March 31, 2015

True or False: Uploading your resume onto job boards is the only way to find new contracts? False – okay, that was an easy one! While that is definitely one way to put your experience out there and gain some attention, there is much more that you can do to be noticed in the IT market.

While the market is currently leaning in the favor of IT consultants and practitioners, there is also steep competition out there and you may need more than a good resume to get you hired. Here are a few things to consider that may help you with finding your next contract.

Foster Relationships

As a consultant in this rapidly growing industry, how can you manage to stay on top? Well, by developing and maintaining positive, professional relationships with colleagues and clients. Having a network of people who trust you and can vouch for your skills or your character is an invaluable tool for your job search strategy. Relationships can lead to referrals which can, in turn, lead to new job opportunities.

According to an Inc article, “Technology in 2011 almost all seems to revolve around networking and relationships. By tapping into your existing relationships and networks, you’re able to keep tabs not only on what everyone is doing professionally and personally, but also to see what opportunities might be out there where your background and skills could fit.” And, while this may be an article from 2011, it is just as true today as it was back then.

Maintain Old Skills and Develop New Ones

Take a deeper look at your skill set and experience, do they need any polishing up? Why would someone want to hire you in such a competitive market? As an IT consultant, staying relevant requires continuous professional development. According to an article from Entrepreneur, “…more than half of companies report having unfilled positions due to a lack of qualified candidates, according to a March 2014 CareerBuilder study. Tech and computer jobs are especially hard to fill, with 71 percent of companies with unfilled positions seeking qualified workers in technology or math.”

If many companies are finding that there simply aren’t enough qualified IT contractors out there, use this as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the rest and develop top paying tech skills. Determine where the talent shortage lies and see if that is a skill set you have or that you can obtain.

Determine Your Goals and Work toward Them

What is your goal? Is it to find a new contract? Is it to find a specific role or to work with a specific company? Is to have a more flexible work schedule or to find a more permanent position? Whatever it may be, it is important to take stock of what resources you have and then utilize them all appropriately to help you reach your goal.

Reach out to your network connections; are their companies hiring? Connect with a staffing or consulting company who can help market you to their clients. Craft your elevator pitch that references the top skills you feel will attract potential employers and then attend job fairs to get yourself out there. Or, become involved in professional development and networking groups – great places to make connections! Also, try to maintain on online presence by tidying up your LinkedIn profile or writing professional blogs that share your expertise.

No matter your goals, it is important to clearly define them which will ultimately make it easier to build your plan and personal marketing efforts around them.

How do you manage to maintain an active flow of contracts? Don’t forget to check out our latest IT contract positions!

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