Talent Development Centre

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Conduct an In-Depth Job Search

Conduct an In-Depth Job SearchSometimes you have no problems finding your next IT project — the market is strong, past clients are following-up, recruiters are calling and contracts are getting extended. Other times, it can be a stressful struggle and seems like nobody out there, not even in other regions, is seeking a technology contractor with your valuable skillset.  If recruiters are calling you, they’re offering jobs that don’t really match what you do or for a rate that you’re hesitant to accept. The only option is to roll up your sleeves and search for jobs on your own.

There are many strategies and techniques to search for jobs. You can build your online presence to get access to more jobs, improve your networking skills to get an inside scoop, and of course, the traditional online job search. That online job search should not be underestimated. If you perform a search with enough depth, it’s amazing what kind of opportunities you may uncover that other IT contractors don’t know exist. Here’s a route you could take when conducting an in-depth, online job search.

  1. Start at Google
    Like most great searches, it’s perfectly alright to start your job search at the world’s most popular search engine. Many job seekers already do this, but what they frequently miss out on are all of the results. Instead, they click the first link they see that looks like it has potential, and never return. When you see a link that interests you, right-click on it to select the “Open in a New Tab” option. Do this as you go through many pages of your job search until results are no longer relevant to you.
  2. Follow-Through on Everything
    Now that you have a bunch of tabs open, view the job that you opened up, but don’t stop there. For each one, whether it’s a company’s unique career site or a larger job board, search all possible job opportunities. If there’s nothing for you but it could have potential, create a profile and sign up for job alerts if they’re available. (you may want to check out this post about managing your job search footprint)
  3. Repeat
    This is the step skipped most often. Once you’ve been through steps 1 and 2 in detail, start over at Google, but with different search criteria. Every query will bring you some duplicate results, but you’ll also see some unique pages. Try changing around keywords, think of other job titles employers may use, or add in more details such as specific skills, cities or industries.

Ensuring your job search process is in-depth may be time consuming, but doing it is the only way to make sure you’re finding the most possible opportunities when you need them. Starting at Google is a solid start and this will not change. Google recently launched “Google for Jobs” in the US, which uses Google’s search intelligence to find jobs with titles you didn’t even know existed, but fit your needs. It will allow you to conduct a detailed job search, but with less effort. Keep posted to the Talent Development Centre when Google for Jobs is available in Canada for a full review.

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s the worst part of job searching?

Independent contractors find themselves searching for jobs much more frequently than their counterparts in permanent IT jobs. As such, you’re most likely a seasoned veteran at job searching and have the process down to an art, but there are undoubtedly parts of the process you absolutely despise.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know what part of job searching independent contractors hate the most and regularly wish they could somehow skip over to the next step.

Applying for a Contract Job vs a Permanent Position

How to Adjust the Way You Search for Jobs When Looking for IT Contract Work

Applying for a Contract Job vs a Permanent PositionSwitching from being a full-time employee to an independent contractor comes with many changes. Everything from your lifestyle to how you get paid to where you go to work will suddenly be different. One change often overlooked by new IT contractors is the way they search for new work.

The first step in understanding how to look for work as a contractor is to know how and why hiring managers are seeking contractors. When dealing with permanent employees, HR departments search for long-term team members who will be a fit with the organization. They want a professional who will be there long-term to grow with the company. When contractors are the preferred choice, it’s often for a specific project and the hiring process is often managed through a separate department such as Procurement. The manager is primarily seeking somebody who has the skills to complete the job at the right price — personality and cultural fit is important, but rarely the top priority. Essentially, it becomes a business-to-business relationship.

Where Should You Look for IT Contracts?

Like any other job search, job boards and social networks are a good start for finding IT contracts. As well, there are websites such as Upwork and Freelancer that are designed specifically for connecting freelancers with companies looking for projects.

Don’t ignore the power a recruitment agency can have in finding you contract work. Staffing agencies will have multiple contracts available for you and the great ones will help you throughout your career. Building valuable relationships with the right recruiters could mean you’ll never have to search for work again. Instead, work will find you.

Finally, keep networking. Not just with Recruiters, but every professional you meet. As your network and reputation as a quality IT contractor grows, the effort you need to put into finding work will shrink.

Change the Way You Communicate

We can’t say it enough — being a contractor is completely different than being an employee and companies want to know that you understand that difference to protect them from certain risks. Demonstrate that you are in the correct mindset by adjusting your communication in resumes, interviews and on the job.

  • Ditch the cover letter. This traditional standard is in the process of phasing out for full-time jobs, but in contracting, it’s nearly useless. If anything, a summary in an introductory email will suffice.
  • Within your resume, eliminate any personal hobbies or career goals that employers typically look at to understand if you’re a fit in their organization and make sure you include a Profile Summary which outlines your key skills and experience.
  • Your interview will be more skills-based with questions targeted at learning how you will complete a specific project. While preparing for it, focus at answering questions related to the environment rather than where you see yourself in five years.
  • Keep in mind specific vocabulary that needs to change. For example as a contractor, you should talk about “rate” and rather than “salary”.

Before You Start Applying to IT Contracts

Prepare yourself before you start applying to these contract roles by understanding everything that comes with being a contractor. This includes a thorough comprehension of the business risks, knowing how accounting and taxes will be managed, finding a suitable insurance package and properly budgeting for the fact that paid vacation days and benefits are a thing of the past. We also strongly recommend incorporating your independent contracting business, as it will come with long-term tax benefits and make you more attractive to future clients. Finally, conduct extensive research to understand your rate as an independent contractor. Without this, you will either get stuck working for much less than you’re worth or not working at all due to a rate demand that’s out-of-sync with the current market.

Switching to independent contracting is an exciting. By understanding the application process and leveraging the tools available, you can cross “finding work” off of your list of stressors.

Quick Poll Results: Where do you search for jobs?

When and where are you searching for jobs? We asked that question in last month’s quick poll and, as usual, we’re sharing the results. Take a look and, just for fun, see if you follow the same routine as other technology professionals. Do you prefer to browse at home, on your lunch break at work or on the way to work (assuming you don’t drive)? Alternatively, maybe you don’t have a set routine and prefer to search anywhere when you have a few minutes or wait to be prompted by a notification.

Of course, there is no right way to search for jobs, as long as it is effective for you, and fits into your planned schedule. If you’re not setting aside time specifically for business development and searching for new contracts, that is a whole other issue. Consider some of these preferred times to take 5 minutes and browse your favourite job boards for new IT contract opportunities.

Quick Poll Results: Where do you search for jobs?