Contract Jobs

In this global economy more and more jobs are being offered on a contract basis. This means that your tenure in the position will be for a set period such as 3 months or 1 year for example at which time the employer can choose whether to extend the contract or terminate your employment.

When you are looking for a job don't forget to consider this option as well as permanent job opportunities. You may be successful in finding temporary work while you continue searching or you may even find that you prefer the variety and flexibility of contract work.

It is important to understand the benefits and pitfalls when deciding if a contract job is the right choice for you.

Advantages of Contract Work

Contract work gives you the opportunity to impress your boss from the inside. No need to participate in the stressful interview process. Remember what they say, that 70% of all jobs are never advertised. You can network with management to see if there are any openings. Being in the right place at the right time could lead to a full time position as a regular employee with the company.

Working and being paid as a contractor may enable you to write off work related expenses that you would not be able to if you were being paid as a regular employee of the company.

Contract work allows you to test the waters without making a full time commitment. You can try working for different companies and different departments to help you decide what kind of work you prefer.

A contract worker generally has less overall responsibility and can focus on the job at hand without having to worry about company politics.

Disadvantages of Contract Employment

While there are advantages to contract work it is definitely not the right choice for everyone. If you are confident and have an outgoing personality you may find it easy to market yourself to potential employers in order to secure your next contract.

If you are only employed for a certain amount of time you may find it difficult to make friends and be included in social activities.

Contract workers don't qualify for company benefits like vacation pay, medical benefits, pensions or training allowances.

Contract work is like being self employed. Companies do not deduct taxes off your pay check at source so you must pay taxes at the end of the year based on your income. There is a greater need to keep organised records of your income and expenses associated with work.

When your contract comes to an end the company will not pay severance. It is important to have your next contract job lined up so that you have enough money to pay your bills.

Temp Agencies

Temp Agencies are a good source of contract work. If you like contract employment it may be easier to find your next contract position through a temp agency rather than trying to find contract employment on your own. Temp agencies provide workers to a variety of businesses via short term contracts to help with fluctuations in business volumes or specific short term projects where they need additional manpower. Working with a temp agency exposes you to a variety of companies and job opportunities. A temp job is a way of getting your foot in the door that may lead to a permanent position.

Consulting Services

A consultant is another type of contract work. If you are an expert in your field you may want to consider being a consultant.

The benefits are that you are not tied down to a long term job that you may get bored with. You can also be in control of your earnings because you can charge a premium for your expertise that you may not receive at a standard job.

So how do you even begin to assess whether it's the right choice for you? You need to be able to survive while you are building your consulting business. It is important that you have a good cash flow so you can pay your bills until you start making money.

Make sure that you enjoy talking to people about your area of expertise. It is a good idea to try a few consulting jobs and see if it is for you before making a final decision to start a new career. Many people like the flexibility that you get from being a consultant as they are able to choose their own hours.

Being a consultant can also be a great way to make more money than you did at your regular job. It can be great to take the knowledge you have learned and use it to grow your own consulting business.