Employee or Contractor: Initial Career Choices

We hear all the time from candidates they aren’t interested in a contracting position as they only want a full time job. This is even more typical for entry level employees. This is a MISTAKE that may cost you money and more importantly an opportunity to get your foot in the door at a top company.

There are several benefits of starting out as a contractor but it is also important to understand that a full time position in 99% of cases will not last forever. Companies can easily lay off employees at any point, and it is a myth that full time jobs are more stable.

Benefits of Starting out as a Contractor:

  1. Easier to get your foot in the door 

Have you been applying to hundreds of full time jobs online with no response?  You are not alone! Contract positions are typically filled by recruiters who have access to the hiring managers. You may get a call about a job and be able to interview that week. Take the interview and get some experience ASAP. Don’t wait around for a full time position when you can get actual work experience and build up your resume. The experience you can put on your resume will help you immensely in the future.

  1. Flexibility – Try New Things

Being a contractor gives you the ability to try positions and see what interests you. You can take a spot for 6 months, decide it’s not for you, and leave with on consequences. You can learn different skill sets, different industries, and build meaningful career connections.  You may think you want to work as a developer but once you get into a position realize that it is not for you. Leaving is easy at the end of the contract and you have learned a valuable lesson.  If you are working in technology you will have the ability to use many different technologies giving you a broader skill set, making you more desirable in the long run.

  1. Higher pay rate

Generally, a contractor makes a higher hourly rate with fewer benefits. Being fresh out of school this may work well for you as you can stay on your parent’s medical insurance until you are 26. You may also consider setting up a corporation and then you will have the ability to deduct business expenses, lowering your tax liability.  You can use that extra money in your pocket now to save for a down payment on an apartment, a car, or pay for graduate school. Many times the additional rate makes up for the benefits that may be offered at a full time position.  The ending of a contracting position also offers you the opportunity to get a higher rate on your next position as you have more experience and are more desirable. It is usually difficult to get a substantial raise when you are working full time at a company, many times you need to leave to get that increase. With contracting you will have an easier time substantially increasing your rates over shorter periods of time.

 

  1. Exposure to Industry Contacts

You will meet many new industry contacts on every contracting gig. Many times being a contractor allows you to see different parts of the organization and meet with many different types of people. As an entry-level employee this is a great opportunity to make connections and industry contacts. Don’t be afraid to take a position that is lower than what you are ideally looking for. I had a college roommate take a contracting position as an administrative assistant at a financial company after college and she rose through the ranks and impressed her colleagues. Through those contacts she was promoted into new roles and was wildly successful. She owns her own apartment in NYC and ‘retired’ at age 35. You have to start somewhere so get moving!

Don’t shy away from contracting positions solely because they are not full time. Full time does not mean forever and there are so many positives to taking a less traditional path.  Get the experience you can, start learning new skills, and meet and network with new people!

Written by 

As COO, Katie Delgado is responsible for running Crossfire's entire staffing arm. She loves nothing more than connecting talented people with fulfilling jobs. She has a passion for helping women in technology advance their careers. In her free time she is involved in helping develop early stage biotechnology.

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