Before you dive in, you might want to look at my page on dealing with recruiters, especially if you are going to be dealing with multiple recruiters at once.
In rough order of the success I’ve had with them over the 7 years of contracting:
By far the most reliable source of leads. Slightly shonky website, bit fiddly to use but it seems that all the recruiters post their wares here.
- Upload a pdf cv
- Run a not particularly tight search (e.g. asp.net as a keyword with 50 mile radius, ordered by distance)
- Blindly send your cv to all of them without worrying too much or bothering to address the post.
This might sound lazy, but in my experience I almost never hear back about the advertised role, but what this does do is let recruiters that specialize in your particular skills know you are actively looking, which is a lot easier for them to make use of than hoping to tempt someone who isn’t.
The kind of work I like is very rare on here, but I had one of my best ever contracts through this, and made a good friend who I’m still in touch with after a fair few years. I’d say the quality of companies on here is generally higher than average.
By posting regularly the progress of my search and asking contacts for help I have had some luck getting referrals. I’ve never used LinkedIn’s proper job posting system but it’s probably worth checking out.
It’s worth being careful if you are looking before leaving. I tend to not look till I’ve finished the previous contract and had some time to refresh so that hasn’t been an issue for me.
It’s probably worth reaching out to recruiters directly.
They cold email us so no reason not to go the other way when you need a job. Could work out for everyone.
Here’s a useful list that you could use as a source of leads as well as a way of filtering all the inbound email into a folder https://github.com/alexmbird/uk-it-recruiter-domains/blob/master/domains.txt
These are ones I’ve come across that you might want to cover if you are looking to not miss anything, but I haven’t either used or succeeded with these myself. Suggestions for additions to this list welcome, just drop me an email or raise a PR.
- https://www.upwork.com/ - seems to be low paid commodity labour on an international market largely, however I think some people have managed to break through this and become in demand. At that point you’re basically an entrepreneur.
Places to find even more
About this post
Someone I know is looking for work (hello!) so rather than just emailing I thought I’d make a more permanent list of all the places I’ve come across for finding work as a contract developer.
For context, I’m a backend developer, specialising in Microsoft ASP.NET / C# & SQL Server databases, with a smattering of other things (t-shaped people as they say).