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  • Writer's pictureUmbrella Search

Complete guide to making the most of your contracting career

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

However long you've been contracting, whether you're a seasoned professional or brand new to it, as a contractor, you will want to know how to make the most out of their careers in 2023.

After all, contracting offers many benefits, from freedom and flexibility, the chance to work on a greater variety of projects to better pay, so it's important that contractors put in the hard work to get the most out of their contracting careers.

To help, Umbrella Search has put together this guide showcasing our top tips to help every contractor elevate their contracting careers in 2023.

Make sure contracting is the best option for you

Although this might sound obvious, the first step to getting the most out of your contracting career is to make sure this is the best path for you. It certainly takes more than a lucky streak to succeed as contractor,

As we have touched on, there are many benefits to contracting, including better pay, more flexible work on a range of projects, the ability to choose which contracts you take on and when and full control of what work you do.

However, although there are many advantages to contracting, there can also be some risks. For example, there isn't always a guarantee that you will secure regular contract work. What's more, it's the responsibility of the contractor to ensure that they perform their best work on every project. After all, if you fail to impress it's unlikely that you'll be given another chance by the client.

Once you've weighed up the pros and cons of contracting, if you've decided that contracting is the best option for you, you'll need to know how to get the most out of your contracting career.

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Develop your skill set

To stand out in a competitive market it's important that contractors have a strong set of skills that set them aside from the crowd.

After all, contractors are typically hired to work on specific projects and are expected to bring their expertise and skills to the task at hand. For this reason, to gain a competitive edge and bag those high-value contracts it's important to develop and maintain a strong set of skills that will make you stand out in your industry.

There are many ways that contractors can continually upskill, including gaining new qualifications to attending workshops and seminars.

Some of Umbrella Search's favourite resources that contractors can access anywhere include:

- The Open University: offering a wide range of courses, the Open University gives contractors the chance to gain an accredited degree in their chosen subject area.

- Udemy: this platform offers a wide breadth of online courses in everything from IT, business, advertising, marketing, software to finance.

- Futurelearn: Futurelearn is great for contractors who want to expand their knowledge and offers over 1000 short courses, perfect for the busy contractor.

- LinkedIn Learning: this platform offers courses run by experts and covers subject areas covering everything from tech, business to the creative fields.

Soft skills matter too

As well as developing your hard skills, to really boost your contracting career, contractors should also focus on developing their soft skills.

This is particularly important for contractors that have to work in new office environments and integrate seamlessly, partake in zoom meetings with new faces, and meet with new clients on a regular basis.

There is a long list of soft skills that are important in the workplace and it's important that contractors focus on the areas that they need to personally improve on most.

However, some of the key soft skills every contractor should strive to achieve include the following:

Working well with others: every contractor needs to work well with new people, whether that's with clients or colleagues. Due to the nature of contracting it's important that contractors are personable and can fit into new teams and workplaces without any issues to help get the most out of the contract.

Strong communication skills: being a good communicator will not only help you win the best contracts, it will also make the process of undertaking the contract a whole lot easier. Being a great communicator helps contractors set expectations and will allow you to build a solid relationship with the client and your new colleagues.

Flexibility: as we've mentioned, the nature of contracting demands that contractors can be flexible, going from contract to contract, working with new clients and adapting to new workplaces. For this reason, it's imperative that contractors showcase flexibility at all times.

Be proactive: finally, to thrive in the role, contractors should always be proactive. From asking the right questions to seeking out solutions to problems, contractors should be proactive in the role.

Be pitch perfect

Our final tip for getting the most out of your contracting career is to develop the perfect pitch. After all, a winning pitch is what will help you win those all-important high-value contracts.

The pitch is the first impression the client will get from you, and we all know that first impressions count. A great pitch with the client can be the difference between getting that contract in the bag and loosing out to the competitor.

That's why Umbrella Search recommends that contractors put the time and energy into refining their pitch as this will help grow their contracting career in the long term.

To do this, find out exactly what the client is looking for. Do your research into the role and show the client how you can offer a solution to the problem they might have, have the specialist expertise and skill set they're looking for, and how you can deliver, offering real examples of how you've done this in the past.

Next steps – let Umbrella Search help

To really give your contracting career a boost, you might be considering joining the thousands of other contractors across the UK that opt to use an umbrella company. After all, by taking all the time-consuming and stressful tasks out of the contractor's hands, an umbrella company frees up a lot more of the contractor's time and energy, which they can then use to focus on getting the most out of their contracting careers.

If you're considering using an umbrella company in 2023, Umbrella Search can help you find the best one for you. Why not get in touch with our friendly, professional team and let us help with the next steps?


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