When you land a new client the last thing you want to think about is the contract ends, but if you are working internationally it pays to anticipate the outcome because of the logistics involved. Depending on the length of the contract, you may have made significant changes to be able to deliver your services abroad and you might like the new job and location and wish to stay there.
In that case, you will want to be proactive as your international contract is ending, to either continue working with the current client or locate new clients. Remember, you are self-employed, and no single client can be relied on forever. So even while you are under contract there are steps you can take to secure future work opportunities.
1. Update Your Resume and CV
As a contractor, your resume or CV is a marketing piece and should reflect your most recent work experience. That means including your current job, project details, responsibilities and time frame. Also, if you acquired any new skills or training on the job those should be noted, as well as any certifications.
Your goal is to re-market yourself to what you see as the existing or future demands in your field, and that is an ongoing process of adapting your professional message for new client prospects and recruiters.
2. Consider a Contract Extension
If the work with your current client has been mutually rewarding, you probably have a good shot at securing a contract extension. One of the keys to an extension is a good relationship with your supervisor/manager since they will be instrumental in recommending to re-hire you in some capacity.
Here are a few tips to accomplish this:
- Keep a good rapport throughout your contract, so that lines of communication are open with your manager
- Approach your boss well before the international contract is ending to enquire about an extension
- Consider how your skills might fit into other duties in the company, and communicate those as relating to other projects
- If you have a good relationship with management, you can even ask for help transferring to a different team where you fit in
- If you are flexible and willing to take on short-term or part-time roles, let management know they can consider you as a resource
3. Upgrade Your Skills
One active step that you can take while still under contract is to find ways to upgrade your skills and make yourself more marketable. Your current project may have required a new set of technical skills that can make you more appealing to new clients. If not, you can still avail of outside training or courses that can supplement your current experience.
Even if you are working in a foreign country, there are still opportunities to network with other professionals or recruiters. Most major cities will have ex-pat social or professional groups that meet regularly, and by being involved you might learn about similar jobs in the same locale. At the very least you can develop contacts and friendships among other employees and contractors working for multinationals.
It is important to keep in contact with recruiters and let them know your timeline and when you will become available again. You can also reach out on LinkedIn for new job opportunities.
5. Consider Remote Work or Freelancing with Multiple Clients
While it’s great to have a single client for a long-term project, don’t overlook the option of expanding your service network to multiple clients in different locations. If your skills lend themselves to remote or virtual work platforms, this can increase your market of potential clients exponentially. You can take on any number of clients and projects from small to large, and any of those could eventually lead to a long-term contract.
The beauty of this approach is you can locate anywhere and offer your services remotely, so if you like your current foreign base there is no need to move. Or you can begin to organize your efforts for your eventual return home. It does take some time to find new clients, so plan accordingly. There may also be a need to change your work visa status if it is linked to your current client located abroad, and you want to remain in the same country.
Contractor Taxation can help you with work visas as well as other challenges in managing your international contracts. Please contact us for assistance at any time when your international contract is ending.