Put your business relationships to work

As an independent contractor working in an ultra competitive marketplace, and in one of the fastest growing sectors of our labor economy, it is important not only to develop relationships with hiring managers, but to put those connections to work.

Making sure your relationships proactively work for you ensures you won’t miss valuable opportunities and will be first in line to grab the most lucrative and desirable projects.

I know you’re wondering why you need to spend your valuable time developing and managing relationships as opposed to doing the work you love.

Whether your calendar is full for the next few months or wide open, spending time networking with key hiring managers and other independent contractors will give you better access to the projects you want, when you want them. No more wrapping up a project and then scrambling to find new work or taking gigs you don’t want just to pay the bills.

Hiring managers of any size firm often juggle finding independent contractors in between hiring their regular employees. If you are not at the top of mind when they’re filling vacancies you’re likely to miss out.

How do you best develop these working relationships with hiring managers?

Find hiring managers who will become mentors and advisors

Find ten to fifteen hiring managers you have worked with or have a personal relationship with and keep them updated on your status, availability, what type of work you are looking for and when you are looking for work.

Stay in touch

Figure out how these hiring managers want to stay in touch with you – they may prefer to use email, a CRM system or a form on a website – and regularly stay in touch with them. Send updated versions of your resume and portfolio. Make sure they know they can reach out to you for potential opportunities and can send your information along for other projects, to other hiring managers.

Become a value addition

The important thing to keep in mind when building these relationships is that a hiring manager’s time is just as valuable as yours. In the same way you wouldn’t want someone wasting your time, don’t waste theirs. Don’t make it difficult for them to keep in touch with you. Be sensitive to their time constraints. Expect that they get bombarded by job seekers looking for work, every day. The key is to provide value for their business so they will be motivated to provide value to yours.

Having a group of colleagues on your side, ready to help you find the highest quality work is one of the most worthwhile relationships you will build as an independent contractor. Knowing how to develop and maintain these partnerships over the years, will broaden your network, your brand and access to the best work.