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Need Experience to Get a Job? Contract Work Can Help

Woman sitting near a laptop looking at camera, folding her hands under her chin.

Congratulations! You’ve identified your ideal job.

You’ve got the right skills and training.

The career matches your personality.

You’re passionate about the opportunity — and you’re willing to enter on the ground level and work your way up.

There’s only one catch: Every posting you come across for an “entry-level” job requires two years of experience. How are you supposed to get the experience to break into your dream career field when you need prior experience, even for an entry-level position? Welcome to the job seeker’s Catch-22.

Sure, you could always get an internship, but you have bills to pay. Paid internships are few and far between, and the ones that exist often don’t pay well.

Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time or switching career paths, contract work can help you overcome the two-year experience hurdle for entry-level jobs. Here’s how:

1. Contract work builds your resume

Applying for jobs you’re interested in can be exhausting and discouraging. Instead of scrambling to fill out multiple job applications that may be outside your experience level, imagine landing a contract assignment that will help you gain experience and skills.

Employers who are looking for contract help are more likely to recognize the value in your skills, training and education. That’s because hiring contract help work allows them the flexibility to take a chance on unproven talent. And a good recruiter can also help them see what you have to offer beyond years of experience, like transferable skills, eagerness and aptitude for learning, and a can-do work ethic.

As you successfully complete contract assignments, you’ll:

  • Add to your skills — and experience
  • Build your resume
  • Establish a network and meet people who are doing what you want to do
  • Gain new references — professionals in your desired field who can speak to your ability and past performance

Contract work can also lead to a permanent job offer based on your (stellar!) performance, the employer’s need or a contract-to-hire placement.


2. An experienced contract recruiter knows the market

Working with an experienced recruiter at a highly regarded staffing agency gives you access to something you may not have on your own — connections.

The best recruiters take the time to learn your strengths and abilities, and they can advocate for you. They can get you in the door when your resume alone might not. And, if you land an interview, they can help you prepare for it.

Good recruiters also know the employers. They understand that some employers are strict about the experience requirement, while others simply use it as a filter when they receive too many applications.

3. You’ll get help putting together a career plan

Remember that recruiters succeed when you succeed. This means they’re committed to your success — both short- and long-term.

The best recruiters will work with you to develop an actionable career plan. They also have the inside scoop on available positions that don’t require previous experience but will count toward that in-demand two-year experience threshold.

Have you ever considered that your perfect career might be one you don’t even know about? Working in contract assignments allows you to experience a variety of jobs, industries and employer types, giving you valuable insight into where you excel and what you enjoy. You might stumble upon your dream career — while you’re building the skills and experience that equip you to pursue it.

What you don’t know can help you

Maybe you’ve never even heard of your ideal career. Exploring contract work is a great way to test out your chosen career but it can also help you identify other paths that might interest you more.

As you successfully complete contract assignments, you’ll build a relationship with a recruiter who’s invested in your success, enjoy the flexibility to pursue your chosen path, adjust your plans based on the valuable lessons you’ve learned — or change course completely.

No experience?

No problem.