Contract work is an option in nearly every industry, and not just at the entry level. Even the management positions offer options for contract work, although it’s usually coined as an interim position. A contract job is a temporary employment agreement for a predetermined length. Some contract positions are contract-to-hire, meaning that you have the potential of being offered a permanent position when the contract is complete.
Contract positions can be full-time or part-time. They are often obtained through a staffing company, which is technically your employer. In this case, they will provide a W-2 and often include benefits. If you are a freelancer and manage your search for contracts, expect to receive a 1099, in which case you are responsible for paying self-employment taxes come April.
A contract position is exactly as it sounds. You sign an agreement to work for Company A for X amount of weeks or until a completing a specific project. Typical contracts can last for as little as three months or more. Sometimes they will last a year or more, depending on the project. You don’t have a specific time if you are filling an interim position until a professional is found and permanently hired. Your post is for as long as it takes for the company to find, hire, and transition in a permanent placement.
In a perfect world, everyone is happy, and contracts are kept. However, life isn’t perfect; sometimes, the business or the worker must cancel their arrangement.
When accepting a contract position, confirming your hiring status (W-2 or 1099), your pay rate, how many hours/weeks are expected, whether benefits are part of the package, and other contract issues, in general, is essential.
Having said all the above, why should you choose a contract position? What makes it a sound career move?
8 Reasons to Accept A Contract Position
- Offer unique opportunities to learn new skills, gain various experiences, and enhance career growth.
- Provides a chance to grow your professional network, leading to more contract positions or even an ideal permanent placement.
- Offers the chance to work in various industries and determine which is the best fit for your personal values, career goals, and giftedness.
- Helps you get your foot in the door and allows you the unique opportunity to “try out” a specific position, company, and industry before choosing to build your career in that area.
- Often offers you a chance at full-time, permanent work when the assignment ends if you decide that contract is not for you.
- Enhances your resume with new skills to aid in new career prospects.
- Often earns higher pay/hour or salary.
- Provides more flexibility than many full-time permanent positions.
Although contract work is not for everyone, many thrive in it, believing the pros far outweigh the cons. Like most career challenges, accepting a contract job offers an opportunity for personal growth, introspection, and self-reflection. Furthermore, even if you do it for a short interval before accepting a permanent position, there is much to be gained from the experience.