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Contractors Aren’t Job-Hoppers: How to Showcase Contract Positions in Your Job Hunt

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You’re a loyal, upstanding, do-it-by-the-book employee. You show up on time, ready to do what’s asked of you and more. But as a contractor, you’ve had four jobs in the last two years — and you’re worried your resume portrays you like a job-hopper who bolts for greener pastures at a moment’s notice.

Working in multiple contract positions helps you pick up a wide variety of skills — which is very attractive to most employers. But they’ll also looking to hire a stable, reliable worker who will commit to seeing a job though. So how you show that you’re that person?

Here are our tips for showcasing your reliability when you’ve worked on multiple contract positions.

1. Get references for a new job
The best way to toot your own horn, especially about your loyalty as an employee, is to have other people do it for you. Getting a recommendation or endorsement from a supervisor in each recent contract position should be a top priority.

Ask your recruiter what the protocols are for collecting references at each position, and see if you can get more involved in collecting them. Your recruiter might prefer not to involve you in the process. But if your recruiter encourages you to reach out and go the extra mile to procure a reference, you should.

If your recruiter gives you the go-ahead, take these steps to secure a recommendation:

Ask first: Find the supervisor or senior staff who can most accurately attest to your excellence. If they say no, ask somebody else. If they say no, don’t push it — you can use this strategy at your next contract position.

When somebody says yes, offer to draft a letter of recommendation for them to edit. Remember, this is a favor you’re asking — you’ll want to meet them a little more than halfway. If they agree, draft a brief letter as follows:

  • Make it out “To Whom It May Concern:”
  • Briefly describe your personality traits and level of professionalism
  • Mention any skills learned or used on the job
  • Add any particular challenges you solved or projects you worked on
  • Close with a recommendation line such as “It is my belief that [your name] would be a welcome addition to any team”
  • Once you have this form letter ready, you can edit it slightly for each position you fill.
  • A less formal recommendation is also fine. Check with your recruiter for any tools or protocols they use that might help get a shorter or more informal recommendation, such as a satisfaction survey.

2. Listing contracting jobs on your resume and LinkedIn profile
Hiring managers in professional fields often view candidate’s LinkedIn job histories. If you haven’t fully built out your Linked profile yet, you should.

One key to success for contract employees is the “embed” feature, which allows you to list your occupation as “Contract Employee” or similar with one company, your recruiting partner, and show all the various contract positions you’ve worked through that contact.

How to add contract jobs using the Embed feature in LinkedIn

  • Locate the “me” icon at the header of your LinkedIn page
  • Click on “view profile”
  • Go to “add profile section” in the introduction portion
  • In the “background” dropdown, click the “add” icon (a plus sign) next to “work experience”
  • In the “add experience” pop-up window, enter your information into the fields provided (you may need to cut and past existing information here, using an empty document)
  • Click “save”
  • Once the experience section has been added to your profile, you can include more positions at any time by clicking the add icon within the experience section and filling out the fields provided
  • To edit existing experiences, tap the pencil icon

Also, don’t be shy about asking for LinkedIn recommendations or skills endorsements from your recruiting partner and colleagues at your assignments.

And don’t neglect your paper resume! Embed your prior positions the same way on your usual resume — with all temporary jobs clearly listed under the same recruiting agency.

Ask your recruiter for advice
A reputation for loyalty is like respect or trust — it has to be earned, rather than given. If you feel like you’re having a hard time coming across as the accountable, hardworking individual you know you are, ask your recruiting partner what they’re doing to advocate on your behalf, and what you can do to help them.

Be prepared for some interesting tips, or even some valuable feedback you can learn from.