For those looking to find a job, permanent positions may seem like the way to go, but the rising popularity of contract work in the economy can be as beneficial as a regular position, giving you tools and abilities you might not have expected to receive while allowing you more freedom than a locked-in 9 to 5 would provide.
Seventeen million Americans are currently employed via contract work, according to Fox Business, representing a whopping 12 percent of the entire American workforce. With those numbers set to rise further in coming months, not only are many workers turning to new areas of employment, but many find they enjoy them more than a full-time position for a few reasons.
One useful advantage to contract positions, the news source said, is to show resourcefulness and prevent gaps in work history. If you've recently been laid off or decided to look for new work and your search hasn't been successful yet, doing contract work can show your ability to keep moving and working, leagues better than a large hole on your resume. Your ability to change doesn't just show your ability to work but your ability to excel in different fields, and adapt to new challenges easily.
Your contract work will also show your work ethic, as taking it on shows you're driven enough to find opportunities where others may not. In many positions, finding connections is a desired skill, and your ability to search uncharted employment territory can be a big plus in future opportunities.
Update your skills while learning new ones
Using a contract agency to find yourself a position can also have positive effects upon your overall work experiences, giving you more knowledge about recent trends in the office you might not otherwise become aware of. Many will require you to improve skills usable in most future jobs, from learning new computer technology to new methods and processes to make your work faster and better. Placing these skills on a resume demonstrates your ability to keep up with the latest trends.
They'll also show your ability and openness to learn new things fast. Employers love to see an application from someone who doesn't want to stop learning new and better ways to keep improving themselves, and the right contract job can give you all the experience you'll need to get an advantage. If you have an opportunity to choose between contract positions, try to choose one that piques your interest. It won't hurt if you want to learn more about whatever new industry you land in.
Network growth and possible long-time jobs
Additionally, connecting with new people in your field, or a field you're looking to enter in the future, can be a big advantage of contract work, according to CareerBuilder. Meeting and forming relationships with your coworkers can pay off in more than one way - if you're looking for a permanent position there, knowing employees will help you get your foot in the door. Even if you're not interested in continuing with that company, your new friends and colleagues can greatly assist your job search ability in the future, from knowing about new opportunities coming up to getting you in touch with other people in the industry to point you in the right direction.
Contract work doesn't necessarily have to be temporary, either. Excelling at your contract placement can catch the eye of your employers, who will likely turn inside the company when looking to fill permanent positions in the future. Forty-two percent of employers planning to hire contract employees in 2013 expect to transfer at least some of those employees into permanent positions.