If there was a way to maintain your professional freedom and stay true to your goals, all while adding to your resume – would you do it?
At least 1 in 5 Americans are already getting in on the gig economy. Recent studies show that as much as 34% of the US labor force are contract workers, and that number is only growing. As bespoke services and hyper-personalization become the norm, the supply of contractors can hardly keep up with demand. Plus, record low unemployment rates are pushing companies to hire more flex workers than ever before.
Depending on your goals and lifestyle, the benefits of consulting can often outweigh the drawbacks. Don’t listen to fables; listen to facts. Contract work is a high opportunity, high impact career path that will add to your experience while ensuring your autonomy.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Why work as a consultant?
Each day when you go to work – especially if you’re a recruiter – you’re tasked with ensuring the survival of your little corner of the office. From personal branding to delegation and skill acquisition, you are in charge of your own success.
So why not take your skills to market? Contract work comes with some pretty competitive benefits:
1. Protect your freedom.
Yes – you’ll be working for someone else. But who you work for, the length of your contract, and the type of work you agree to accomplish is all within your control.
Best of all, when the end of your contract comes, you can choose to apply for a new role, claim a well-earned break – go on vacation with family! – or attempt to turn your contract position into a permanent job.
Working with a recruiter means that each of these options is readily available to you. Before your contract even ends, a good recruiter will delve into your career goals to better understand what you’re looking for next. With their help, you can easily line up a new contract or work to land a permanent position.
2. Learn new skills.
The more skills you can accumulate, the more desirable you’ll be to future employers – whatever path you choose to follow.
Case in point: I recently placed a candidate in a Property Accounting role where she learned a number of new softwares. After the project was completed, I submitted her for a temp-to-hire position that required previous experience using a specific software. Because of her time working on the original contract, the candidate was quickly hired and found success with her new company.
3. Fill out your resume.
Job descriptions have become comically specific. For a senior level position, some job posts require 5+ different softwares and multiple, non-overlapping areas of expertise just to land an interview.
For people who are missing only 1 or 2 items, facing this kind of posting can be incredibly frustrating. But there’s an easy solution – fill out your resume holes with targeted contract roles.
Hiring Managers are usually more willing to take a risk on contractors as the company is obligated to the worker for only a few months. This means that 1. They’ll hire you without all the requisite knowledge and let you learn on the job and 2. They might be surprised by your aptitude and offer you a permanent position!
4. Get a foot in the door.
You never know when a ‘temporary assignment’ is going to turn into something long-term. I’ve had countless cases where…
A) My client loved the candidate so much that they found them a permanent role.
B) The budget for the company changed, allowing the company to bring on our consultant as a permanent hire.
It happens more than you’d think. Just recently, we placed a contractor as a Senior Accountant while the company looked for a more permanent solution following a worker’s unforeseen resignation. The contractor was brought on for 3 months while the company assessed their options. After six weeks, the company – totally in love with our candidate – extended an offer $10k over budget and brought our candidate on board as a permanent hire.
5. Keep working.
It goes without saying, but employed candidates are seen as much more desirable. It may be irrational, but it’s true. Keeping yourself employed will make finding new work exponentially easier.
6. Expand your network.
The more people you know, the better you’ll be able to leverage your professional connections in the future. Be positive, enthusiastic, and memorable, and you’ll find people who are more than willing to put in a good word for you or recommend you for a new role.
7. Retain your benefits.
When you work as a contractor through a recruiting agency, you are technically employed by that agency and are eligible for that agency’s benefits. This can include health insurance, paid sick leave, and 401k. So don’t worry about ‘going out on your own’ – you’re still covered!
8. Discover a new side of yourself.
Not long ago, I placed an old friend of mine in a part-time contract role as an Executive Assistant. She was coming back to work after having kids, and wasn’t looking for anything full-time or permanent; she just wanted an opportunity to earn some extra money and get out of the house.
What she found was an amazing workplace, a supportive CEO, and what became to her a second family. Five years later, she’s still working at the company, now full-time and fully dedicated to her work.
Trying new things is scary – but the rewards can be great. Don’t limit yourself to the first career your fell into; test your limits, learn new skills, and challenge yourself every day with contract work.
How to land your next contract role.
Your best bet is to meet with a recruiter specializing in consulting. Recruiters have long-lasting relationships with a wide array of companies across various industries, and they’ll be able to direct you toward the best fit for your personal needs and background.
At Proven Recruiting, we currently have upwards of 250 contractors out on assignment, working for companies ranging in size from startup to Fortune 500.
Beyond seeking outside help, you can – and should – update your LinkedIn profile to notify recruiters and companies that you are open to contract and consulting engagements.
These industries are in desperate need of contract workers.
High growth industries – as well as high turnover companies – are always looking for fresh recruits to help support their changing needs. Here are the top places to look for work:
- Finance & Accounting
But consulting positions aren’t limited to these industries. Any company that has employees on parental leave, regular turnover, lots of independent projects, etc., will need to supplement their permanent workforce with temporary hires. From Senior Accountants to Nurses and Software Engineers, there’s a role for everyone.
Ready for your next assignment? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to zero-in on your area of interest and connect with similarly-minded companies.
About the author:
As an Account Executive at Proven Recruiting , Megan is responsible for building long-lasting, trust-based partnerships with growing companies.
With nearly ten years of business development experience in recruiting, Megan is an expert in sales and strategic partnerships. Specifically, her experience has afforded her a unique insight into client relationships and the value of networking.
Have a question for Megan? Ask her below!