All contractors will at one time find themselves on the bench. This is the period between contracts when your latest assignment has finished, and your new contract has either yet to commence or yet to materialise. Being on the bench can be a desired move for many Ltd Company professionals, those who wish to take some time out, go travelling, or spend more time with the family etc. but for some, being on the bench is not by choice. For those people, we have compiled five tips for staying productive between contracts.
- Get on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the largest online professional network and utilising this free platform can have a very positive impact on your business. Being out of contract is the perfect time to update your LinkedIn profile and build your online presence. By connecting with like for like professionals and potential clients you are increasing your presence in your industry and you are increasing your chances of being noticed and identifying opportunities.
- Update your CV – Having a strong CV is very important for contractors and making sure that your CV is up to date and of the highest quality is a great way to spend those empty days whilst on the bench. As a Ltd Company contractor, your CV is the most powerful tool you have when making a first impression on a prospective agency or end client. A good CV should showcase your skills, your experience, and should be a positive reflection of your professionalism and competence.
- Take a Course – When you are out of contract you will no doubt have more free time than usual, and instead of using this on mindless procrastination or that next Netflix box-set, why not take some initiative and build on your professional repertoire. Training courses can be a great way to build your confidence and professional experience and will aid in bolstering your CV and skillset too – not to mention that you’ll also simply be staying productive between contracts! The great thing about taking training courses as a Ltd Company contractor is that the cost incurred for this would be classed as a legitimate business expense, and the travel to and from the training site (if it’s not online) would also be tax deductible.
- Network – Good old-fashioned networking still holds a lot of value, and although LinkedIn seems to have replaced ‘after work drinks’ as the new place to meet people, going to industry exhibitions and open days can still prove positive for you and your business. Rubbing shoulders with potential recruiters is a great way to make connections with the people who may one day help you land a contract and speaking with likeminded contractors can assist in building a professional network that may prove to be very effective.
- Review your Accountant – What better time to review your contractor accountant than those weeks/months spent out of contract? Taking a step back and assessing your business needs and the service your Ltd Company is getting from its accountant can be a very beneficial undertaking. When looking at switching accountants a contractor should consider the service that they are receiving, the cost of the service provider, and whether your accountant is providing you with pro-active and effective advice. Next time you spend time on the bench, why not give your accountant a call, and ask them how they can better support your business?
Contracting is an ever-growing profession and we strive to ensure that Ltd Company professionals are operating effectively throughout their contracts. If you have any questions about contracting, and what you can do when you’re ‘on the bench’, please feel free to give one of our business advisors a call.