Life as an IT contractor can be great. The profession allows for higher hourly wages, more diversification of IT skills, more opportunity to grow and strengthen your professional network, and a greater work/life balance – all of which we’ve previously detailed in a prior blog post. One drawback, however, is that contract positions are not permanent. So, while the vast majority of roles are often extended, and can go on for years at a time, they all do eventually end.
In this blog post, we detail the steps an IT contractor should take before their contract ends to ensure they’re putting themselves in the best possible position to land another job.
Update Your Resume
Once you realize your contract is coming to an end, it’s essential that you update your resume. In fact, updating your resume is something that should be done throughout the length of your contract. While contracts are always written with end dates in mind, you never know when a contract may end due to budgetary concerns or other various reasons. When, and if, that happens, you’ll want to hit the job market ASAP. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep your resume and portfolio up to date with all the latest skills and projects you’ve worked with and on.
Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Up to Date
Once you’ve updated your physical resume, don’t stop there! As one of the fastest-growing social media networks, LinkedIn boasts over 610 million members and employers are using the site to search for candidates – both passive and active. If you’re serious about employment, it’s essential your LinkedIn profile stay up to date.
And not to mention, by using LinkedIn you can distinguish yourself from the competition by adding dimension to your resume, demonstrating your expertise, and building upon your professional network. For additional information, read our blog on the matter.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events are a fantastic way to further your career. They allow you to expand your knowledge base and learn from subject matter experts in your area, meet and greet with potential future employers, and most importantly, get your name out there. When you come to the realization that you’ll be needing to look for a new job/contract, research local events/meetups and make room on your calendar for them. Employers are much more likely to remember a candidate they met in person rather than a resume that was sent to them via email.
In order to ensure you’re getting the most out of such events, check out this blog post.
If you haven’t already, especially due to time restraints, a great time to get certified is between IT contracts. IT certifications demonstrate your dedication, motivation, and technical knowledge of your chosen field. Possessing a certification not only shows that you have the comprehensive knowledge of that technology but that you also care enough about your own career to spend the time and money to get certified.
If you don’t have the good fortune of moving from one contract to another, then using that free time to pursue an IT certification is the way to go. While employers don’t like to see extended gaps of unemployment on a resume, demonstrating that you used that time to greater expand your knowledge base is seen as a wise use of one’s time.
They’ll also open up more job opportunities and higher pay scales for you!
Stay in Contact with Your IT Staffing Agency
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you keep an open line of communication with your staffing agency. These are the individuals who found and placed you in your current role and it’s likely they have other positions in mind that you’d be a good match for. Discuss with them your experiences, the new skills you’ve learned and used, and the roles you’d like to pursue. Send them an updated version of your resume (which they can help you craft) and make sure you get in contact with them as soon as you know you’ll be looking. The more that they know, the more they can assist you in finding your next job.
If you follow this advice, you’ll be interviewing for your next position in no time!