2015 has so far proved to be the year of the contractor. The economy and the market have delivered the perfect conditions for freelance professionals and the savvy ones are making hay. Organisations are opting for a more flexible workforce providing niche skills, with the ability to parachute in to projects as and when their abilities are needed.
For many contractors, marketing one’s abilities might not come easy to you and with the market starting to heat up, the best way to ensure your keep yourself busy and the cash flowing is stay be ahead of the competition through some simple and effective self-promotion.
- What’s your USP?
What’s a USP? Your unique selling point (USP) is the one thing that you can bring to a project that no one else can. Is it your industry experience? Perhaps it’s your specific technical knowledge or your familiarity with accounting rules. Whatever your individual marketable quality is, make the most of it and make it stand out on your CV and professional social profiles.
2. Don’t hide you
It can be all too easy to forget that people don’t just look for skills, they want a little personality from their contractors and freelancers too. Contractors can be onsite with a client site for months or even years, so it’s vital that they gel not only technically, but professionally and socially too. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine though on your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and inject a little character into your CV, but try not to be too informal!
3. Ask about you
Have you ever taken the time to discover what your associates think of you? It is amazing to discover the differences in perception an individual can hold about themselves compared with the perceptions of others – ask what your strengths and weakness are from those in your current team and then either highlight them or work on them. You may discover you have talents you weren’t aware of.
4. Know your market
No product can be marketed without knowing the market that’s being aimed for – this applies to you too. Know your market. Understand what companies are looking for, what the latest technology trends are in your field, what you should be charging for a daily/hourly rate etc. Understanding your market enables you to pitch yourself at the right financial level for your experience and provides you with an insight to the general contractor movements in your field.
5. Present your best face
You know what your USP is, you’ve prepared yourself to be more visible, you’ve asked about the person you are, and you’ve researched your market – now you need to present yourself to the world. We’ll keep is simple – you need two vital things:
a) An excellent CV – there’s lots of advice online about how to make a CV stand out above there rest – don’t listen to them! The person who knows what a client wants is the recruiter – ask for advice on how to make your CV the most appealing it can be for each specific contract and tailor it accordingly.
b) A stellar LinkedIn profile – once you’ve submitted your CV for a contract role the first thing that either the recruiter or hiring manage will do is go to your LinkedIn profile (your LinkedIn is more important than most people imaginer). They are looking for a complete profile with lots of interesting information that backs up your CV. You should have a recent, clear and professional picture of yourself and a comprehensive profile with recommendations included (if you don’t have any already). LinkedIn provide a great guide on completing your profile here.