15 top tips to turbo-charge your contractor business out of covid fatigue
As contractors increasingly get back to the grindstone and brush off covid-19 fatigue, it is crucial to develop a robust marketing strategy --assuming you want to get ahead of the increasingly stiff competition in the contract market, writes personal branding and winning-work expert Matt Craven, founder of The CV & Interview Advisors.
In a time of 'no-nonsense' triggered by us all refreshing from coronavirus impacts, here are my top 15 tips for IT contracting success -- vital to succeeding in the post-pandemic world.
- Make sure you tailor your CV for each and every opportunity you apply for – a generic CV is a failing CV.
- Ensure your CV focuses on outcomes as much as it does tasks – a great CV proves you are good at what you do by providing evidence of business benefits.
- Always send your CV in the latest version of Microsoft Word rather than a PDF – recruiters need to remove contact details, and PDFs don’t perform very well when being analysed by recruitment software.
- Optimise your CV for recruitment software by making sure it is keyword-rich; has obvious headings and job titles, and has a postcode for geographic searches.
- To show you are outside IR35, always list a proper business email address on your CV opposed to a personal ‘Hotmail’ or ‘Gmail’ address – proper businesses have proper business email addresses.
- Do not solely rely on recruitment agencies, build a network of contacts / decision-makers on LinkedIn, and use networking and business development to secure contract work.
- Add previous clients to your LinkedIn network and keep in contact with them with a view to securing repeat business. In any other business, repeat business is the key to success – are you applying this logic?
- Request recommendations from existing / previous clients -- you are 3-times more likely to be contacted about a contract role if you have solid social proof on your LinkedIn profile.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is as well-written as your CV and focuses on selling your services to potential clients – most recruiters use LinkedIn to source contractors, so your ‘shop window’ must be attractive.
- Never put your limited company as your first position on your CV (unless you have an IR35-friendly case study-style CV), but do add it as your first position on LinkedIn – this optimises your CV for recruitment software while LinkedIn gives the right message to HMRC.
- Use the 220-character headline on LinkedIn to tell a prospective client how you can help them – this is called a ‘value proposition’ and is designed to make it clear what you do and how that will benefit your target audience.
- Treat recruiters as an extension of your client’s business rather than adversaries – they are nothing more and nothing less than a channel to market.
- Experienced contractors looking at winning work between now and after April 2021 (post-private sector IR35 reform) – consider a case study-style CV to portray yourself as a true business rather than a ‘job-seeker’ to give your clients the confidence that you are outside IR35. Do the same if you’re a contractor going forward for public sector contracts (where the foundational framework for the 2021 reforms are already in force and have been since April 2017)
- When shortlisted for a role, send a ‘supporting statement’ to the recruiter that explains how you meet all requirements on the job description / contract brief – this will help the recruiter to 'sell' you to the client.
- A 12-month contract at £500 per day is a £120k investment from the client – treat an interview exactly like a salesperson would treat a sales call to pitch for a £120k contract!
To delve into some of these points in more detail, we’ll be running a ‘winning-work’ webinar tomorrow -- August 25th at 7.15pm, exclusively for ContractorUK readers, on how to write a CV that will turbo-charge your contractor business in a still recovering yet highly competitive market: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1859414208971897104