Top tips for first-time contractors: how to increase your employability

Einsichten>Top tips for first-time contractors: how to increase your employability
Austin Vita
Jan 29, 2024

In recent years, there’s been a shift in the job market, with many candidates leaving the security and comfort of their full-time jobs to pursue contracting.

While freelancing may not be for everyone, it can provide opportunities that permanent jobs may not - complete independence is one of the top reasons we often hear when candidates decide to try out contract work.

If you're considering to give freelancing a go - great! Check out our top tips that will help you get started as a contractor and win more projects in the future

1. How to structure CV or project summary? 

An already well-established contractor would take on average 2-3 jobs per year, meaning their CV has the potential of being quite lengthy if every single project is listed. That’s why we suggest that you keep your CVs short and snappy, with only the most relevant information and experience listed. 

Select only the most relevant projects you were involved in and make sure to highlight:

  • The role you played in the project (e.g. project manager etc.)

  • Your product knowledge and expertise

  • How you contributed to the success of the project - include all tangible results to showcase your impact

 Note: soft skills are not as important for contractors as they are for permanent employees, so make sure to focus on listing your specialised skills first.


 2. What languages are most preferred for contract work?

With the rise of remote working and more employers dipping into the global talent pool, this is the best time for you to show off your linguistic skills. 

While English is still a preferred language for many employers, other languages, such as German, are becoming increasingly popular. If you speak more than one language, especially those that are widely used, you’ll be a more desirable candidate to many hiring managers, so make sure to list your proficiency and any language certificates you hold on your CV.


3. How can I secure more contracts? 

Flexibility is key when it comes to freelancing, including the type of contracts you’re willing to accept - remote, hybrid or on-site. By widening your search to all three, you’re opening yourself up to more opportunities.

With that being said, during your next job search, consider the distance you may have to travel to the site in case of an emergency, manual testing or development work. 

It’s also worth checking with the hiring manager if they’re expecting you to do any ad-hoc on-site visits, even if the position is listed as fully remote.

4. What’s the notice period for contractors and how can I manage my availability?

Don’t forget that the time in which you are available to take on your next project is also a deciding factor, as often contractors are required to start within 2-4 weeks, or on a rare occasion - within 48 hours.

Make sure to keep track of your ongoing contracts and when they may be coming to an end. When you’re preparing for an interview, make a note of your deadlines so you are able to manage expectations of your starting date and how many hours you can dedicate to this particular project.

5. Should I include references on my CV for contract work? 

Considering how quickly some contractors are required to start on a project, we suggest you have your references ready and listed on your CV, so we can get you onboard as efficiently as possible.

While most people have two referees listed, it’s good practice to have an extra one on reserve in case you’re asked for an additional reference.

Make sure you have your referees permission to share their details!

Hopefully we gave you a glimpse into the life of a contractor that will help you decide whether this type of work is for you. Don’t forget that there are many other things to consider when going solo and even more benefits to reap over time.

Let us help you find new and exciting opportunities, so you can focus on what you do best! Register with us and one of our consultants will be in touch with you soon!