You may use an agency to find your next contract, but if you’re going it alone, we have put together a few tips to help you find a contract you love. In order to be a successful independent contractor, you have to understand your clients. You need to understand their business strategy and aspirations. Once you grasp this, you can align your skills to meet the requirements of the role. Make sure you brush up on good communication and negotiation skills to capture the hearts of clients.
Below we’ve outlined our tips on getting noticed as an independent contractor and making your new clients fall in love with you this Valentine’s Day!
Flaunt your Skills and Unique Selling Points
You should spend time identifying your strengths. What are your strongest skills? Much like in dating, a unique selling point is always beneficial. What can you bring to a client that nobody else could? Are your unique selling points compatible with their needs?
If you have a unique skill or knowledge-base, you could market yourself as an ‘expert’. Show off your knowledge and how it could be invaluable to a potential client. If you have an online presence such as your own website or a LinkedIn account, you can post blogs or articles on your specialist subject.
You can also maximise your exposure by joining online industry forums and engaging in discussions on your specialist subject. Remember to be consistent with your messages across all platforms for maximum impact.
Understand the Market
To highlight your unique selling points to clients you need to be able to fully understand the market. You could do this by:
- Researching your industry to ensure a full understanding of the business environment
- Understanding your audience and potential clients
- Finding out some of your industry’s most desired skills
- Knowing the client’s needs
- Analysing the competition
- Monitoring key developments and trends in your sector
Remember, staying in the loop is key. The marketplace is forever changing, so being aware of your competition will help you to differentiate yourself. You can do this by keeping in touch with colleagues and old clients, as well as monitoring social media and subscribing to the ContractingWISE newsletter, WiseNews.
Utilise your Online Profile
These days, half of Brits organise their dating lives online and it’s a similar story with finding work. As most potential clients will research candidates on the internet, you must make sure you have some sort of online presence. As an independent contractor the web is one of the most convenient and practical ways to market yourself. There are so many benefits to having accounts on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus. Some contractors also benefit from having their own websites and can increase their exposure by adopting Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. As with uploading a dating profile to a dating website, various job sites will allow you to upload your CV. Remember, your online presence is your portfolio – use this opportunity to highlight how your skills fit with your potential clients’ needs.
Match-make your CV to your Client’s Requirements
Your CV will probably be the first thing a potential client sees, so it’s important to make a good first impression. Use your CV to stand out from the crowd and highlight your unique selling points. As well as listing your previous roles, you should tailor your CV to each job you apply for. Identify the key skills required of each job and make sure you highlight these.
To get your message right as an independent contractor, you need to have the client at the heart of your pitch. As well as being an industry-expert, you need to be able to market, sell and communicate yourself effectively to win new business. Getting across who you are is vital to the development of your contracting career. Having a deep understanding of your clients’ needs will help you in leaps and bounds. Align your messages with their requirements and market yourself wisely online. Do all this and you’ll be stealing hearts everywhere!