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6 ways to stand out in today’s competitive contracting environment

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The coronavirus pandemic and looming global recession have not only turned the world on its head but made the lives of hard-working freelancers and contractors even tougher. As the unemployment rate increases and companies lay off staff in their thousands, many more talented professionals are turning to contracting, making the market even more cut-throat.

Whether you’re new to contracting or you’ve been a contractor for years, being able to stand out from the crowd will ensure you win contracts and stay in the mind of hiring managers. To give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you get started today… 

Learn a new skill

What sets you apart from the next guy? Whatever industry you work in, consider levelling up and taking part in a training course or elearning program to add another string to your bow and show potential clients and recruiters that you mean business. Continuous personal development is the key to long-term success – do not rest in your laurels or you’ll miss out.

Undercut a competitor

If you’re able to do so, consider pitching to clients at a lower hourly or daily rate than one of your competitors. This can be a tricky move; go in too cheap, and you’ll look desperate and have your credibility brought into question. Look at the average hourly rate for contractors in your niche and consider running a ‘special offer’ to help businesses recover from COVID-19.

Change your working arrangement

If you’re operating as a contractor under a recruitment agency, consider working with the best umbrella company on the market to change the way you work. Not only will this save you time and money, but it’ll make it easier for clients to pay you and reduce their tax and legal responsibilities, especially with IR35 changes finally expected to be implemented in 2021. Working under an umbrella means you’ll be paid via PAYE and have tax deducted.

Work from home

Though the coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to work from home, why not offer to work remotely in the future? Businesses value remote workers because they’re cheaper, they don’t need to pay for additional office space or insurance, and they can work at all hours of the day. You’ll save money on commuting, and benefit from working in your pyjamas!

Make some noise

If you’re currently out of work and are looking for your next contracting gig, make some noise and ensure you’re heard. Send emails to hiring managers, speak to recruitment agencies and build your personal brand. Eventually, you’ll become known as a thought leader in your niche, and will be able to command a higher hourly rate of pay as your reputation grows.

Network, network, network

Make sure you’re active on LinkedIn and connect with as many professionals in your industry as possible. The more contacts you have at your disposal, the easier it’ll be to find a new role or opportunity. Keep networking when you find your next hustle or job, too, as if you are sensible and strategic, you can line up your next opportunity when you’re still employed.

Did these tips help you? Let us know and check back soon for more advice from the team.

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