Networking is crucial for all professionals who want to be successful in their fields, but it is especially important for contractors. Because many contractors leverage referrals, recommendations and industry relationships into job opportunities, it is essential that they continually create professional relationships and gain as much exposure as they can. Here are some tips for contractors looking to refine their networking skills.
The rise of social media has made networking online quite simple – and basically essential – for people looking to boost their careers. Contractors who want to build greater networks should start by reaching out to people on platforms like LinkedIn that aim to connect people with professional opportunities. In addition to following colleagues, friends and former classmates, contractors should use LinkedIn to build relationships with industry and trade leaders, as well as companies they are interested in working for. Aside from this channel, which is used exclusively for professional interactions, contractors can benefit from connecting with like-minded people on Meetup and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well.
Find a mentor
Networking can be an overwhelming process, especially for contractors without many initial connections. Professionals who are not sure how to navigate the world of professional relationships should try to secure mentors in their fields. Ideal mentors would have many years of industry experience and have spent some time doing contract or freelance work so they could offer appropriate guidance and advice. Contractors who are serious about gaining traction in their fields should seek out leaders who they want to emulate and ask to pick their brains. Establishing a rapport with someone who has valuable connections can be extremely beneficial for contractors struggling to find opportunities on their own. As a CDI contractor, one of the most valuable connections is your CDI recruiter. Staying in touch with your CDI recruiter and continually checking out the career portal can additionally help minimize gaps between assignments.
Of course, one of the best ways contractors can get their names out there is by getting out there themselves. Attending industry conferences, job fairs, conventions, networking events and even alumni reunions can all lead to professional opportunities. Before attending any professional or social gathering where contractors may meet people from their industries, they should make sure they have copies of their resumes and business cards they can share. While simply swapping email addresses with potential connections is alright, having these tangible documents ready make contractors appear motivated and serious.
Network on assignment
Contractors can also benefit from making connections at the workplace while on assignment. Offices are filled with professionals who are valuable resources: They can point contractors toward future jobs, offer industry advice and even serve as references. To take advantage of networking opportunities while on assignment, contractors should approach each job as if they are permanent employees. Attending social and professional events with coworkers, eating lunch in a communal area and connecting with colleagues online can present great opportunities for networking. Just because contractors may only work for a designated amount of time with a company, it does not mean they cannot forge lasting relationships with their fellow professionals.