Becoming a contractor can bring many freedoms, including a huge variety of work opportunities.

But finding those work opportunities can be a challenge for a new contractor – even an experienced contractor has to work hard to secure contracts.

Whether you’re looking for short- or long-term contracts, it’s important to keep working in order to feed yourself and your family, and pay the rent.

Here are nine tips for making finding contracting work a little easier.

Build a skills portfolio

You should be constantly trying to learn new skills relevant to your industry.

Learning specialist skills will help you stand out from the crowd when clients are looking over CVs. You’ll also potentially land more specialist jobs, earning you more money.

Sign up to a recruitment agency

Sign up to an agency that specialises in finding work for contractors.

They’ll get in touch with you whenever there’s a client looking for a contractor with your skills.

Narrow your search to specific types of jobs

Look at all of your skills and work out what kinds of jobs you’ll be best at.

This will not only make your job search easier because you’ll know exactly what to look for, it also means you can be more specific when you write application letters.

Clients will be more likely to hire you if you’ve really thought about how your skills and experiences are right for the job.

Use the internet

There are countless online job boards where you search for jobs that you have the right skills for.

You can also upload your CV to many of them, which clients may find if they search for particular skillsets and experience.

Know how much money you can be expected to pay

Find out how much money you can expect to earn on a particular job based on the industry and your experience level.

This will not only help you narrow down your job search by removing jobs that pay either too little or too much, it also means that when you’re negotiating with clients, you can ask for a realistic amount of money for the job.

Have a great CV

Writing a great CV will help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s a chance to show off all your skills and experience, and let prospective clients know you’re the right contractor for the job.

There are plenty of websites with lots of guidance on how to write great CVs.  Here is a good example I found on Totaljobs.

Follow up on job applications

Recruiters can be forgetful, especially when they have a hundred other CVs to look at.

Make sure you remind them of how much you want the job, and how you have all the right skills and experience.

After you send your application, get in touch with them, either by telephone or email, to make sure they received it.

They’ll be more likely to remember your name, and might even move you higher up the list.

Prepare for your interviews

You’ve done well to secure an interview, but it’s not time to relax just yet.

Make sure you think about the kinds of questions you’ll likely be asked by the interviewer, and prepare answers.

Also, make sure you know how to get to the interview, and how long it’s going to take, so you’re not late.

Get an accountant

Finding an specialist contractor accountant won’t directly help you find work, but a good one will know all about the rules and regulations regarding working as a contractor, such as IR35, as well as making the management of your finances easier to handle so you’ll have more time to find work, or just more spare time.