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IT Contractors - here's 5 ways to fast track your career

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It's a competitive world out there and many people want to achieve instant success, particularly in the IT industry. Most fail at the first hurdle and then end up frustrated with themselves when they are unable to achieve their goals.

Very few people, IT contractors included, have the patience to actually sit down and analyse their own strengths and areas of opportunity well enough to set measurable, realistic and achievable goals in their personal and professional lives.

If you're one of these people (go on, admit it if you are), you may want to pay close attention for here are some handy tips to fast track your IT contracting career.

Advertise & build relationships

This is probably the single most important aspect of your business. Present yourself and your products or services in all the areas where you are more likely to get noticed, both on and off-line. Design and maintain an outstanding web site and try to get the maximum number of unbiased word of mouth referrals from your professional network of other IT contractors, recruitment agencies and clients.

Build yourself a reputation

From the first day of your IT contracting career, try and establish yourself as an authority in your sector - someone who encompasses knowledge, honesty, fair play, commitment, solidity and above all, expertise. Recruitment agencies and clients appreciate all these qualities and will keep coming back for more, bringing others in tow.

Be professional

If you're working outside of IR35, make sure you have abundantly clear contracts. Use proper invoices for billing purposes, invest in business cards and letterheads, a business email address and separate work mobile phone.

Keep in regular contact with your client and work to strict schedules to ensure you never to miss a deadline. Manage your time efficiently and over-deliver as often as you can. Use the best hardware and software you can afford; it will pay for itself in the long run.

Broaden your horizon

Use the full power of the web to leverage your knowledge and skills. The most successful IT contractors are the ones that take the time to invest in themselves. Technology is evolving all the time and since you are the biggest asset to your business, the importance of training and development cannot be underestimated.

Put things in perspective

If things aren't exactly going your way, try not to let the the pressures of being an IT contractor get to you. It can be pretty tough not knowing where the next gig is coming from but it's best to keep things in perspective.

It's also really important to have a life outside of your business. Activities such as programming can be all consuming so try take some time out for yourself now and again just to re-charge the batteries if nothing else. You'll return to work in a much better frame of mind, ready to take the world by storm again!

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