professionally and met with a high level of satisfaction from your contract employer.
With each contract you work on, you are building up valuable experience on your CV, creating new links within your professional network, and enhancing your reputation as a contractor. All important matters to be aware of when looking ahead at where your next contract is coming. As a contractor, you are marketing yourself to others as a product for hire. How you carry out your duties in a contract role can be key to determining your future job prospects. Here are some key things to consider when working on your next contract, with a view to winning new business in the future.
In any form of employment, timekeeping is one of the staple requirements of good work etiquette. Good timekeeping demonstrates reliability and prospective employers will have greater confidence in someone who can arrive on time and manage their time effectively to someone who shows disregard for rules. Some employers see it not just a sign of professionalism but also a great sign of respect. Working for a company, whether it be full time or as a contractor; their house rules need to be respected and an employee demonstrating that level of respect will do themselves no disservice to potential employers in the near future.
Working within any organisation as a contractor, you need to think about the future as well as the present job in hand. For any contract you take on, you should always be thinking about networking and promoting your services whilst on the job.
Networking can be simple and by delivering a great service you’ve already won half the battle. However, it’s all well and good bonding with your current employer over a drink at lunchtime and have them remember a conversation you had about future opportunities a few months later. You need to ensure you’ve planted that seed about yourself to an employer and given them something to make them remember you by. In most cases this can be something as simple and effective as a business card. With this, ensure all communication methods on them are simple, clean and professional. You don’t want to be sending lengthy website addresses and personal e-mail addresses that show the “other you” away from work. They need to promote the professional you and advocate you as a brand and service. Contact numbers are also worth considering, ensure you’ve got your own personal business number so you can differentiate your personal and professional life effectively.
Be Social Media Wary
Working as a contractor and promoting your services is about brand management. With social media such a widely used platform, it offers an alternative window into people’s lives that speaks more about them as a person than any CV might do.
This can be potentially dangerous for anyone trying to find out more about you as a person. Social Media is of course supposed to be what it says it is, social – but just be cautious of what is on these platforms. If there’s anything on social you think might give the wrong impression about you, either; remove it or simply don’t let it get up there, or ensure you have the necessary structures in place to avoid it being discovered (social media pseudonym or private security measures).
Case Study and Testimonial
The importance of networking within a place of work isn’t just limited to leaving a business card or an employer keeping you in mind for a future contract. Like any business or organisation, a prospective client needs to have faith that the people they’re hiring to carry out a job for them have the experience and capability to do the job in hand effectively. Any evidence they see of that work being carried out with other respected clients will hold that organisation or person in a good light and could be the deciding factor in winning a piece of new business or not.
When working in any contract, it’s important to record all your progress on any projects or assignments you are working on. Documenting some form of case study will be key to showcasing what role you played in a project and how pivotal your contribution was.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask any senior officials you are working with on a contract for some form of testimonial statement that you can present on an online platform. Their gleaming reference of you will of course help when prospective clients are finding out more about you.
All this testimony and case study material will help you promote your services as a contractor and demonstrate your ability to get the job done.
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