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While the nature of the job is unpredictable and ever-changing, contractors have the ability to create an ideal career path and work towards their financial and professional goals. In this blog post, we’ll explain how a contractor can establish their goals and make them known to recruiters and employers in order to gain both support and the right opportunities.

Getting Started

So you’ve entered the world of IT contracting – welcome and congratulations! While you may never have seen yourself working as a contractor, the benefits of contract work cannot be denied. Sure, a full-time job may offer job security (a commodity that’s undeniable), but contract roles offer experience, flexibility, and the chance to network and grow your skills – all while earning you an above average hourly wage. Just because you’ve started employment with a company as a contractor, though, doesn’t mean you’ll stay that way. As we’ve seen countless times, many organizations prefer to leave their open positions as contract-to-hire opportunities. This allows employers to conduct a trial run with the consultant, in order to ensure the consultant has the right skills and temperament for the role, before investing the resources involved with a permanent hire.

If the nature of contract work does appeal to you, however, there are a few things that you should know. By reading one of our previous blog posts, “Navigating Your Tech Career Path as a Contractor,” you’ll learn the best path for finding new opportunities, receive tips for staying up-to-date in your field, and learn the best practices for negotiating the contract itself.

Outline Your Career Path

Outlining your career path or, in other words, establishing your goals as a contractor is essential for career fulfillment. While a career in IT may have always appealed to you, the world of Information Technology is vast and ever-expanding. The duties for a Helpdesk Technician differ greatly from those of a Graphic Designer. So choosing your field, within IT, requires great consideration. But don’t fret! Resources do exist that can help you.

One such resource is ITCareerFinder. This is an online resource designed to help IT pros advance their careers. There, you’ll find content and interactive resources to help guide you through every stage of your IT career – from career path and IT certification research, through building a learning plan and choosing a technical training provider, to job search and career advancement strategy.

For more detailed information on IT careers (including earning and growth potential, required skills and responsibilities, salary information, education requirements, certifications, training and degree programs, job outlook, related careers, etc.), consult their IT Career Paths page.

Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

Once you’ve settled on your desired career path, and have taken the time to get yourself qualified, it’s time to let employers know that you’re looking. The traditional way of doing so was by applying to positions directly – via online job postings or submitting your resume to employer’s HR departments. And while this is still a popular and widely accepted avenue, it’s not always the fastest. Plus, it’s teeming with competition.

Instead, let the employers and recruiters find you. By the very definition of contract work, it’s temporary. That means you should always be on the lookout for your next opportunity (while, of course, honoring and fulfilling the commitment to your current employer). And there’s no better way to let employers know what you’ve been up to, and what you’re on the market for, than by keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.

For more information on why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool, consult one of our previous blog posts, “Optimize Your Marketability Using LinkedIn.” One feature that wasn’t discussed in that article, however, is LinkedIn Open Candidates. LinkedIn Open Candidates, which is a highly effective, convenient, and almost necessary tool for every contract employee, is a profile feature you can “turn on” to let employers and recruiters know that you are open to new career opportunities. To make it even better, the signal you send out is “hidden” from your current employer and partner companies. Once you’ve turned this feature on, your information will be shared with recruiters looking for professional talent in the areas you indicated.

Partner with a Staffing Firm

Finally, perhaps the best way to gain support and ensure you’re being considered for opportunities that match your skill set is by partnering with a staffing firm, such as PSCI. There’s no reason not to solicit help/guidance when searching for your next opportunity. That’s why, as an IT contractor, you should always be using a staffing firm when looking for a job. It comes at zero cost to you and, via the partnership, you’ll receive resume guidance, valuable client insight, and exposure to even more jobs.

So when searching for your next job opportunity, be sure to contact PSCI so that we may assist you in your job search.

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