The employment landscape has undergone a profound shift in recent times. Gone is the traditional notion of a lifelong career within a single company. In its place, the modern workforce is dynamic, flexible, and fluid; with many opportunities to advance your career within your chosen industry and the opportunity to branch out into other areas.
In the sea of job opportunities sits the contracting world. While contract work has many clear benefits, one you may not have yet considered is how it can fast-track your professional and personal career development.
Regarding the debate around contract work vs permanent positions, here are five main reasons contracting may have a permanent place in your professional career development.
Broaden Your Skillset and Knowledge Base
One of the most apparent contracting benefits is its impact on your skills toolkit, precisely the opportunity it offers to learn and grow quickly.
Contracting exposes you to a wide range of projects, industries, and clients. It often involves quickly jumping into new assignments which accelerates your learning curve. Each contract brings fresh challenges requiring you to grasp the project's goals, objectives, and deliverables rapidly. This fast-paced environment promotes continuous learning and personal growth as you acquire new skills and techniques to excel in different project scenarios.
You can most commonly enhance your problem-solving, resilience, agility, and overall adaptability when doing contracting work. These skills are precious in the current market, ensuring your services are ever in demand. The benefits of contract work also extend to your knowledge base. It allows you to accumulate a wealth of experience relatively quickly. You’ll encounter varied business environments, technologies, and methodologies, all which add depth to your resume and reinforces your versatility and adaptability. This makes it even easier for you to land your next contracting position.
On the contrary, a permanent role has a specific job description and responsibilities within a particular department or team. There’s limited scope for tackling different projects within a range of industries or even utilising new technologies.
You may also experience a plateau in your learning. As you become comfortable doing your job, new challenges and learning opportunities diminish. Staying in one role and with one organisation can narrow your perspective, limited to the internal workings of that company and industry. As contracting exposes you to different companies, cultures and teams, it can foster a broader understanding of business practices and industry trends, another great notch to add to your tool belt.
Greater Responsibility and Independence
Companies hire contractors for their well-developed skillset, expertise and ability to hit the ground running. As such, those in contracting roles are often given significant responsibilities.
As employers expect results quickly, they’re usually unbothered about the means contractors take to get there – provided they’re ethical and legal, of course! This gives you a level of responsibility and autonomy you can’t often get in a permanent role.
It’s a great way to foster your career development, mainly as it allows you to take full ownership of your work and make the right decisions for you and your workflow. After all, when micromanaging is removed, and employees are left to their devices, productivity soars. It’s one of the most significant contracting benefits that you will gain.
Widens Your Professional Circle
The very nature of contracting work exposes you to a broad cross-section of clients, teams, and other stakeholders. This naturally expands your professional network, allowing you to connect with influential individuals within your industry.
Building a robust network is a surefire way to open doors to new opportunities, referrals, and collaborations. The relationships you cultivate as a contractor can become a valuable asset throughout your career, as both a support system and a stepping-stone to your next position.
Develops Your Enterprising Skills
As a contractor, you’re essentially running your own business. You’ll quickly cultivate a strategic mindset, especially when marketing your skills and managing your finances.
Honing these skills is an advantage for your career development. It gives you valuable insights into the business side of your profession, such as negotiating contracts, managing client relationships and maintaining a steady income stream. You can then apply some of these entrepreneurial skills in your contracting work, which may even lead to the opportunity to become a consultant or even start your own business!
A Chance To Try Before You Buy
One of the features of the modern workforce is the rise of career shifters, people who leave their industry to enter an entirely new one.
It’s a big move and potentially risky, especially if the industry you’re switching to is dramatically different from the one you’re leaving. But one of the great contracting benefits is that you can dip your toes in the waters before fully diving in.
As the typical length of contracts lasts from anywhere between a few months to a few years, it gives you time to assess if this new industry is the right decision for your career development.
As you can see, contracting is a unique platform for your professional career development. It allows you to diversify your skill set, learn rapidly, enjoy greater autonomy and expand your network.
If you’re keen to explore what possibilities a contracting career has in store for you, please feel free to contact one of our recruitment specialists here at peoplefusion. We have a wide array of contracting jobs in Newcastle in a multitude of industries, including accounting and finance, communications, digital and marketing, data, analytics and technology.