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The importance of networking for career IT contractors

Although the contract market has been in good health over the past couple of years, many contractors may still find sourcing new contracts an uphill struggle. With dozens of applicants applying for many vacancies, networking has never been more important.

Although thousands of contract vacancies are live on the leading job boards, a fair proportion are already filled. Many within the industry would also acknowledge that a fair number of job posts are bogus – placed online purely to attract CVs for future marketing purposes.

Many contract roles never make it to the job boards

A large number of contract vacancies never even make it online – particularly the juiciest ones. These are usually filled following recommendations from contractors already working on client sites.

Many long-term contractors never apply for roles posted online – they secure all their contracts via colleagues they have worked with in the past, or clients they have impressed on past projects.

This is why networking is increasingly important to career contractors. It is worth keeping in touch with colleagues if only to be fresh in their minds for future work opportunities.

LinkedIn and Social Media

Fortunately, keeping in touch has never been so easy. Social media sites, most notably LinkedIn, allow you to network in a simple and impersonal way.

You can provide an online CV (‘resume’) listing your key skills and experience, join niche groups focused on skill and industry areas, and of course – find and ‘connect’ with contractors and clients you have worked within the past.

There are several other business social networking sites out there, however how many contractors list anything but their LinkedIn profile in their email signatures?

The key to online networking success is keeping your profile up-to-date, and taking time reconnecting with old colleagues. Optimise your profile with keywords which will help recruiters find your profile, and mention that you’re looking for new opportunities if appropriate. Make it as easy as possible for people to work out your current status.

Combine the great opportunities provided by the web with more ‘traditional’ methods of keeping in touch, and you will have a head start when looking for that next contract role.

Last updated: 15th June 2019