My IT Contract is Ending. What Should I Do?
Independent contractors play a major role in the U.S. workforce –especially in the tech industry, where they can truly thrive.
If you’re working as an Independent Contractor, then you’re aware of the many benefits of working as a consultant. You likely earn a higher rate, have more flexibility and tend to get exposure to some pretty cool opportunities. (If you’re considering making the move to independent contracting, check out my previous blog post – 5 Benefits of Becoming an IT Consultant).
One of the many upsides to consulting is that your jobs don’t last forever. That also happens to be one of the downsides. It is important to consider planning for next steps before your current contract comes to an end.
Sketch out a plan
Even if it’s a plan in your head, it’s important to put your thoughts together before you’re in a serious time crunch. What are your options? Is taking a break in-between contracts financially feasible for you? Have you given any thought to developing any new skills sets or branching out into a slightly different role? Having some idea what you’d like to do next will help you in the steps to come.
Update Your Resume
This is something you should be doing after each role. Don’t just add in your latest title, along with some dates. Add content. Useful content. Not everyone will understand what you did based on your title alone. Add relevant responsibilities, along with key projects and be sure to showcase the value you brought to the position. If possible, quantify!
If they are not already included, incorporate personal attributes that differentiate you. My blog post – IT Pros Need Soft Skills Too will be a big help in this area!
If you have a specific niche and you’re happy there, great. If you can market yourself for a variety of positions, my recommendation is to have different versions of your resume geared toward specific roles. Yes, I know it’s more work, but it’s worth it!
In the consulting world, it’s important you market yourself as an expert with a specific skill set that isn’t available in your client or potential client’s organization. Set yourself apart from the other consultants with similar skill sets.
- Consider writing articles in your areas of expertise, possibly start a blog.
- Make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date (especially LinkedIn), and you are posting relevant content that positions you as an expert in your field.
- Network and join communities within the industry
- Do a fantastic job at every engagement. (Your reputation means everything).
- Stay connected with former co-workers
Stay in Touch with Your Recruiter
A good Technical Recruiter is a fantastic resource (and I’m not saying that because I AM one). They WANT you to succeed and are working on your behalf. Plus they know the industry and have loads of connections. They’ll also have insider information on jobs that may never be posted. Make sure to let them know if you’re thinking about changing roles, taking a little time off, if you’re willing to move to a different city, etc. Give your recruiter plenty of time and information so he or she can begin seeking out the perfect role for you. A great recruiter will be working behind the scenes to ensure you have your next opportunity lined up!
Speak with Your Current Manager
If you’ve considered it and would like to continue working with your current company, approach the subject with your manager. If you’ve made a positive impression, chances are they will be happy to give you a recommendation if something else within the company comes up – or possibly even extend your current contract. Even if they are unable to keep you onsite, maintain the relationship – that’s an excellent contact to have.
Technical skills continue to be in high demand. It’s a GREAT time to be a technical professional, so chances are it won’t be long at all until you land your next big role. The more thinking, planning and listening you do, the better the odds of making a smooth transition into your next dream role.
Ready to start discussing the next steps in your IT career? Our team at CREDO Technical Staffing would love to help! Give us a call at 844.633.9011!
Mindy Mihajlov, Manager of Technical Recruiting
Follow Mindy on twitter – @MindyRecruiter