Job searching is a difficult period of any career. Uncertainty abounds, and we often have more questions than answers. Should I leave my current job? What kind of position would fit my skills? How do I find an organization with an inclusive corporate culture? What type of job should I accept?
With contract work becoming increasingly common, many jobs out there are contract or contract-to-hire, which means the position may result in a permanent position once the contract is over. But getting into contract work can be confusing if you’ve never taken a contract position before. Here is some basic information about contract jobs that you should know before accepting one:
- A contract job is a temporary employment agreement that is scheduled to end after a certain number of weeks or months
- Some contract jobs include benefits like health insurance, others do not
- Some contract jobs are part-time, others are full-time
- You should always read the terms of your contract carefully before signing
- Contract work can be more unstable than typical, permanent employment because of its shorter duration
Keeping those facts in mind, there are many reasons you might choose to accept a contract position. Let’s talk about some of the unique opportunities contract work offers.
One of the best things about working on contract is the increased flexibility contract jobs can include. These positions are often remote, which can allow for flexibility in location and potentially even a permanent nomad lifestyle, for those who love to travel. Because contract workers often work on projects rather than in management or administrative roles, hours can vary as well, which could help folks looking for a job to fit around pre-existing commitments like childcare or education.
Likewise, if you’re one of the many people who has your own small business or side hustle, the flexibility of a contract job can be a great way to make that dream possible while still meeting your financial goals.
Access to a new industry
Always wanted to work in a certain industry but not sure whether it’s worth the commitment? A contract job is an excellent way to test the waters with an industry (or particular company) you’re curious about. You can learn industry conventions and expectations without agreeing to stay on permanently. If you’re uncertain which industry would fit your interests and skillset best, you can use contract roles to explore without a permanent commitment.
Even if you aren’t looking for clarity in your career, trying out a new industry for a relatively short period of time is valuable work experience. You never know when that specialized knowledge might come in handy in the future.
Possibility of permanent job opportunities
When the economy suffers and full-time positions become more scarce, employers often opt to seek contract employees rather than permanent ones. Though a contract job isn’t always what you’re looking for, it often does carry the opportunity for a permanent offer once the contract is
finished. It can also be a useful way to get your foot in the door at a company with a highly competitive hiring process.
Develop new skills
While working in a permanent position, we can become complacent about our abilities and working habits. We may get too comfortable with the way that we have always done things or the way our team collaborates.
Alternatively, working as a contract worker means you’ll have to adapt fast to your new working environment. Though this can be challenging, it also means you have the chance to pick up new skills. If you’re looking to learn from real-world experience and strengthen your resume, a contract job is the way to go. Nothing cements a new skill in your brain quite like having to learn and use it quickly and effectively.
When it comes to searching for a job, there’s nothing more helpful than having a strong network. But it can be challenging to network with other professionals in the traditional sense; not everyone is comfortable with attending networking events or conferences, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all in-person networking events have been canceled or moved online.
Working in a contract position is an excellent way to meet new professional contacts, who can in turn be part of your support system as you continue on your career journey.
Learn more about yourself
As with any challenging or new activity, taking a contract job offers an opportunity for introspection and self-reflection. Even if your contract job turns into a permanent position, or you take another permanent position when your contract is over, you’ll still have all of the experience and valuable lessons you learned.
Maybe you discovered what industry you like, or what work schedule works best for you, or how you communicate with your bosses. That is all valuable information that you can carry with you and that will help you make better, more informed career decisions in the future.
Have you taken contract roles in the past? Care to weigh in on your experience?
We would love to hear from you. Connect with us here.
Tech Talent South (TTS) offers a one stop shop for flexible tech talent solutions for teams of all sizes and at all stages. Whether it’s for organizations looking for top quality talent at scale and with speed, Workforce Development initiatives, or companies looking to future proof their own employees by giving them new or advanced skills (upskilling and reskilling) - we deliver solutions that fit every need. Our goal is to help close the diversity gap by training based on aptitude, not access.
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