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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Google+ - Get Involved!

Savvy freelancers and contractors should get involved in Google+ and seize the opportunity to market your products and your services in new and creative ways. You have a chance to carve out a niche before competition gets on board and look for avenues of opportunity to move in with a sales pitch. A presence on Google+ may well land you future IT contract jobs!
The more you engage with Google+, the more you will get out of it. No one can doubt the impact that social media has had upon business in the twenty first century and Google+ won’t be one to buck the trend. Adapting to a new platform of communication can be daunting at times, but there are a few steps you can take to make the adjustment a bit easier.
Google+ is a great way for IT contractors to meet others from their sector, and a great opportunity for networking. You can search for people by name, company, interest, location or topic - a handy tool for the freelancer. Circles plays up the idea that the information you share is not suitable for everyone, and offers you the opportunity to share different things with different people; create online circles to mirror your real life social groups, no matter how niche.  Google+ allows you to create targeted circles, so you can keep tabs on the issues that matter most to you and your business.
What’s great about circles is that it isn’t public. Adding someone to a circle isn’t like adding them as a friend on Facebook; instead, it personalizes the stream of information you receive so it fits your interests. Once you have ‘circled’ everyone you know to a circle, start adding people you don’t to widen your network.
Google+ is all about sharing what matters with the people who will appreciate it most. When you deem something to be of interest, you can give it a +1, which offers a signal to the creator that their post was of value. The +1 tool is a great way to meet people who share similar interests to yourself or work within the same field, from which you may just learn something from.
At the moment, Google+ is mainly inhabited by those who work in IT, technology and media so IT consultants and contractors are advised to get involved! The greater your presence on Google+, the easier it is for others to discover you and your services, and more interaction. This can only be a good thing for business! 

Monday, 8 August 2011

IT salaries on the increase – think about making the switch to freelancing!

Recent statistics show that employers have to pay big to get the right man on the job. In 2011, IT professionals are paid 7.5% more annually than the previous year, reaching an average wage of £46,000, up from £42,800 in 2010. If employers are willing to pay up to find suitably skilled staff, there is no reason why employers won’t consider IT contractors who demand higher pay and more challenging roles on account of their experience. All in all, good news for IT professionals and IT contractors looking for IT contract jobs!
The figures speak for themselves, but what’s more is the average bonus of 19% that was paid to 56% of IT professionals in 2011, accounting for a pay out of over £9.4 billion across the IT industry. IT managers and directors have clocked the dangers of an understaffed department and as Paul Winchester comments - “technology services were among the hardest hit during the recession but companies are now realising that unless these departments are properly staffed, they face expensive efficiency deficits, which hold back growth”. Now the economic climate is looking up, and small business are beginning to find their feet once again, employers are investing in their IT and technology systems to gain a competitive advantage and looking to employ specialist staff that they can rely on. The salary increases reflect the need to spend more money on experienced and talented staff rather than simply paying employees for working – which is where IT contractors step in!
A third of employees expect their company headcount to fall in the next twelve months, whilst 41% expect staff numbers to increase. Clearly then, despite the higher pay cheques professionals do not feel wholly comfortable in their current position and Paul Winchester offers a word of advice to IT professionals – “If you aren’t feeling confident about the future of your current role, it might pay big dividends to consider your options elsewhere”. Ever thought of applying your skills and experience to a challenging and exciting IT contract job? Given the current circumstances, and the trend of taking on IT contractors on account of their knowledge and expertise, it might be worth a thought!