Independent Contractor Should Build Network

Brian writes:
I have the resources that make me available for contract work in other cities.
I have a toll-free number top-of-the-line laptop and all the programming tools I can think of.
I cannot get even a nibble from recruiters (even for a smaller project that was an exact duplicate of one I worked in the past and got high-praise for it).
P.S. — On top of this a recruiter has told me that it is office policy to focus efforts on those that live in the state because of per-diem but I state that per-diem is not required.
What do I change? Thank you.

The Career Doctor responds:
Brian I think you have the right equipment and the right skills but your approach is all wrong. Why are you focusing all your efforts on recruiters — and on recruiters who you’ve never even met? Unless they specialize in placing consultants I would make them a very low priority.
Your best bet for building a client base is your network of personal and professional contacts. These people know and respect you — and they may be potential clients or
may be able to refer you to others in their network who may be potential clients. Other potential sources of clients include past employers professional associations civic and community associations and specialized “free agent” Websites.
You can find more specific information about finding clients as well as explanations about the in’s and out’s of consulting in our article The Word is Out: Becoming a Free Agent is a Hot Career Path.