Attracting clients proffering well-paid assignments is a perennial concern of contractors who make their livings through umbrella companies. A leading personal branding specialist advises jobbing contractors to smarten up their online presence if they want to find favour with potential employers.

Speaking to the PCG, Lesley Everett cautions placement-hunting PAYE umbrella contractors to be a little cannier over social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Employers routinely Google prospective candidates and are increasingly vetting contractors online before making an offer. If they do not like what they see, this offer is unlikely to materialise.

Too many people use social media sites as if they were only visible to intimate friends and family, but anyone can look at the latest Facebook status or tweet. A careless comment or a dyspeptic tirade could cost the hapless contractor an assignment – and if a potential employer has taken offence, word could travel easily through the client grapevine.

Ms Everett notes, however, that when used more wisely these same sites can promote a contractor’s expertise and build a professional brand.

She also drew attention to the growing importance of professional social media sites such as LinkedIn. Keeping a profile up-to-date is more and more important these days, as is ensuring that sections detailing expertise and dedicated experience are accurate. She advocates adding a clear summary statement to the LinkedIn profile too.

The moral of the story? To get ahead, get spruced up online and build a profile you can be proud of.

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