Unbeatable Tips for Contract Workers

June 20th, 2013 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

contract workers
The 9-5 grind isn’t for everyone, and many of today’s workers prefer to take on freelance contract work to make their living. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are more than 2.5 million temporary and contract workers in the US, a number that is predicted to rise dramatically over the next few years.

Contract work means living as a constant job seeker. If you dread the process of finding a job then this form of employment may not be for you. Relying on contract work comes with the price of never having a steady paycheck, but many are content sacrificing their steady 9-5 job for the freedom that goes along with temporary work. Make sure you are willing to put in the work required to keep yourself employed.

If that didn’t scare you off, then follow these tips to help you get started as a successful contract worker.

Brand Yourself

Being a contract worker is very much like running your own little business. Every successful business has a brand, something that tells potential clients what services they will receive by hiring you. What type of solutions can you provide for a company that is seeking to utilize contract workers? The answer to this question is what sells you as a potential employee. Your resume can show employers what skills and experience you possess, but you must market yourself in order to convince companies to buy your product: you.

Network

Networking is the single most important tool for contract workers. The more people you know, the easier it will be for you to find work. Put yourself out there on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Better yet, create your own website where you can post your portfolio and accomplishments. Create business cards with your name, job title, and contact information and distribute them liberally. You never know who may get ahold of one.

Use Recruiters

Don’t forget the people who have a knack for finding contract jobs. The hiring process can be tedious and costly, and many companies struggle to link up talent like you. Recruiters make it their business to consistently find you work.

Stay on top of the new tech

As a contract worker, it is important to keep your skills up to date. You can never have too many certifications, programming languages, or other skills to fluff out your credentials. Stay on top of the latest technology and make yourself as marketable as possible. There are very few contract jobs looking for workers with Lotus 1-2-3.

Add some diversity to your employment

If you find yourself taking similar projects over and over again you run the risk of closing yourself off from other opportunities. While it is great to specialize in a certain area, you should be constantly challenging yourself with a variety of jobs. Not only will you maintain your sanity by keeping your work fresh, your diversity will make you a more attractive candidate for hire.

Get a new phone

Now that you won’t be working in the same office for the next decade it will be important to acquire a phone for business purposes only. Keeping your personal and work life separate is important, especially if you will be working from home. It might be a good idea to set up a landline in your office at home for all your work related calls. Better yet, get yourself a separate work cell phone so you can take it on the go with you. Plus, you may save some bucks on a nifty family plan!

Don’t forget about your taxes

Working a steady 9-5 job is easy on your taxes. A simple W-2 form and you are all set for the year. Contract workers have a few more hurdles to clear before they are ready to submit their taxes for the year. Your organizational skills will come in handy here.

Keeping a separate bank account for your work related expenses should be your first step. Second, track all your expenditures by saving receipts, recording your gas mileage, and recording any healthcare spending in accordance with the ACA. These can be written off on your taxes to save you big money the following year. As long as you stay on top of your bookkeeping, taxes will not be a major source of worry for you.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of Victor1558 via Flickr

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