How to stand out in a competitive market
Posted on 30 March 2017
By their very nature, contracting assignments across the innovation, digital and technology landscape generally materialise at short notice. In addition to this, organisations 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 is first discussed. This situation creates an environment where proactive contractors 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 contractors to supply updates, in many cases results in failure to help them secure a suitable available role.
Adding details of all of your recent contracts including dates and descriptions about the activities you were personally accountable for to your CV will help both the recruiter and the organisation to quickly 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 CV proof-read by someone else and keep a keen eye out for the accuracy of dates!
An up-to-date LinkedIn profile
The increased reliance on social channels for news consumption and information has created an expectation that your LinkedIn profile is consistently up-to-date and maintained at all times . It is extremely rare in this day and age that stakeholders do not visit your LinkedIn profile – be they hiring managers or recruiters. Your recent comments and activities across the networking site and the look and feel of your profile all contribute to the impression you make, how you are perceived by a future employer and can be an important 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 in searches.
If you’re a developer it is also a good idea to have a profile on GitHub as it’s the first place some Hiring Managers will look or cross-check when determining if they should invite you to an interview.
Be proactive and keep in touch
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 relevant opportunities and present you to prospective employers.
Try to be flexible where possible. For example, simply being readily available – 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 to them – and then do so at the earliest opportunity. Delays in calling them back may mean you miss out to someone else who had their phone on!
I assure you that your next contracting assignment will be that much easier to find if you follow these simple actions.
Let me know if you have any other ideas – it would be good to share.