Many job seekers are quick to dismiss contract positions. But permanent, full-time employment isn’t always the best option. In fact, there are some benefits to contract work that can pay off in the long run, and this means these positions are often worth considering.
Here are six overlooked benefits to taking a contract job:
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Many top companies have rigorous requirements for their full-time positions, and for younger workers or people with unconventional resumes, it can be difficult to even get an interview. Contract positions have more flexible requirements, and so they can be a great way to work for a top tier employer when you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
Once you take a contract position, you have a chance to engage the company, prove your worth, and make valuable professional connections. This might lead to full-time work at the company, or provide a boost to your resume and professional network that helps you to get a coveted position elsewhere.
Testing the Culture
Maybe you are interested in a company but have heard from some former employees its culture is negative. By taking a contract position, you can experience a company’s culture for yourself without having to make a commitment.
Settling into a company should be a mutually beneficial arrangement, and when you start full-time right away, you often don’t know what the management style or cultural values are. Employers can be on their best behavior during the interview process. With a contract position, you learn how employees treat each other and interact, and you can decide whether it is a good match.
Trying New Roles
Since contract roles are for a limited time, they provide an excellent opportunity for those who are still trying to figure out where they want to take their career next or are trying to build different skill sets. A UI/UX designer, for example, might take a contract position for designing enterprise email newsletters to get a better understanding if that is a direction she would want to take her career.
Contract positions are usually time-limited and focused on a particular skill. By taking the time to focus on one particular skill for a few months or longer, you can hone and develop your expertise. This can improve your resume, and position you to move further into that field.
Once you take a full-time position, it can be challenging to leave six months later on good terms. Some employees will react negatively to losing an employee so soon after having invested so much in the hiring and training process. A limited contract establishes the expectation with the employer that the employee will leave on a short-time horizon.
If you are at a time in your life where you aren’t sure where you will be or what you will be doing in six months, then a contract position can be the perfect way to keep your professional skills fresh while thinking about whether you want to move to a new city, go back to school, or travel.
Earning Higher Pay
Contract work usually doesn’t come with benefits, but it has a higher hourly rate as a result. If you have good benefits through your partner or parents, or are simply cash-strapped, then making a higher rate might be more valuable to you than having a traditional benefits package.
Contract work is not for everyone, but there are benefits that might make it the right choice. Job seekers should assess their personal and professional aims to see if the benefits of contract work will help them to achieve their goals.