December 03, 2013

Whether you’re new to the contractor lifestyle or you’re a seasoned IT consultant, here are 5 best practices for IT contract workers.

1. Training – An employees skill set will become outdated over time in any industry, but in the IT industry it happens much more quickly. IT professionals need to stay up-to-date with their training in orderto remain relevant in the industry. The problem: as a contractor you usually don’t get the perks of on-the-job or free training. Although some clients are willing to pay for a contract worker’s training, you’re usually on your own. You should engage in the extra training while you’re in-between contracts; though if you need the training while currently working you can find weekend training seminars.

2. Networking – Your IT contract career can greatly benefit from professional networking. You should keep a running list of professional contacts and stay in touch with them every few months. Make sure you have their updated contact information and that they have yours. Just because they don’t have a project for you now, doesn’t mean they won’t have a need for your skills in the future. They may also know of someone else looking for an IT contractor with your skill set. It is particularly important to stay in touch with past clients; having a reference recommend you is more valuable because it is coming from a tried and proven perspective.

3. Marketing – As As a contractor you not only need a personal brand, but you also need to know how to sell it. Many IT contractors find that taking a course in sales can be a great way to understand the fundamentals of selling your brand to potential clients. For starters, don’t focus on yourself. Focus on the need of the client and how you can fulfill that need using your skill set. You should create a resume for each potential contract; tailoring it to the specific aspects of the project and the position’s responsibilities. (How to Write Your Best Resume Yet: 8 Solid Tips For Success)

4. Funding – You will not always be on an active contract, therefore you do not always have a consistent income. It’s the nature of contract work. You should prepare for this in-between time by putting money away in a special fund that is meant to be your “paycheck” when you’re not on an active contract.

5. Searching – Unlike permanent employees, you know exactly when your contract will end; and you shouldn’t wait for your active contract to end before you start looking for another one. As long as you’re able to conduct your job search while producing satisfactory results on your current project there’s no need to feel bad about searching.

What are your best practices? Share them below!

Posted By: Sarah Brown

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