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Contractors: How to find your next contract

Posted by Alysha Richards

One of the biggest myths about being a contactor is that it’s less stable than being a permanent employee. That’s true for some independent contractors, but if you know what you’re doing there’s plenty of work to be found.
Here’s what we’re seeing successful contractors do to get work.


1. Master the Fundamentals

Like in any sport, if you don’t have good fundamentals then you’ll never be able to compete.

For finding more contract work, here are the things you should already be doing:

  • Regularly improve and maintain a wide range of relevant skills.
  • Keep your CV up-to-date. This is a no-brainer but is still neglected by many contractors.
  • Be professional and considerate with your current employer. Their reference is the most important to potential employers.
  • Start looking for new contracts about a month before your current contract is set to expire.
  • Be open to short-term contracts. These can often lead to longer-term placements.

Once you’ve got these fundamentals working for you, then you can start looking more aggressively for your next contract.

2. Make use of your network. Know what you want.

Reach out to anyone you know (people you’ve worked with, friends and family, any contacts you may have in your personal directory) and inquire about any jobs that might be going. Chances are, if they know you, your skills and your experience, they might be able to connect you with people in their networks – and from there, things can start to really snowball.

There are few things to keep in mind when finding contract work through your existing network, however – primarily in how to interact with potential clients. When approaching someone for a potential work opportunity, either through a casual coffee meeting or on a more formal cold call, be very clear about what you want to get from them. A potential client’s time is incredibly valuable. The more you take note of and appreciate them taking the time to meet with you, the more you stand out as a potential contractor.

3. Get connected to some recruitment agencies.

Recruitment agents are incredibly connected to companies and organisations that are actively looking for work. The sheer number of job openings and available candidates means going through a recruitment is most likely the most direct way of finding contract work, if your network leads turn up dry.

Find someone at a recruitment agency (it could even be as general as uploading an up-to-date CV to a known recruitment agency). Look for any opportunity to display your interest in a particular job.

How do you determine which recruitment agency to use? There are multiple types of recruitment agencies out there, ranging from IT recruitment to engineering recruitment, to hospitality. Understanding the type of work you’re looking for (or have come from) is a great first step. Are you looking for a long term placement? Or more of a short term contract? What type of contract work, industry, and organisations are you looking to be involved with? Check out the different types of recruitment agencies below. Some of these are massive, international agencies that don’t really have one area of expertise; others are more specific, such as The Creative Store and Beca; while some are more geared towards really empowering contractors, such as Potentia and Find.

It’s encouraged to visit the websites of some of the above recruitment agencies. Keep in mind what kind of work you’re after, and be sure to consult the job boards of a number of these agencies: some jobs get posted on one site, others get posted across the board.

4. Consult some online job boards 

If the recruitment agency route doesn’t pan out, there are some more ‘indirect’ ways of finding contract work.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a rapidly growing resource for recruitment and can connect you with the people at companies that interest you. And who knows? You might actually know someone who works at a company you’ve always thought about working for, or in a field of work that you hadn’t previously given much thought to. Ensuring you have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn is essential to finding jobs that fit your set of skills and experience.

Seek: New Zealand’s self-described number one employment marketplace, Seek is full of jobs. With thousands of opportunities listed, and hundreds added each day, Seek definitely features the greatest number (and variation) of contract jobs

TradeMe started out selling out physical items, but it’s since branched out into the property and job marketplaces. As with Seek, there are hundreds of available jobs on TradeMe, ranging from odd jobs (like a night watchman) to more long-term contracts.


Hnry for Independent Contractors

If you’d rather not worry about the admin, even if you need help finding work, Hnry can provide you with the tools to hit the ground running as a contractor.

Hnry automatically pays and files taxes for independent contractors, so they never think about tax again!

Hnry’s team of tax experts will manage all your expenses, so you get the right tax relief.

As a registered tax agent with both IRD and ACC, we’ll represent you to these government agencies and ensure that you’re compliant and up-to-date on all of your obligations.

Click below to learn more about what Hnry does for contractors.

DISCLAIMER: The information on our website is for general educational purposes only. It doesn't cover all situations and circumstances, and shouldn't be taken as direct tax advice. If you're looking for specific help with your taxes, join Hnry and our team of experts can provide you with assistance tailored to your business needs.

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