5 creative approaches to find contract work

With many clients sticking to preferred suppliers and a continually growing competitive market, securing contracts and engaging new clients can feel like an impossible task as a contractor. You may not realise that there are a host of opportunities right in front of you; they just require a more creative approach to access them and find contract work.

Throughout our ‘Thriving in Brexit’ series we have discussed some of the key ways of sourcing new contracts and clients. We’ve examined the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your agent, the power of referrals as well as ways to utilise networking, LinkedIn and job boards. Here we take a look at some alternative (and we think more interesting) ways you can track down that next contract.

1. Talk shop

While it can often seem like poor manners to continually discuss work, ‘talking shop’ may be a great way to make new connections and find your next contract. Let your friends and family know you’re on the lookout for new clients and your availability, go ahead and post it on your social media. You never know what old school friend may know someone in a company looking for your specific skill set.

This word of mouth style contract hunting can be particularly effective for certain business sectors such as IT and construction contractors, where there will almost certainly be someone in your peripheral social circle who needs your abilities.

Top tip: networking shouldn’t be reserved for business hours only, a new contact made at a wedding or in your local pub could lead to the next big contract. Always keep your eyes open for a networking opportunity.

2. Target companies directly

If you have companies in mind that you would like to work with, why not target them directly? You can always check out a company’s website and their history to understand what the company does, it’s culture and where your skills might benefit them. Some companies may advertise contracts directly on their website, if not you can always get in touch, request more information and build contacts.

Top tip: tailoring your CV to each potential client will help to demonstrate that you understand what they do and can deliver to their requirements.

3. Build an online portfolio

With the growth of the internet it’s easier than ever to have prospective clients come to you. A professionally presented website that clearly showcases your work can entice clients to get in contact. Having a website that you can include the link to wherever possible, from your business cards and email signature to your social media posts, can be a great way to get more and more people (and potentially future clients) seeing your work.

For contractors in less visually focused sectors an online resume on your own personalised website, LinkedIn or any of the number of specific contracting job boards could attract new business.

Top tip: Google adverts are a cheap and easy way to get you noticed in search results.

4. Use social media

More and more businesses are turning to social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, for a more communication focused form of recruitment. Social media can be a very effective place to find new contracts. Searching Twitter through the use of specific hash tags relating to your sector will likely show businesses that are currently recruiting. Social media can also be a great place to advertise your availability, clearly letting anyone seeing your page know your skills and that you are looking for new work.

Top tips: there are thousands of ways to use social media to connect with new people and make your online presence more visible to potential clients.

5. Be a visible expert

As a contractor you are likely to have a wealth of specialist knowledge in your chosen field. One of the best ways to creatively gain contracts is to demonstrate this. Actively get involved in forums and blogs where you can post comments and start conversations, regularly post on your social media pages about your opinions on current trends in your sector, make YouTube videos, write articles and guest blog about areas you know well. Increasing your online presence in this way will almost certainly introduce you to new contacts that could lead to your next contract.

Top tips: companies will often undertake a quick google search of potential contractors. Increasing your online presence and demonstrating that you are an expert in your field will help to support any contract bids you make in the future.