As a professional contractor, it's important to know how and when to make your mark in the industry by showcasing your capabilities. Whether you're new to contracting or have years of experience, our six tips to becoming a successful professional contractor will help you thrive in the technology sector.
Lifelong learning is the key to success
Periodically assess your skill set, especially if you have secured a long-term contract. Just because a skill isn't utilised in your current position doesn't mean it won't be useful in future endeavours. Being open to learning and refreshing skills can enhance your prospects when interviewing for new roles. For example, your current two-year contract might focus on backend development. Your next opportunity may want to see some fresh approaches to full-stack, since you haven't been focused on this area, you could miss out on a lucrative contract. Many successful IT professional contractors proactively stay up to date through personal projects and by upskilling.
Scope creep can be an opportunity
Be on the lookout for possibilities to tackle unfamiliar tasks and leverage new skills outside of your Statement of Work (SOW). Embrace opportunities like mentoring junior colleagues or mastering a new programming language, as they can make an impact on your CV. Taking on extra responsibilities can grow your skillset and create a positive impression in the workplace.
Build your professional reputation
Nurturing your professional reputation is paramount in the contracting space. While your work should undoubtedly demonstrate your competence, possessing excellent interpersonal skills can help you stand out. Cultivating positive relationships can also lead to new doors opening for you. Such as, having colleagues who readily recommend you to their contacts, as being a valuable team member. Which speaks volumes about your character and capabilities.
Perfect your communication skills
With the growing adoption of hybrid and remote working, clear written communication has become a necessity in nearly every workplace. Concise communication helps for successful collaboration and project execution, particularly when working with remote colleagues and clients across different locations.
Know the IT contracting market
Understanding your market is crucial for professional success. You may have been working in a thriving market for the last few years, however, markets and job opportunities evolve. Fully remote contracts were prevalent during the Covid-19 pandemic, but expectations have changed, and these roles are now becoming the exception rather than the rule. As business needs change so do the rates contractors receive, realistically assess your expectations to balance knowing your market with knowing your worth. Understanding the changing market is imperative to continued success as a professional contractor. Build and expand your skill base to benefit your clients and keep your negotiation skills sharp. Finally, stay informed and keep up to date with changes and skill gaps within the IT contracting market.
The importance of prioritising a healthy work-life balance
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a must for everyone, regardless of your role. Balancing new opportunities with dedicated time off for relaxation and personal pursuits allows you to maintain focus and deliver your best work. Taking time off improves productivity, reduces stress, and enhances overall well-being. Prioritise finding a healthy work-life balance for increased success and fulfilment.
Making your mark as a professional contractor requires a multifaceted approach. Embrace innovation to stay ahead in a competitive landscape, utilise career opportunities that come your way, and diligently build your professional reputation. Perfecting your communication skills enables effective collaboration while staying informed about your market ensures competitive rates. However, success also lies in prioritising a healthy work-life balance. By embracing these strategies, you can carve out a fulfilling and prosperous career as a professional contractor. Find out more about becoming a professional contractor with Cpl by visiting our Professional Contracting Hub.