How to job hunt when you can’t yet leave your current contract assignment
Posted on 28 April 2017
You are challenged by your current contract assignment and can’t wait for it to come to an end.
You are desperate to be anywhere else, but are committed to seeing it out.
Your job search may be taking a back-seat until you can start applying, but here are three ways you can be proactive and get market ready now:
1. Upcycle your personal brand
With over half of hiring managers now vetting candidates via social media, now is a pertinent time to analyse your social footprint, particularly how you’re coming across on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Your recent posts on social media and the look and feel of your profiles all contribute to the impression you make and how you are perceived by potential employers. Keep in mind that they will be reviewing your social posts when making hiring decisions and consider the impact social media may have on your career.
The images and links you share are likely to be scrutinised and spelling and grammar are important and any mistakes can harm your credibility.
Whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, consider your profile picture - is it sending the right message to potential employers? If you don’t have a professional photo, put on a smart shirt and ask a friend to take a picture for you in good daylight and preferably against a plain wall.
You can add further polish to your personal brand and online presence by setting-up a personal website, starting to publish articles on LinkedIn or sharing articles and content related to the tech industry. That way, you’ll appear as a great candidate with a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the tech industry or particular area you are working in.
Also, I bet that when the time comes to actually start applying for new contract roles, the odds are you will be too busy to write a blog post or set up a website. In addition, hiring managers are more impressed by activity over time than if you suddenly start being more proactive on social media the day before you submit an application for a new job!
2. Warm up your network
Too often I come across individuals who are left high and dry when they attempt to navigate an extremely weak (at best) or a non-existent (at worst) personal network when they are ready to start their job search.
It can be hugely beneficial to your career if you take every opportunity to proactively build and nurture an effective network of contacts within the tech sector.
If it’s been a while since you were in touch with someone at an organisation or brand that you would like to work for, make an initial effort to reconnect by forwarding on an interesting article or messaging them to see how they are.
But, avoid being annoying or turning into a stalker and bear in mind:
It’s not just about you – Are there people in your network who are not connected to each other but who could benefit from knowing one another? Always be on the lookout to introduce/connect these people.
Never ask for anything in return - This works on the law of karma - “what goes around comes around”. It is a known fact that you will ultimately benefit in some way, shape or form from your generosity but don’t immediately expect something in return.
Always say thank you – You would be surprised how often folk miss this simple yet powerful action following an interaction. Always show appreciation and follow through on any agreed actions – especially if you have agreed to make further connections. This will leave a lasting impression.
3. Update your CV
When’s the last time you updated your CV? When you applied for your current contract assignment? If so, it’s time for an update.
Revamp your old CV by adding details about your most recent contract and reviewing the document for any inaccurate or out-of-date information. Don't forget to simultaneously align this updated CV with your LinkedIn profile as well.
It can be tempting to wait to update your CV until you have found a job you want to apply for. However, you can speed up the time it takes you to submit your application when the time comes by adding key information about your current assignment to your CV now. Contractors continually surprise me by sending CVs for opportunities that don’t include their most recent role and therefore undersell their skills and experience and jeopardise their chances of success.
For technical roles, hiring managers 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.
By taking these steps now, you will be able to hit the ground running and secure a new job much faster when you’re ready to start your search.