If you’re new to the industry, finding out where to source your first contract could seem a little bit overwhelming. From knowing where to look to nailing down your interview tactics, it’s likely that your experience of self-employment will be very different than working a regular 9 - 5.

We know that the beginning can sometimes be daunting, but we’re here to help. We've put together some handy information to help you when it comes to finding your first contract.

Learn to market yourself

Marketing yourself is a little different when you’re self-employed. You’re not just flouting your experience in previous roles, you also need to be mindful of how your unique skill set and the specific experience you have to make you the best for that role. It’s likely that these will be more specific than a permanent employee and you should focus on this rather than simply listing the places you’ve worked previously.

Take some time to think about what sets you apart from the competition and what you can bring to the table which other contractors may not be able to. This is most commonly composed in the form of a contractor CV, but manynew contractors also find that setting up a website which showcases their portfolio of work and their skills to be helpful.

Network and make yourself noticed online

Social media is a good starting point as it’s free and you can set up your profiles within minutes. A number of opportunities exist on platforms such as LinkedIn. The platform is a popular networking tool for professionals of all industries,with plenty of clients on the lookout for contractors for their next project. Be proactive in making connections to find out what they’re looking for and whether you fit the bill.

Networking at industry events can also serve as an effective way to meet prospective clients and learn insights from contractors in similar positions. If you’re looking for a starting point, IPSE host a number of events which allow the self-employed opportunities to network and help one another out.

Follow up with clients

Being proactive is a sure way to win you more contracts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections and ask about what opportunities are available and to follow with agencies on any leads. 

Use agencies and job boards

ContractorUK, CWJobs and TechnoJobs are great resources for finding work. You can also upload your CV and allow clients to reach out to you

An agency will already have a good relationship with the client, so they can source opportunities which you may not be in the position to. Some top contractor agencies include:

  • Sthree
  • Aston Carter
  • Oliver Bernard
  • Empiric
  • Manpower / Experis
  • Skills Alliance
  • Harvey Nash
  • ITHR
  • ProClinical
  • Annapurna

Discover more

Finding your first contract is just one small aspect of what awaits your new lifestyle and there’s lots more to enjoy. To make sure you’re fully-prepared and ready to hit the ground running, we put together a startup hub full of all the information you need to get you going.

Visit our starting up hub to find out more.