How to get contract work in three easy steps (Part 1 of 3)

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Over the next three posts I am going to outline one method of getting contract work that has been very successful for me. It is both cheap and easy to implement, requiring little more than some time, email and a phone. So, how do you get contract work? Simple — You ask! Of course, there is a little more to it than that, but basically: You just ask. How Does it Work?

  • First, find and research the web and advertising firms in your area.
  • Next, send the firms an introductory email.
  • Then, follow up a few days later with a phone call.
I have found this approach is far better than cold calling, as the firms are forewarned, (that you are going to call) and they know why you are calling. Also, by emailing first — If the firm isn’t interested: they will generally email you back to that effect. The Ground Work Preparation is really important, potentially any of these firms could be worth thousands of dollars to you. So, it is worth putting a bit of time and effort into researching each firm — basically the same as if you were preparing for a job interview (which effectively you are). How to Find the firms I would start by using search engines and your local business directories i.e. the Yellow Pages. When searching look for both web firms and advertising agencies. Note: Not all advertising agencies have a web department. Research the Firms Once you have a list of potential firms. Research them. Try and work out whether or not they are going to be a likely source of work. Do this by; reading through their website, looking for any forum post about them, and generally giving them a good Googling. Also, look at their client lists and analysis the website itself. Then, rank the firms, (based on your research) on a scale of 1 to 5, as to how much you would like to work for them. This is a subjective matter — you might do it based on their client list, their location, their reputation or even how much you like the web site. Next, starting with your best ranked firms — Try and find out who to contact at each firm. If you can’t find that information on the web; a quick call to the firm, to ask who to send an email to, is all that is usually required. Keep Notes
Keep notes on your progress with each firm including:
  • who you contacted
  • what was said
  • the date and time of contact
  • any follow up that is required
As you actually get into the process of contacting each firm, you will find that note taking quickly becomes invaluable. Often, the contact process won’t be as simple as a single email and phone call. Sometimes the email doesn’t get to the person it should and needs to be resent or the person you need to talk to is away and you have to call back etc. Keep accurate notes and then you will always know where you are in the contact process. Use whatever note system works for you, I personally prefer good old fashioned pen and paper. In my next post I am going to talk about that critical introductory email, with tips on what it should contain and how to structure it for best effect. TTFN

Frequently Asked Questions about Getting Contract Work

What are the benefits of contract work?

Contract work offers several benefits. It provides flexibility in terms of working hours and location, allowing you to balance your personal and professional life better. It also offers the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, enhancing your skills and experience. Moreover, contract work often pays more than permanent positions, and it can provide a stepping stone to full-time employment.

How can I find contract work opportunities?

There are several ways to find contract work opportunities. You can use job search websites, networking events, and social media platforms like LinkedIn. Additionally, you can reach out to companies directly or use a recruitment agency that specializes in contract work.

What skills are needed for contract work?

The skills needed for contract work depend on the industry and the specific job. However, some general skills that are often required include problem-solving, communication, time management, and the ability to work independently. Additionally, having specialized skills or expertise in a particular field can make you more attractive to employers.

How can I stand out when applying for contract work?

To stand out when applying for contract work, it’s important to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job. Highlight your relevant skills and experience, and provide examples of your past successes. Additionally, having a strong online presence can help you stand out. This could include a professional website or portfolio, or a well-maintained LinkedIn profile.

What should I consider before accepting a contract job?

Before accepting a contract job, consider factors such as the length of the contract, the pay rate, the work hours, and the company culture. Additionally, consider whether the job aligns with your career goals and whether it offers opportunities for growth and development.

How can I negotiate a contract job offer?

When negotiating a contract job offer, it’s important to know your worth and be prepared to articulate it. Research the average pay for similar roles in your industry and location. Don’t be afraid to ask for more money or better terms if you feel the offer is below your value.

Can I turn a contract job into a full-time position?

Yes, it’s possible to turn a contract job into a full-time position. If you’re interested in this, it’s important to express your interest to your employer and demonstrate your value through your work. However, keep in mind that not all contract jobs lead to full-time positions.

What are the challenges of contract work?

Contract work can come with challenges such as lack of job security, inconsistent income, and lack of benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. Additionally, you may have to constantly look for new contracts, which can be time-consuming.

How can I manage my finances as a contract worker?

As a contract worker, it’s important to have a budget and save for periods of unemployment. You may also need to handle your own taxes, so it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional. Additionally, consider setting up a retirement account and purchasing your own health insurance.

What are some tips for succeeding in contract work?

To succeed in contract work, it’s important to be proactive in finding new opportunities and networking. Keep your skills up-to-date and be adaptable to different work environments. Additionally, maintain a professional attitude and deliver high-quality work to build a good reputation.

Toby SomervilleToby Somerville
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