Keen contractors with a zest for their role and the ability to show how they add value can look forward to a healthy 2011. Overall, the jobs market is still recovering and banking, investment, corporate and retail banks are all continuing to re-build their businesses.
"Currently, there is a demand for contractors such as project managers, business analysts, developers with experience across all languages, and good front office candidates with specialist financial markets knowledge", confirms Mike Jetson, director at recruitment firm, Hays Finance Technology.
Employers across the board need contractors to complete projects from 2010, kick-start new projects and re-engage projects that have been put on hold over the last 12 months. Many of these projects will focus on platform rationalisation and departmental or asset-class integrations to increase efficiency and reduce costs across the business. There is also a continuing drive to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.
Given fierce competition for the best roles, Jetson recommends applicants give CVs a new year makeover. "CVs are often an applicant’s first introduction to an employer and it’s essential that they are up-to-date, well formatted, accurate and concise."
Meanwhile the UK PCG, the professional body for freelancers, offers these New Year tips for contractors.
Have a plan. Whilst a conventional business plan may not be essential, it is useful to lay down the basic plan of what you want to achieve and key actions for the next 12 months.
Make it easy for your potential client/agent. In a tight market clients and agents can be very picky about the specification of the contractor and may be sifting through a high volume of CVs. Formatting your CV with a skills matrix at the top is a good way of showing you’re a good match for the role. In a recent survey 36% of business leaders rated enthusiasm in the top three attributes for freelancers.
Invest in your product. A recent survey conducted for PCG by ComRes found that business leaders who work with freelancers think that evidence of training is an important attribute. Consider gaining additional qualifications to keep your industry skills up to date. Focus on what is in demand and how skill requirements in your sector in the short and medium term are changing.
Work your network. Identify your top 20 contacts and ensuring you maintain regular contact with them - 64% of members in a recent PCG survey identified their personal networks as successful for securing work. Phone and face-to-face still lead the way but social networking is also a proven source of finding work: a recent survey 18% of PCG members stated that they had secured work through LinkedIn.
Know your value. Keep a vigilant eye on your day-rate, ensuring you are competitive and reflect the market conditions. To keep tabs on your competitiveness why not try using one of the many ‘rate watch’ style websites or check the prices for similar contracts advertised online.
Always consider - is there anything different or innovative you can offer - either in the way you deliver your work or the way that you price it?
Search CWJobs for IT contract jobs.