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Why It’s a Great Time to Be a Contract Employee

Are you the type who enjoys variety, thrives on new challenges, loves meeting new people and craves the freedom to design your own career path? If so, the contract employee’s life may be tailor-made for you.

It’s a great time to be a contract employee according to Career Builder’s 2016 Job Forecast. The report finds that 47 percent of employers plan to add temporary or contract workers this year and 58 percent plan to transition some of these workers from contract to permanent employees. 

And while some may use contract employment as a stepping-stone to a permanent job, others fall in love with contract employment and the lifestyle that comes with it. Here are some of the many perks of being a contract employee. 

1. Your time is your own
Many contract employees enjoy a work-life balance that gives them the time to pursue passions outside of their careers. Some love to travel, others have hobbies or even small businesses on the side. Still others cherish the flexibility that contract work provides so they have more time to spend with their children and families. 

“After about 15 years as a full-time employee for a big bank, I was ready to explore the field.  Honestly, it was like being newly single after being in a bad marriage for a decade.  I like a month or two off between assignments. It gives me time to pursue hobbies and chill out between jobs,” says Aerotek contract employee, Michelle Justice.

2. Have a recruiter in your corner
When working with a staffing agency, you have the added benefit of partnering with a recruiter who can prepare you for every step of the hiring process, from interview to placement.

Mackenzie Szawlowski, senior professional account recruiting manager at Aerotek says, “Our goal is to find candidates a position where they will be happy, work hard to contribute to the company’s goals and objectives and ultimately find a long term position with a company.” The process is really about creating a relationship that is going to last a long, long time. 

Candidates should also see recruiters as advocates. Aerotek contract employee, Veronica Jones, recalls, “I knew what I was looking for in my next position, and Brett [my recruiter] found a company that matched my ethics and values, and was a great fit for me. During the interview process, I thought salary was going to be an issue, but he even negotiated my salary for me.”

3. More control over your career
All contract employees have the freedom to assert themselves when it comes to job acceptance and their career.

“As a contractor, you have a say in your assignment,” said Aerotek contract employee, Nhilven de Chavez. “You can make sure the job meets your needs in terms of salary, shift schedule or even work environment. If a job comes up and it’s not what you’re looking for, you can say ‘no.’ Aerotek will back you up, regardless of the decision you make. When a recruiter finds a position that meets your needs, she does all she can to make sure you get it.”

4. Sharpen your skills and try new things
Doing contract work for a period of time gives you the opportunity to experience various industries, try different jobs and meet new people. This is advantageous whether you’re a new graduate just getting your feet wet in the labor force, or a mid-level professional considering a career change.

If you like your contract position and workplace, be transparent with your recruiter and let them know how you are feeling. Partner with your recruiter for help on extending your contract or finding another position in the same industry. 

5. Professional contacts galore!
When you’re a contract employee, “you get face time with a lot of people who can help shape your career,” says one Aerotek contract employee.  Just imagine all those LinkedIn connections!

The people you meet during contract jobs present opportunities for networking, career growth, mentorship and even friendship. Additionally, the ability to shift gears and work with people from diverse backgrounds, different industries and with all types of personalities will be invaluable to your professional development.  

Make good impressions with all of these people, and you could be set for life!