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Freelance expert Dave Chaplin gives some contractors and freelancers advice on how to chase new opportunities in the post-Covid workplace.
As we ease out of lockdown, many contractors and freelancers will be keen to reconnect with potential clients to secure their next project or role. Dave Chaplin is CEO and founder of contracting authority ContractorCalculator, and the author of The Contractors’ Handbook– Third Edition, which provides essential guidance to freelancers and contractors, whether they are new to freelancing or experienced old-hands. He has some advice for contractors who might be job hunting from home:
Recruiters and end hirers will be inundated with CVs and applications in a job-scarce market. You are going to need to stand out from others. Keep your communications succinct, and highly targeted, by focusing upfront on how you can help the firm achieve their objectives.
Zoom meetings and interviews have become the norm over the last three months. However, don’t do zoom calls in your pyjamas. Dress as you would for the office! Make sure your webcam is positioned properly, so you are looking directly at the person interviewing you, instead of appearing to speak to someone else in the room.
If you are on a laptop, then raise the height of it, so that the perspective is the same as if you were having a conversation with someone sat at a desk. No-one wants to look up your nose.
As always, make the interview about the client, and not you. The client wants to spend their money, on you, to solve their problems. So, focusing on what the client can do for you is the wrong focus, unless, of course, people are fighting over themselves to hire you. Even then, make it about them.
Avoid the sweetie jar approach where you just dump your life story on your clients to pick from. Target the CV for the specific job and, on the front page, state what you do in your profile, your list of skills and your key achievements for your clients.
An effective CV does not detail your life story across several pages. Don’t expect the reader to take the time to fish out your qualities that are of use to them. You need to prioritise and present your relevant skills to them in such a way that you perfectly match the assignment’s requirements and clinch the contract.
Your CV needs to scream “I am your ideal solution” to the reader within 20 seconds of them picking it up. Tailor your CV to demonstrate how you can add value to the project you are pitching for. Find out what your potential client values and what they are seeking to achieve from the project you are pitching for.
Always include measurable outcomes of your projects in your CV and explain them subsequently during the interview. Spell out how you applied the skills and experience you have and achieved X outcome over Y timescale, which resulted in Z greater productivity/higher sales/bigger profits. If you are new to freelancing, recall your learnings from previous jobs.
Use something called “test closes” during the interview which is a subtle sales technique to ascertain whether they are keen on you. At the end state how excited you are about the role and ask them if they are keen to move forward. Or if you sense it went really well, ask them “When would you like me to start?”
*Dave Chaplin is CEO and founder of contracting authority ContractorCalculator, and the author of The Contractors’ Handbook – Third Edition, which provides essential guidance to freelancers and contractors, whether they are new to freelancing or experienced old-hands. Our sister site, workingmums.co.uk, is holding a Facebook Live session from 12 to 1pm on 8th July on CV advice.