Many of the IT contractors we place are seasoned pros. They know the ins and outs of starting a new IT contract and what they need to do to enjoy a successful period of work.

However, if you are beginning your IT contractor journey, the path to success may not be so clear.

Here are some tips on how you can form some great habits as you begin your IT contracting career.

Tips for IT contractors.

Day 1. Get the basics right.

First impressions count so make sure your first day goes without a hitch.

Ensure you’re in the right place at the right time and if you are working remotely, make sure you are logged on and ready to ‘meet’ with your line manager and team.

If you are on-site, do you have a good understanding of the dress code and the working environment before you arrive? If you have used a recruitment partner, your consultant can help you with these details.

To help, you may like to have a point of contact within the organisation before you begin. This could be your line manager within the client or someone within the HR department.

This person should be on hand to answer any questions and ensure you are clear about any first-day practicalities. For example, will the client provide the hardware you need, or will you require your own laptop?

If you are working remotely, make sure the client is notified if these items haven’t been received in good time.

Have you received and read any relevant information? Have you returned the onboarding documents needed, such as your professional insurance or proof of Right to Work?

Be visible and make yourself known.

Even if you are working remotely, make sure you are visible and integrate yourself within the team.

If the client offers hybrid working, you may like to consider working within the office for the first few weeks so you can get to know your colleagues and get a feel for the company culture.

Unless the role is 100% remote, it may be wise to attend the office at least once a month following the initial induction.  This effort will help you connect with your colleagues and may make the difference between whether your contract is extended or not.

Concentrate on your emotional awareness.

More and more, companies are looking beyond technical skills. Soft skills and emotional intelligence are critical for success.

Emotional intelligence is very important for IT contractors. The ability to seamlessly integrate into new teams requires empathy and emotional awareness.

You will need to listen and communicate to get the best from the team and the project.

Asking simple questions will open the channels of communication and make sure both you and the client get the most from your appointment.  Some examples may be

  • “Where are you with your project at the moment?”
  • “Where do you need help?”
  • “What will constitute a successful outcome of my work?”

If you need to make changes to the project, you need to approach these sensitively. You may like to frame this as

  • “I respect what you did before but this is how I think we can improve it in the future”.


When you start, make sure you gather as much information about documenting and documentation as possible. For example, how does the client name its files so that all the information is accessible to everyone? Does the date go first? Do they file by client name or project name?  These details will make sure you are working on the same page as your new colleagues.

Every contractor should document their work and have a log of what they did, and where they are now. This means that any new contractor or the client will be able to work with what you’ve done after you’ve left.

It is best practice to document everything – even if you are never asked for it!  You don’t want to be in a situation where you are asked for your documentation in the final days of your contract, and you haven’t done it.

Ask for clarification if you are unsure. Make sure expectations are clear before it causes a problem.

Be on top of your timesheets and admin.

Timesheets are the holy grail of IT contracting. To fail to submit your timesheet or be unsure of the process will mean you may not be paid on time. Be aware of the nitty-gritty…

  • Who signs them?
  • Who authorises expenses?
  • How often should you submit them, and to whom?
  • Is there a portal, or do they go directly to payroll?

Be aware of the processes. Not only will this ensure you are paid on time, but you will also present yourself as being organised and professional.

In summary.

IT contracting can be a very lucrative and rewarding career. To ensure you set yourself up for success you should always try to make yourself as easy to work with as possible.

  • Be prepared.
  • Be visible and make an effort to get to know your new colleagues and team.
  • Be emotionally aware and sensitive.
  • Be aware of process and documentation.
  • Be organised.

Working with Ignite will ensure you enjoy a successful integration into your next contract role. We provide a point of contact at every stage; from managing your first day to making sure you get paid on time.  We’ll also help negotiate and organise the extension of your IT contract.

Are you an IT contractor looking for your next role? Whatever stage you’re at in your IT contracting career, reach out to us today!

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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