6. How to find IT contract work - networking and offline searching
There are reasons you may want to source IT contracts direct without using recruitment agencies. Perhaps you believe you'll secure a higher rate if you cut out the 'middleman' or perhaps you think there is no harm in broadening your chances by marketing your services yourself, as well as using agencies. Below are some tips on additional ways to find IT contract work.
It is important to be vocal about what you do and the work you're looking for at every opportunity.
You can start by notifying family and friends, friends of family, families of friends and extended family as well as past or even present colleagues if your contract is coming to an end plus actively encourage any referrals to other people they think might be helpful. (Or, if it's not appropriate to ask directly about openings, ask for information and advice as an indirect route in to that conversation.)
You can also search for networking contacts at company, industry and association web sites. Recent research stated that a mere 13 per cent of job seekers did this, yet of those who went on to contact an individual online, no fewer than 83 per cent reported the contact had provided advice that helped with a job search. Added to that are professional networking sites such as Linked In.
If you keep a record of potential clients, ex clients, old colleagues and other contacts from the industry make sure that you keep them up to date with your contact details and make a point of keeping in touch once in while – these people will know your value better than anyone else. If they don't have an immediate need for their services, they may well know other people that do. By referring your services on to their contacts you come 'tried and tested' which puts you in a strong position. You can actively encourage such referrals by being upfront about wanting to be recommended to their contacts, but don't forget to thank them and, where possible, offer something in return if their address book gives you a foot in the door somewhere.
Data Protection Act
If you use a computer to store information about any living individuals then you may be required to register under the Data Protection Act. Non-registration is a criminal offence for which fines plus costs may be imposed in the Magistrates Courts. Further details can be obtained from the Data Protection Registrar.
If you undertake email marketing campaigns you also need to adhere to rules which came into force in 2003 and form part of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The rules apply to marketing messages sent by email and state that the sender must not conceal their identity and all emails must offer a valid 'opt-out' address.
The second rule concerns spam, or unsolicited email, and states that the sender must have the recipient's prior consent before sending email marketing messages.
There are exemptions to this rule such as if the recipient's address has already been collected though other negotiations for instance. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are enforced by The Information Commissioner.
Changes to the Companies Act 2006 mean you must include your Company Name, Registered Address, Company Registration Number and Place of Registration in all your corporate emails.
To be read in conjuction with: How to find IT contract work - online searching