blog post

How to be a successful contingent worker - for candidates to get ready to embrace direct sourcing

Download PDF

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Skills and Qualities
  • Marketing oneself
  • Navigating Challenges
  • Understand the Pros and Cons of Contingent Work
  • Develop In-Demand Skills and Expertise
  • Build a Strong Professional Network
  • Master the Art of Self-Promotion
  • Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Conclusion


The job market is changing rapidly, and one of the most significant changes is the rise of the contingent workforce.

A contingent worker is someone who works for a company on a temporary or contract basis, often through a direct sourcing model. Companies are increasingly turning to contingent workers to meet their staffing needs, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

Contingent work has become a popular and flexible way for individuals to gain experience, build their skills, and earn income. With the rise of direct sourcing, more companies are turning to contingent workers to augment their workforce, creating new opportunities for candidates seeking flexible work arrangements. However, to succeed in direct sourcing, candidates must understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with contingent work. This whitepaper provides tips and strategies for candidates to prepare themselves for direct sourcing and be successful in their roles.

For job seekers, the contingent workforce offers a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Unlike traditional employment, contingent work is often project-based, with workers moving from one assignment to another. This can offer more flexibility and variety, but it also requires a different set of skills and strategies to succeed. In this whitepaper, we will provide guidance to candidates on how to be a successful contingent worker in a direct sourcing environment. We will cover the skills and qualities that direct sourcing companies look for in their contingent workers, how to market oneself as a contingent worker, and how to navigate the challenges of working in a project-based environment.

Skills and Qualities

Direct sourcing companies look for candidates who possess a unique set of skills and qualities that are essential for success in a project-based work environment. These include:

Flexibility: Contingent workers must be adaptable and willing to work in different roles and environments, often with little notice. They must be able to shift gears quickly and adjust to changing priorities and workloads. Time Management: Contingent workers must be able to manage their time effectively and meet deadlines. They must be self-motivated and able to work independently.

Communication: Contingent workers must have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. They must be able to work effectively with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds and communicate clearly and concisely.

Technical Skills: Contingent workers must possess the technical skills necessary for the job they are applying for. This may include proficiency in specific software or programming languages, for example.

Problem Solving: Contingent workers must be able to solve problems quickly and creatively. They must be able to think outside the box and find innovative solutions to complex issues.


Marketing oneself

To be successful as a contingent worker, candidates must be able to market themselves effectively to direct sourcing companies. This includes developing a strong personal brand and networking with others in the industry.

Personal Branding: Candidates must develop a strong personal brand that highlights their skills and qualities. This may include creating a professional website, developing a portfolio of work, and maintaining a strong social media presence.

Networking: Candidates must network with others in the industry, including direct sourcing companies, recruiters, and other contingent workers. This may include attending industry events, participating in online forums, and reaching out to others on LinkedIn.

Tailoring Applications: Candidates must tailor their applications to the specific needs of each direct sourcing company they are applying to. This may include customizing their resume and cover letter, highlighting relevant skills and experiences, and showcasing their unique value proposition.


Working as a contingent worker can be challenging, and candidates must be prepared to navigate the unique obstacles that come with project-based work. These may include.

Uncertainty: Contingent workers often work on short-term projects, which can lead to uncertainty about future assignments and income. Candidates must be prepared to manage this uncertainty and develop contingency plans in case of unexpected changes.

Isolation: Contingent workers may work remotely or in different locations from their colleagues, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Candidates must be prepared to stay connected with colleagues and clients through regular communication and collaboration.

Managing Workload: Contingent workers may have to manage multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously, which can be challenging. Candidates must be able to prioritize their workload effectively and manage their time efficiently.


Understand the Pros and Cons of Contingent Work

Contingent work offers many benefits, such as flexibility, variety, and the opportunity to gain new skills and experiences. However, it also comes with some drawbacks, such as uncertainty, lack of benefits and job security, and potentially lower pay rates. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a self-assessment and evaluate your personal goals and values to determine if contingent work is the right choice for you.

Some tips for making an informed decision about whether contingent work is right for you include:

  • Assess your financial situation and determine if you can manage the potential variability in income. Evaluate your risk tolerance and comfort level with uncertainty.
  • Consider your long-term career goals and how contingent work aligns with them.
  • Research the industry and specific job opportunities to understand the demand for contingent workers and potential earnings.
  • Consult with other contingent workers or industry professionals to gain insights and advice.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue contingent work depends on your personal goals, values, and circumstances. By conducting a thorough self-assessment and research, you can make an informed decision about whether contingent work is the right choice for you.


Develop In-Demand Skills and Expertise

To be a successful contingent worker, it is essential to develop in-demand skills and expertise that are highly valued in different industries. Some skills and expertise that are currently in high demand include digital marketing, data analysis, project management, software development, and healthcare.

To identify and develop these skills and expertise, consider the following strategies:

  • Conduct market research to identify the industries and job roles that are currently in high demand for contingent workers.
  • Assess your existing skill set and identify areas where you need to develop new skills or enhance existing ones. Invest in training and education programs to develop new skills or enhance existing ones, such as online courses, workshops, or certification programs.
  • Seek out opportunities to gain practical experience and build a portfolio of work that showcases your skills and expertise.
  • Network with industry professionals and seek mentorship to gain insights and advice on developing in-demand skills and expertise.

It is also important to note that the demand for skills and expertise can evolve over time. Therefore, ongoing learning and upskilling are critical to staying competitive and relevant in the job market. Continuously seek opportunities to learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and adapt to changing job market demands.

Build a Strong Professional Network

Building a strong professional network is essential for success as a contingent worker. Networking can help you find new clients, job opportunities, and gain valuable insights and advice from industry professionals. Here are some strategies to help you build a strong professional network:

Attend industry events and conferences: Attending industry events and conferences is an excellent way to meet new people and build relationships with other professionals in your field. Make sure to prepare in advance, bring business cards, and be proactive in engaging with others.

Use social media: Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be powerful tools for building your professional network. Join relevant groups, participate in online discussions, and share your work to showcase your skills and expertise.

Join professional organizations: Joining professional organizations related to your industry can be an effective way to connect with others and stay up to date with industry trends and developments.

Maintain relationships with former clients and colleagues: Staying in touch with former clients and colleagues can help you build a strong network of referrals and recommendations. Make sure to maintain professional relationships by keeping in touch, offering to help them when needed, and keeping them updated on your work.

Seek mentorship: Seeking mentorship from experienced professionals in your field can provide you with valuable guidance, feedback, and insights. Look for mentors who have experience in your field and can provide you with advice on career development and skill-building.

Building a strong professional network takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. A strong network can help you build your career, find new opportunities, and establish yourself as a successful contingent worker.


Master the Art of Self-Promotion

Contingent workers need to effectively market and brand themselves to attract potential clients and stand out in a competitive job market. Developing a strong personal brand can help you establish a reputation as a reliable and skilled professional.

One way to promote your skills and expertise is to create a professional portfolio that showcases your work samples, achievements, and testimonials from clients and colleagues. You can also use social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to build your online presence and network with potential clients and employers.

It’s essential to be clear and concise when communicating your value proposition to potential clients. You should articulate your unique selling points and highlight how you can solve their specific business challenges. You can also consider attending industry events and conferences to expand your network and build relationships with potential clients.

Remember, the key to successful self-promotion is to be authentic and transparent. You should always represent yourself truthfully and avoid overselling your skills and expertise. By building a strong personal brand and effectively promoting your skills, you can increase your chances of securing new opportunities and achieving your professional goals.

Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability

Contingent workers need to be flexible and adaptable to succeed in direct sourcing. You may work on short-term projects with varying schedules, or you may need to adapt to different work environments and client cultures. Being able to handle changing situations and adapt to new challenges is essential.

One way to manage a flexible schedule is to create a structured routine that allows you to balance work and personal commitments effectively. You can also use productivity tools and apps to help manage your time and stay organized.

It’s also essential to be adaptable to different work environments and client cultures. You should take the time to learn about the company culture, communication styles, and expectations of your client. Being open-minded and willing to learn will help you establish strong relationships with your clients and colleagues.

Finally, it’s crucial to maintain a positive attitude and be proactive in problem-solving. Contingent work can be unpredictable, and you may face unexpected challenges. By embracing flexibility and adaptability, you can stay agile and navigate these challenges with confidence.


Contingent work is a viable and growing career path for individuals seeking flexible work arrangements. To be successful in direct sourcing, candidates must understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with contingent work and prepare themselves accordingly. By developing in-demand skills and expertise, building a strong professional network, mastering the art of self-promotion, and embracing flexibility and adaptability, candidates can thrive in their roles as contingent workers.

Moreover, it is crucial for candidates to conduct a thorough self-assessment to determine if contingent work aligns with their personal goals and values. It is also important to keep up with ongoing learning and upskilling to stay competitive in the job market. Finally, by embracing the tips and strategies outlined in this whitepaper, candidates can set themselves up for success in the world of direct sourcing.

For more information ​, follow us at​ @SimplifyVMS on LinkedIn​

Reach Out to Us

Get in touch today to learn how we can help you achieve your contingent hiring goals!

Contact Us