How Contract Work Can Help Advance Your Career


Have you been reluctant to consider temporary assignments in the past? If so, your reservations may have caused you to miss out on a plethora of valuable career opportunities. In fact, a significant portion of our country’s workforce is made up of temporary and contract employees. According to the American Staffing Association (ASA), America’s staffing companies employ more than three million temporary and contract employees during an average week, and nearly 15 million during the course of a year! 

Contract Work Misconceptions

While temporary or contract work can be extremely valuable to your career, this type of work is often misunderstood and undervalued. Common misconceptions include the belief that temporary / contract positions:

  • Are part time
  • Are short term
  • Pay poorly
  • Lack company benefits
  • Lack job security
  • Lead to negative perceptions of being a job hopper

Issues such as these are valid concerns, but it is important to remember that the temporary employment situation has evolved over time. These preconceived notions are not as common anymore, especially when applying for positions requiring more experience and when working with reputable companies.

Change is constant. Jobs, even those classified as “permanent,” rarely come with a guarantee. Through its research, the ASA has found that of all temporary / contract employees surveyed,

  • The average wage was over $17 per hour, but many make over $100 per hour.
  • 76% work full time
  • 90% believe the experience made them more employable
  • 35% were offered a permanent position

Perception is situation dependent, but it is important to note how a resume filled with contract work is more acceptable in certain industries and professions than others. Due to the nature of the work, temporary (or leased) employees are commonly utilized on government assignments and throughout the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Benefits of Contract Work

Contract work can be incredibly beneficial to your career in a number of ways. For example, it can help you:

1. Build Your Resume

Contract work can provide candidates with opportunities to gain a wide variety of valuable work experience.  This can be an effective strategy when building up your resume, particularly for young professionals and those making a career transition.

It can be challenging to secure a new position if you do not already possess some experience in your field. Employers may be more willing to take a chance on less experienced candidate if it is a temporary assignment. The you acquire experience that can be added to your resume. In the end, this could help you appear more enticing to future employers as you have prior experience in the field.

2. Develop Professionally

A contract assignment can be an exceptional learning opportunity. Even if you are performing similar roles with each new contract assignment, each organization has its own teaching methods, cultures and work styles. The variance enables you to become more adaptable, and allows you to expand your skill sets. If you have interest in building a career within a specific specialty, a contract position can be ideal for gaining experience in the kind of company you intend to target in the future.

3. Network

As with any job, you will have a chance to meet a lot of new people when you work in a contract position, including other professionals in your field. This is something that unquestionably should be taken advantage of, as crafting a strong network can help you find new opportunities down the road and provide you with support as you progress down your career path.

Additionally, some of your coworkers and managers on a contract assignment may make excellent references when you look for your next position, making forging strong relationship here even more valuable.

4. Secure Permanent Employment

In some instances, contract employees are offered permanents positions with the company if they perform well on the job during their . Many businesses lease / hire temporary employees as a form of a working interview. This “try before you buy” method gives both the candidate and the company the opportunity to work together before making a more long term commitment.

Build your Career at RealStreet

Ultimately, contract work can be excellent for your career as long as you take advantage of everything the company, managers and coworkers have to offer. If you are interested in finding a temporary architecture, engineering, or construction assignment, the professionals at RealStreet can connect you with some of today’s leading employers. Contact us to learn more about our available jobs and how our services can work for you!

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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