5 reasons you should take a contract job

Contract work offers a surprising number of benefits to job seekers in a transitional phase of their careers.

Contract work offers a surprising number of benefits to job seekers in a transitional phase of their careers. Here are five reasons to consider taking a contract position:

1. You can try out different work environments

Contract positions give you the opportunity to see how multiple businesses operate from the inside. Every office is unique, and you'll get a chance to determine what kind of corporate culture, management style and physical environment you most enjoy working in.

According to a report from BambooHR, a third of surveyed respondents have left a position within six months after starting the job. This situation is difficult for everyone involved because the employer needs to search for a new hire, and the employee has to start his or her job search afresh. A contract job can reduce this risk by allowing each party to test the relationship before committing to a long-term hiring decision.

2. Contract jobs can teach you new skills

A particular contract job may not line up exactly with your planned career trajectory, but it can serve as an opportunity to learn new skills. If you've been in the same field for a while, there's a chance your skill set has gotten a little stale. A contract position's new responsibilities can help you learn new processes, workflows and ways of thinking.

"Accepting contract assignments allows a candidate to try out different industries – finance, consulting, creative, nonprofit, technology, etc." comments Mary Grimm, Recruiting Manager of Beacon Hill's Associates Division in New York. "Contract work shows you are employable, again and again. If clients are asking for you back at a contract job, it speaks to your reliability and efficacy! Just this week, a candidate who had started a one week contract job, was asked to extend her assignment an extra week, and is now being considered for a permanent role that she can interview for onsite while she's contracting there!"

Bringing your current skills to new tasks may also help you sharpen your existing talents. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, practicing modified versions of tasks helps people learn faster than repeating a task in the same way over and over again. By applying your existing knowledge to a new paradigm, you could gain a new level of insight.

Temporary positions offer many opportunities to grow your professional network.

3. You can grow your professional network

One way to accelerate your career is to make connections with other professionals. Job seekers often lament that networking is difficult and time-consuming. In fact, a LinkedIn survey revealed 49 percent of respondents say they don't have enough time to network.

A contractjob gives you the ability to grow your network, secure professional references and earn money all at once. Even if the position isn't something you want to do long term, you can make the most of the opportunity by forging professional relationships that will benefit your career in the long run.

4. Contract jobs don't always remain temporary

A job that begins as a contract assignment can turn into a permanent position. If you're worried that you won't get enough hours at a contract job, you can work with your recruiter to find contracts that offer appropriate hours.

There is such a variety in the type of work that is available from a staffing agency that several positions will likely meet your requirements. Plus, many opportunities lead to permanent positions within the assigned company.

5. You can gain an important ally

Many job seekers may resist contract work because they worry that they'll just hop from assignment to assignment, never finding a permanent home. Furthermore, contract work often comes with certain stigmas – lower pay, no benefits, and perhaps being treated as less than your direct-hire colleagues.

This is where a staffing agency can be highly beneficial. Many agencies offer benefits, helping to fill the gaps that a contract position cannot provide. And when you find contract work through a staffing agency, you not only gain access to many new opportunities, but also an important ally: your recruiter.

"We have worked with some candidates for over five plus years connecting them to contract assignments and helping them create valuable relationships with companies in their area," says Kristen Rodriguez, Recruiting Manager for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Indianapolis. "Working with a good recruiter is in your best interest to have a pulse on the job market, assist with career advice – resume, salary guidance, interviews, etcetera – and to gain inside information on companies you are targeting."

Like a version of your resume that can walk, talk and sing your praises, a recruiter works for you while you continue pursuing opportunities through other channels. Additionally, if a work relationship sours, your recruiter can advocate for you as well as be on the hunt for your next opportunity. If you're ready to boost your job search, contact the expert recruiters at Beacon Hill today.

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