The Skinny on Contract Work—Worth It?
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The Skinny on Contract Work—Worth It?

This article is part of our All About That Hustle Week. Trust us, there's more to read. 

MOST OF US ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE BASICS OF FREELANCING, WHICH ESSENTIALLY ADD UP TO: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. BUT WHAT ABOUT FREELANCE’S SOUL SISTER, CONTRACTING?

Career advice mostly focuses on traditional job hunting techniques. You apply for the full-time positions (unless for some good reason, part-time is your thing). You negotiate an annual salary, annual benefits, annual paid time off. You list your past positions by year on your resume.

But then there’s that gray zone—the one many of us prefer to ignore—the “This is a contract position” opening. 30 days. Three months. Six months. Maybe a year. One thing’s for certain: there’s no guarantee. Still, is there a time when taking a contract gig might actually be worth it?

SHORT ANSWER: YES.

Full disclosure: I’m a big proponent of contract work. Finding a full-time position can be a long and exhausting process, but a contract position is a great way to relieve the pressure of that search. {click to tweet} My current role as a senior content strategist began when I accepted a contract position as a social analyst. I leveraged that time to get into a position and company that was right for me, and I’ve now been there for two years.  

Contracting is incredibly underrated given how much you can use it to your advantage. Here are a few ways you can use a contract-based gig can to kickstart your career. 

IT KEEPS THE DREADED “GAP” OFF OF YOUR RESUME

While you continue to look for the job you want, contract work is a great way to gain valuable experience for your resume without the time commitment of a full-time position.  

MORE MOOLAH

Hello, overtime! Contract positions pay on an hourly basis, and although working overtime isn’t always fun, you’ll be getting paid time and a half for it. That will quickly help you build up your savings or just get another Club W box.

FLEXIBILITY

As a contractor, you have the power to negotiate flexible working hours with relative ease. Never want to have a #Monday again? Done.

EASY NETWORKING

I work in advertising, a field that notoriously runs on who you know. It can be difficult to make genuine connections, but working as a contractor gives you the perfect opening. When I first started I took a couple coworkers out to coffee to find out more about what they do. This helped me figure out where I saw myself in the field, and it opened up new networking opportunities through my coworkers. Even if your contract gig doesn’t lead to a full-time position, you can make some great contacts along the way to help in your future pursuits.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

Working as a contractor allows you to test out a position or a company before you commit to a full-time position, and you get paid to do it! As I made the transition into the advertising field from anthropology (a story for another day), I found this really beneficial. I started out as a social media analyst and through that position figured out my passion laid in content strategy.

IT CAN LEAD TO A FULL-TIME POSITION

Often companies need to make a “business case” for a new position, which means bringing in a contractor to prove they have enough work to sustain a full-time employee. If your contract position is something you want to do full-time, don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility. {click to tweet} Not only is the contract a trial period for you, it’s also a trial period for your employer. Show them you’re invaluable from the start.

FINALLY, NEGOTIATING POWER

Once your contract employer sees how amazing you are and makes a business case for this position, you're left in a good spot to negotiate your full-time salary when you start. Contract positions often pay a higher hourly rate than they would a salaried position because the company doesn’t have to provide benefits. That said, you are fully trained and have proven that you are a valuable member of the team, so consider those points when negotiating pay, PTO, or other benefits.

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Ready to try out a contract position? Already in one? Let us know what you think of contracting! 

This article is part of our All About That Hustle Week. Trust us, there's more to read.