While some professionals are reluctant to take contract positions, interim and contract work in architecture and design actually have a lot of advantages. Not only are contract workers classified as regular employees (and receive a W-2), they also receive many of the same benefits a regular employee would. Here are some other ways interim and contract work can benefit candidates.
Full-time Work Isn’t Always Available
Contract work is an excellent alternative when full-time work is scarce. You will still receive compensation and benefits, and if you work well with the firm it can lead to a full-time position. Firms often hire contract employees to better understand the candidate and let the candidate get to know the firm. It is actually quite common for contract employees to transition to full-time.
Expand Your Horizons
A contract position can give candidates an opportunity to try out a different niche than what they are used to. For example, if you typically work in hospitality, you could get a contract position in corporate interiors to see if that is an area you’d like to transition to. This type of experimentation can help you figure out what niche you truly enjoy working in. Contract positions also allow you the opportunity to work with new designers and to work with new teams, which makes it a great way to expand your professional network and increase your exposure to different styles and aesthetics. Ultimately, contract positions give you more control over the direction of your career and allow for more flexibility.
Build Your Portfolio and Project List
Another advantage of performing contract work is that helps you build out your portfolio and project list. Employers focus so much on portfolios when hiring, so it is a huge advantage to be able to showcase a flexible and extensive portfolio when you go to job hunt. Short-term work is a great way to lengthen your project list.
Your portfolio can be a PDF, or you can use a portfolio development platform, such as Issuu. The key to creating a successful portfolio is to make your portfolio relevant to the company and position you are applying for. You also want the portfolio to be explanatory in nature. While some candidates include solely pictures in their portfolio, more successful candidates explain the pictures and provide the employer with insight into your talent and design aesthetic. You also want to include team projects so you can showcase your ability to design in a collaborative environment.
Contract and interim work can be quite beneficial to architect and design professionals. Taking on contract work can give you the opportunity to experiment with different companies and niches, expand your skillset and project list, and develop your portfolio. Plus, you will still receive many of the same benefits as full-time employees.
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