Having the right attitude and having a business-to-business view is key to securing the best roles as a contractor, according to an industry expert.
Dave Chaplin is CEO of Contractor Calculator, and has said that while certain contractors may be more qualified than others for certain roles, that doesn’t necessarily equate to employment.
“It’s contractors who are good at winning contracts that not only secure the most lucrative work, but are also the ones who can pick and choose where, when and with whom they work,” he said in an article for Contractor Calculator. “Contractors are small businesses and, like any small business seeking new business from clients, they need to acquire and apply marketing, sales, negotiation and business skills.”
A true understanding of what you are offering as a contractor is vital according to Chaplin.
“The first contracting skill to learn is how to write and maintain a killer contracting CV,” said Chaplin. “This is the first piece of marketing literature a client or agent sees, and contractors need to tailor the CV to the contract on offer so that their CV matches exactly what the client wants to see.”
The difference between a contractor interview and a run-of-the-mill job interview should not be ignored either. Promoting the service you offer, rather than you yourself, is something Chaplin very much evangelises.
“Having demonstrated on paper with the CV that they can solve the client’s problem, the contractor should use the interview to sell their skills as the solution to the client’s needs,” said Chaplin. “Then it’s important for them to actually ask for the business.”
This is when a strong set of negotiation skills come to the fore. Naturally, areas of focus should include pay rates and IR35 clauses within the contract.
Chaplin concludes: “Contractors who invest time and potentially money in developing their contracting skills will ultimately earn more, stay in contract longer and get to maximise the benefits of the contracting lifestyle more than contractors who don’t.”
Chaplin’s advice is sound and should be particularly noted for anyone relatively new to the contracting game or searching for their first contract for a while.