Why You Should Consider Freelance Gigs, Temporary Jobs & Contract Work?

Consulting, Temporary, Freelance, or Contract Work—these terms can mean different things to different people. While each word can conjure an impression of a different level of employee with various employment arrangements (Contract/Consulting work can imply higher skill level and longer term assignments; Temporary work can mean seasonal, short-term, lower skill level jobs; and Freelance work brings about the image of a free spirit creative soul floating from one inventive endeavor to another), these terms meant the same thing to me when I was a recruiter:  the work was interim and the employee was not a direct hire employee of the firm.  For the sake of this article, these four terms will be used interchangeably, but I acknowledge each can be defined differently by various organizations and people.

So why should job seekers consider this type of work?  The main reason is because employers of all types are employing this way of hiring talent as part of their year-round staffing strategy.  The chances are the job function you perform is now being classified as a consulting or temporary job within that organization.  If you don’t consider positions in this classification, you may miss out on a number of great opportunities.

Why would an employer make a previously direct hire position now a contract job? Here are some of the benefits experienced by an employer when they hire a contract employee. By knowing these reasons, you can devise a strategy as to how and why a company should hire your skills set as a contractor increasing your chances of being hired:

  • Flexible Staffing Options: Companies want the flexibility of hiring and reducing staff without all of the employment costs and risks associated with a direct staff (benefits, unemployment, disability, workers compensation, etc).
  • Focused Expertise Intensity: Firms may bring on an expert level marketing executive to design a marketing strategy, but then hire a marketing manager-level candidate to execute the newly crafted plan.  Both will be contract roles, but the company is not under filling the job in the beginning to save money, but not overpaying for a skill set in the latter phases. In this way, they get the best of both skills and financial worlds.
  •  Immediate Skills Gap Addressed: When an in-house resource is not available, a temporary employee resource can shore up that skills set in a much shorter period of time than trying to find a long-term solution.
  • Try-Before-You-Buy (Temp-to-Hire): Here a company can bring a potential hire on as a contract employee and see how that person works within the organization. Both the company and the employee can see if it is a good fit before committing fully to each other.
  • Yield Management: The company can spend a lot on labor during peak periods, but then reduce the labor cost significantly during non-peak periods when the talent is not needed.
  • One-Time Project Needs: The firm maybe going through a massive system conversion or upgrade and not need an expert SAP system expert on staff at all times—or need a redundant team of 30 on the payroll after the system is converted. These individuals performing the conversion activities, operating the redundant systems or testing the new systems will be brought on in a contract/temporary capacity and released when the project is completed.
  • Non-Revenue/Non-Core Business Generating Roles: Organizations in the last decade have classified certain operational accounting, administrative, research, human resources, customer service, marketing and sales support functions as non-sales producing roles and, therefore, can be filled by temporary employees. The functions of these positions can be established to be rote processes and not affected by high turnover. For some companies, the only way to be hired in certain positions is to be hired on in a temporary capacity.
  • Cost Savings: Yes, the obvious reason is the company can save money by bringing on temporary employees by not paying a year-round salary and the corresponding benefits and perks offered directly hired employees. But that does not mean these temporary employees have to go without! Some temporary work (not all) is offered through third party search firms and staffing agencies that provide their temporary and consulting work staff access to benefits and perks that include healthcare, dental, vacation, sick pay, disability insurance, transit reimbursement, and other perks. If you are in need of benefits or are soon to be without this highly desired perk, then considering temporary work through a reputable agency can give you access to the benefits you seek.

Of course, this option will not be for everyone. Additionally, I never recommend that someone leave a direct hire position (commonly known as a permanent job, even though nothing in this employment world is permanent) for a temporary or contract position.  But for many who are currently not working or considerably underemployed, the world of contract work can open one up to more opportunities to consider and pursue to land employment that can advance their career, expand their networks and improve their skill set.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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