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Career Insights: 5 Situations When Contracting Makes Sense

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

If you’ve spent most of your career working as a regular full-time employee, you may be wondering why so many professionals are leaving steady jobs to join the burgeoning gig economy.

Diverse contractors at desk.

Granted, there are pitfalls, and a move to freelancing requires careful consideration. But there are times when contracting is a viable alternative to full-time employment and the best way to keep your engineering career moving forward.

Here are five situations when contracting could be the preferred choice for engineering professionals.

To Increase Your Marketability

The number one reason to consider contracting is to increase your marketability. In fact, Millennials are finding that frequent job changes build expertise and often create a faster route to success and promotions. Nowadays, employers tend to look for seasoned professionals with diverse project experience when they hire full-time engineers. If your career (and salary) have plateaued, or you’ve lost your job, expanding your resume and project portfolio through a series of contract assignments can make you more attractive to a new employer.

To Broaden Your Skillset

Engineering career coach Anthony Fasano credits his success as a project manager to “working on many different types of projects that covered many different disciplines.” If you’ve mastered your current responsibilities, and have limited opportunities to tackle cutting edge projects or stretch assignments, contracting is an easy way to gain experience quickly. Plus, being an independent worker may awaken your entrepreneurial spirit and enrich your marketing skills.

To Bolster Your Cachet

Getting your foot in the door at a prominent engineering firm can be difficult. The vetting process for full-time employees is often lengthy and rigorous. But these same firms hire contractors on a regular basis. Adding a list of big name companies to your resume will boost your cachet with colleagues and prospective employers. And interviewing and working at a variety of firms will give you a chance to meet new people and build a network of influential contacts.

To Find a New Job

Finding a new job is a full-time job these days. Contracting can give you the flexibility to attend networking events or interview without feeling pangs of guilt or fear of reprisal. Plus, it’s no secret that most full-time openings are filled by referrals and insiders. You may have an opportunity to transition to full-time status once an engineering manager gets a firsthand look at the quality of your work and cultural alignment.  And you’re bound to get more inquiries from recruiters and engineering managers when you change your status from employee to contractor. Hang out your shingle and see what happens.

To Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labors

Contract work can be lucrative as engineering firms are often willing to pay a premium for professionals who can handle difficult projects or hit the ground running. Contracting is also a great way to supplement income from a side business or retirement plan. And best of all, you can enjoy extra time off between projects while keeping your skills, knowledge and professional licenses up-to-date. If you’ve spent years building a good reputation and engineering resume, contracting is the perfect way to leverage the career capital you’ve earned.

Other Articles of Potential Interest

Job Hunting Tips for 2016 Engineering Graduates

Questions Engineering Managers Want You to Ask in an Interview

6 Surprising In-Demand Skill Sets for Engineers

Peer Power: Job Hunting Tips from Fellow Contract Engineers

5 Ways Contracting Advances Your Engineering Career

5 Ways to Sell Yourself in an Interview

Help PEAK find the right placement for you:  Submit or Update your resume.

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Career Insights: 5 Situations When Contracting Makes Sense

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

If you’ve spent most of your career working as a regular full-time employee, you may be wondering why so many professionals are leaving steady jobs to join the burgeoning gig economy.

Diverse contractors at desk.

Granted, there are pitfalls, and a move to freelancing requires careful consideration. But there are times when contracting is a viable alternative to full-time employment and the best way to keep your engineering career moving forward.

Here are five situations when contracting could be the preferred choice for engineering professionals.

To Increase Your Marketability

The number one reason to consider contracting is to increase your marketability. In fact, Millennials are finding that frequent job changes build expertise and often create a faster route to success and promotions. Nowadays, employers tend to look for seasoned professionals with diverse project experience when they hire full-time engineers. If your career (and salary) have plateaued, or you’ve lost your job, expanding your resume and project portfolio through a series of contract assignments can make you more attractive to a new employer.

To Broaden Your Skillset

Engineering career coach Anthony Fasano credits his success as a project manager to “working on many different types of projects that covered many different disciplines.” If you’ve mastered your current responsibilities, and have limited opportunities to tackle cutting edge projects or stretch assignments, contracting is an easy way to gain experience quickly. Plus, being an independent worker may awaken your entrepreneurial spirit and enrich your marketing skills.

To Bolster Your Cachet

Getting your foot in the door at a prominent engineering firm can be difficult. The vetting process for full-time employees is often lengthy and rigorous. But these same firms hire contractors on a regular basis. Adding a list of big name companies to your resume will boost your cachet with colleagues and prospective employers. And interviewing and working at a variety of firms will give you a chance to meet new people and build a network of influential contacts.

To Find a New Job

Finding a new job is a full-time job these days. Contracting can give you the flexibility to attend networking events or interview without feeling pangs of guilt or fear of reprisal. Plus, it’s no secret that most full-time openings are filled by referrals and insiders. You may have an opportunity to transition to full-time status once an engineering manager gets a firsthand look at the quality of your work and cultural alignment.  And you’re bound to get more inquiries from recruiters and engineering managers when you change your status from employee to contractor. Hang out your shingle and see what happens.

To Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labors

Contract work can be lucrative as engineering firms are often willing to pay a premium for professionals who can handle difficult projects or hit the ground running. Contracting is also a great way to supplement income from a side business or retirement plan. And best of all, you can enjoy extra time off between projects while keeping your skills, knowledge and professional licenses up-to-date. If you’ve spent years building a good reputation and engineering resume, contracting is the perfect way to leverage the career capital you’ve earned.

Other Articles of Potential Interest

Job Hunting Tips for 2016 Engineering Graduates

Questions Engineering Managers Want You to Ask in an Interview

6 Surprising In-Demand Skill Sets for Engineers

Peer Power: Job Hunting Tips from Fellow Contract Engineers

5 Ways Contracting Advances Your Engineering Career

5 Ways to Sell Yourself in an Interview

Help PEAK find the right placement for you:  Submit or Update your resume.

|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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