Are you looking for work, but your experience is all in full-time jobs? Especially in this economy, there are good reasons to consider a contracting position. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.
Contracting can keep your skills sharp, maybe lead to a full-time job, and will certainly give you a chance to network within a company.
Most important: You’ll have cash coming in, which means you’ll be in a better position to wait for the staff position you really want.
To go after contract work, you’ll need to alter your resume. It will have to show you have the exact skills needed for the job, as well as the expertise to get in, get it done, and move on.
Start by re-ordering. Don’t list your jobs in the order you’ve done them. List them in the order they apply to the job you want.
So, if the company is looking for a Java programmer, put that in your summary: “10 years Java programming at Acme Inc. and Beta LLC.”
Bear in mind: If you don’t have the skills listed in the job posting, you probably won’t get the contract. And agencies won’t want to recommend you if they’ve got other candidates with the exact experience the client company needs.
You’ll do best if you stick to skills and tools you’ve used recently. Say a manager needs an XML coder. You’ve got five years of that under your belt, but more recently you’ve been doing other things. Don’t be surprised if the manager passes on you to take someone who’s got less experience, but is coding with XML now.
If you’re offered an interview, think about the job from the employer’s perspective. Hiring managers aren’t looking for a perfect cultural fit. They want knowledge about the work, and the ability to complete the project. During the interview, explain how your specific, unique skill set will provide immediate value.
To be a successful contractor, you need to be an expert in something – a tool, an industry, a programming language or a certified project manager. Package and pitch yourself as an expert who can hit the ground running, and you’ll likely be given a chance to do just that.
I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.