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Contracting: How To Get Off To A Good Start

When it comes to getting started on a career path, there’s an awful lot to be said for considering a contracting vocation. Contracting offers a broader and more interesting portfolio of work than most other entry-level jobs, as well as much better hourly earnings, job flexibility and work/life balance, so if you’ve never considered it as a viable option then you’d be well advised to do so.

Of course, plenty of people are relatively unsure about all of the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ that relate to a contracting or freelancing career, so they find that they have a lot to learn about their new direction. With that in mind, here are a few tips for you to bear in mind to maximise your success in a new contracting career.

Keep Your Skill Set Up to Date

This is possibly the most important thing for anybody working within contracting roles to do. Any long-term contractor will naturally have acquired a broad base of skills and areas of expertise as they have moved between job opportunities, and for a budding contractor to compete with such individuals their skill sets must be as well-rounded as possible.

Because of this, take every opportunity to add to your CV by undergoing training and development courses. You need to impress your potential employers, and you certainly can’t risk embellishing your CV by taking liberties with your capabilities, so don’t neglect your chances to add some strings to your bow.

Work Hard to Find Work

We’ve already spoken about how contractor skill-sets are among the most important factors when it comes to securing positions, but another invaluable skill is the ability to find your contracts in the first place. An unequalled skill set won’t help you if you’re not up to the mark at finding your positions.

  • First, you should send your CV to any and all agencies that you can. You can find a list of such agencies on Jobserve and many similar websites.
  • This CV should be targeted towards the positions or line of work that you are aiming to enter. You can even get help from professional CV writing services like Bradley CVs – a company who has collaborated with contractor-based organisations before, and so know the industry well – if you need to.
  • Search job sites for suitable roles and send off email applications for suitable positions.
  • Call and chase up any applications that you have made within approximately 24 hours.
  • Contracting roles fill up quickly, so prioritise the newest vacancies at all times.

Utilise the Available Help

As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of advantages to tempt people into contracting, but there are also many burdens that come from essentially being self-employed. Whilst many contractors do manage to keep up with these demands, it can be a little daunting to be expected to do so if you’re new to such work, so don’t be afraid to recruit help from specialist contractor services like ICS if you need to. Getting a hand with things like accountancy and administration is actually very smart, as not only can you rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll be in full compliance, but you can also devote more of your time to making sure that you excel at your ‘real’ job, which is only a good thing.

Identify Your Best Payment Structure

Most contractors find themselves either adhering to a limited company payment structure or  join an  umbrella company. Both have their good points, and both are suited to those who are looking for different things, so you’d do well to weigh up the pros and cons of each to determine which is the best for you.

There’s a lot to say on this subject, so have a look at this excellent article on Contractor UK to find out some more details. They also have a substantial selection of articles designed to assist first-time contractors in a more widespread sense, so don’t be afraid to make use of these resources. Contracting opportunities are currently very good, but the competition for such roles is still very fierce. With that in mind, make yourself as attractive as you possibly can do to stand out from the competition. It may take a little work, but you certainly won’t regret it.

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