​By its very nature, IT contracting assignments generally materialise at short notice. In addition to this, clients expect a speedy turnaround from recruitment agencies in responding with suitable candidates – often with Hiring Managers wanting to interview on the very day an assignment has been socialised. This situation creates an environment where proactive candidates have a significant advantage in securing an assignment of their choice if they undertake several key activities

A CV that includes details of All your Recent Assignments

You may be tempted to simply ring up your preferred recruiters and tell them you have finished your current contract and are looking for a new one, but simply telling them is not enough. When you make contact send through a CV that is up to date with your most recent role – if you’re finishing the role in a couple of weeks make a note on the CV stating the end date. Prospective contractors continually surprise us by sending CVs for opportunities that don’t include their most recent role. The time spent by recruiters to get contractor candidates to supply updates, in many cases results in failure to help them secure a suitable available role.

By ensuring your CV is furnished with a detailed list of all your IT contracts and includes dates and summaries of all the activities you were personally accountable for, will help both the recruiter and the client to determine if you are the right fit for a role. For technical roles, clients are becoming more particular about having experience with certain technology stacks so you should always include the technology stack and version that you were working on as this has the potential to elevate you to the top of the list.

Ensure that you have your resumes proofread by someone else and keep a keen eye out for the accuracy of dates!

An Up To Date LinkedIn Profile

We’re now living in a socially mobile world that necessitates the need to keep your virtual profile and presence maintained at all times when contracting, most significantly your LinkedIn profile. It is extremely rare in this day and age if stakeholders do not visit your LinkedIn profile – be they clients or recruiters. As much as content, your profile look and feel is also now a key determinant in the selection process. Ensure that you have a professional photo; spend time proofreading for grammar and spelling, and make sure the dates align with those on your CV. It is also vital that keywords are effectively utilised to increase your chances of appearing on searches.

If you’re a developer it is also a good idea to have a good profile on GitHub as it’s the first place some Hiring Managers will look or cross-check when determining if they should bring you in for an interview. Read more articles on optimising your LinkedIn profile.

Logistics – Be Proactive and Keep in Contact

As a contractor, it pays to periodically reach out and proactively update your agencies of choice with regards to your status and availability. The more accurate your data in recruitment agencies databases, the easier and quicker it is for them to find and retrieve your information, contact you about opportunities and present you to prospective clients.

Try to be flexible where possible, as this will engender well for you. For example, simply being readily available for contact – be it via phone or email – as this can help recruiters secure you an interview for that much-wanted role that has a quick turnaround. If you are unable to take a call, respond immediately with a message that you will get back – and then do so at the earliest! Delays in getting back may see you miss out to someone else who had their phone on!

Your next contracting assignment will be that much easier to achieve if you follow these actions. It is a competitive and the easier you make it for recruiters, the better your chance to be that preferred candidate getting that much-vaunted role.

Let me know if you have any other ideas – it will be good to share!