In any line of work, those who wish to progress and succeed in their career need to be constantly looking forward and challenging themselves. A career is extremely important and success in your own career can keep you motivated and feeling positive in other aspects of your life.
Although most contractors’ work patterns and day-to-day working lives differ from those who work full-time, they still must treat their work as a career. Though they will jump from contract to contract within the short space of a few months, they need to be constantly assessing their next contract and how it will impact their long-term career as a contractor.
Here are some key things to consider when looking for your next contract.
One of the most important things to think about before you take on a contract. Aside from the obvious reason that you need money to live, your rate of pay in any work scenario is reflective of your influence, skill-set and career progression.
If you’re unsure what rate you should be charging as a contractor, feel free to get advice from fellow peers who are at about the same level of experience as you and see what the average rate is for your level and see if the contracts you are interested in are in-line with that.
Be sure to sell yourself and be confident as a contractor, but it’s equally important not to oversell or undersell yourself. Recruiters and employers in contracting will recognise talent and will reward them financially for the work they do, but remember, contracting is something that requires patience and diplomacy.
Going back briefly on pay, you may find that you take on contracts that are slighlty under your day rate expectancy. This is of course fine as recruiters and hiring managers’ budgets may only be able to stretch to a certain point, and no doubt you’ll have done the maths to see that you can get by financially to take on this wage. However, in instances like this, it’s important to also consider how long you’ll be contracted to a role. If it’s a contract that pays slightly less than your normal rate, it’s best not to committ to this contract for a lengthy amount of time as you may see other opportunities pass you by, ones which might even be more rewarding financially. Equally a contract that pays well may have you committed to the role for a long time and although this sounds great financially, will being at the role for a long time help you take that next big step in your career?
Step forward? Step back?
Leading on from that point, in any contract you are about to take on, it’s always important to question the role itself. What will you be doing? Who are the people you’ll be working with? Will you be challenged? Will this improve your CV? What will you learn? These are all questions that are important to ask yourself as you need to know whether you’ll be happy in this position and if it’s a right fit for you, not just financialy but development wise. Remember you are your own boss and it’s up to you to test yourself and carry yourself forward in your career. In order to assess a potential contract, it’s worth composing a list of what you’re looking to get out of any contract and see how many boxes are ticked when reviewing potential projects.
Important in any contract. A work place’s location can play a big role in a contractor’s decision to take on a contract or not. Ideally you’ll want your commute time to be no more than an hour and also stress free. There’s nothing worse than starting your day with the commute from hell with you facing delays and not getting in to work late.
There are of course commutes that people take that are longer than your traditional hour. These can be fine but it’s worth seeing whether the financial package makes it worthwhile for your travels and to see what the journey involves. Some commuters find a lengthy train ride on just the one direct train therapeutic as it gives them extra time to get important tasks cleared for the day or gives them some down time to relax with a book or their tablet devices.
Whatever your location, just ensure it works for you and it is somewhere that you look forward to going to.
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