Embracing the ‘Marketing’ mindset to win more work

Winning work is about marketing rather than just using recruitment agencies says Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors. This article takes an interesting view of how contractors can grow their business and stay off the bench.

Matt goes on to say that most contractors, freelancers and interim managers started their career in permanent jobs and gravitated towards their self-employed status once they had gained enough experience. This makes perfect sense, however the legacy of this is that many contractors still attack their market as if they were a job seeker rather than thinking of their efforts as ‘marketing’.

working on linkedin

All businesses have some kind of marketing and business development strategy with supporting marketing collateral that is designed to convince customers to use their services, yet for some reason, contractors (who are after all, business owners) are often reluctant to embrace this logic.

The truth is, those contractors who are successful do embrace this logic and have just as robust marketing strategies and supporting marketing collateral as any larger business. These marketing strategies are designed to win work in both the short, medium and longer term.

Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes and some unexplored opportunities for marketing your contractor business.

Your CV

Let’s consider an analogy, businesses don’t have home-made websites, so why would you have a home-made CV?! Your CV is your most important tool for winning work and 92% of shortlisting decisions are made through careful scrutiny of CVs.

We recommend two formats of CV that incorporate an elevator pitch, a value proposition, several FAB statements (sentences describing your talents written in a features and benefits style), a key skills section for ‘CV SEO’, at least three mini case studies centred around your biggest achievements, and social proofing by way of Recommendations (amongst other typical pieces of info that you would expect such as a Professional Experience section).

Does your CV incorporate these powerful marketing techniques?

Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is now a critical tool for networking and marketing yourself to clients with 85% of decision-makers / your business contacts likely to check out your profile. Your LinkedIn profile should be a lot more than a copy and paste of your CV and should incorporate a value proposition, a description of how you can add value to your clients, as well as providing some examples to showcase the work you have done for clients.

Have you spent as much time and effort on your LinkedIn profile as you have on your CV?


Are you using the power of networking to develop relationships with the right people at the right time to expand your potential client base. Networking doesn’t come naturally to many people, but those who embrace it have less downtime during the year than those who don’t. Simple tactics such as re-connecting with previous clients a few months after each assignment can be very fruitful, but there are a variety of other networking strategies that you can use to grow your business.

Do you embrace networking?

Client Presentations / Interviewing

It might seem obvious, but no one becomes good at anything that they don’t receive training on and then subsequently practice. The problem is that many people think they are good in interviews even though it’s something they have done no more than a dozen times in their entire life!

The issue here is that many people “come across well” in interviews but unfortunately “coming across well” shouldn’t be confused with being a good interviewer.

There are deeper strategies that can be used to really turbo charge your offer rates and enable you to negotiate better rates.

Marketing Channels

It’s very easy to rely on agencies to find you work and why not? If they are coming up with the goods, then don’t fix what isn’t broken! The problem is that if you are just relying on agencies, and applying for contracts online, then you are likely to have some baron spells at some stage. Applying for positions through agencies can be a bit of a bun fight and successful contractors have a more holistic approach to their marketing efforts.

If you would like to explore a more holistic marketing strategy, if you want to know how to create a killer CV and LinkedIn profile, and if you need to up the ante on your networking skills, then you can join Matt’s team for an online webinar / winning-work workshop on Tuesday 26th November at 7.15pm.

You can join from the comfort of your own home using your PC or laptop; all you need is a decent internet connection and maybe a nice pot of coffee. Book your spot using the link below.

Meet the author

Matt Craven Photo.jpg
Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors