Even before the global pandemic hit, contractor roles were being affected due to the (then) upcoming IR35. Fast forward six months, and IR35 may have been delayed, offering some relief, but COVID has had a devastating impact, leaving up-to 50% of IT contractors out of work. 
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are starting to see things pick-up again, albeit cautious and slow, and most businesses are now able to fully operate with a remote workforce, meaning contractors can now effectively work for any organisation, globally, no matter where they are based - so with opportunities starting to emerge, here’s our guide to adapting and surviving in this ever-changing world. 
Embrace the new norms 
Many of our contractors report missing face-to-face contact, but, love it or hate it, it has become completely normal to conduct meetings using Teams and other video conferencing platforms. What’s more, flexible working hours around families and other commitments, coupled with a lack of commute, have resulted in increased productively, according to both our clients and contractor partners, and in an uncertain world, it’s clear these new habits may not be as short lived as we first thought - so to survive is to embrace, not resist. 
Get IR35-savvy 
It may have been put off for this year, but IR35 will come into play next April and all contractors and clients must be prepared. Our IR35-friendly approach makes it possible for organisations to work with contractors outside of IR35 with confidence, but it makes sense for self-employed specialists, and the companies that use them, to get to grips with the intricacies now to avoid a fall-out next spring. Our recent IR35 blog should help you with that. 
Stay active 
It will take quite some time for confidence to rebuild and projects to fully restart, but things are slowly getting back to normal and opportunities do exist. With competition fiercer than ever, it’s critical to remain active and positive; keep your LinkedIn up-to-date with regular posts and be seen to be engaging with potential clients, recruiters, internal talent advisors, hiring managers and other industry insiders. 
Review your LinkedIn profile making sure your skills and experience come through clearly and concisely, register with consultancies, such as Iridium, to keep on the radar, get involved in webinars and contact hiring managers directly to introduce yourself. 
Prepare to be flexible or diversify 
There will always be a need for project-focused and augmentation resources, but with the uncertainty currently surrounding everything, companies are being more hesitant in starting new pieces of work so it’s worth being prepared to do something different, or perhaps even look at permanent opportunities to wait things out and see what happens in the future. 
Get the basics right 
No matter how long you’ve been in this game, it’s always worth tidying-up your CV. Again, keep it simple, clear and concise, making it very easy to achieve cut-through in a crowded market and allowing for prospective employers to quickly see where you are strong and which roles you are ideal for. 
Once you’ve secured a video conferencing interview, make sure you stand-out from the other applicants by not only coming across confident in what you can do, but really demonstrating how you can provide the solution for a client’s problem or project. Don’t hold-back in following-up on the interview after a couple of days, it shows you’re interested in the role. 
Please feel free to contact Ben.Dainton@ir77.co.uk if you would like some objective advice on your CV or to discuss potential opportunities. 
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