Competition is fierce for the limited number of job opportunities in the market these days and it seems you have to be exceptional to receive a job offer. Employers are looking for qualified candidates who meet their exact criteria, and if a job applicant doesn’t have what want they quickly move on to the next person who does. But, in an employer’s market, those job seekers who are willing to take flexible work assignments or contract work while waiting for a more permanent arrangement, or who would like a non-traditional job may just have the upper hand.
Many unemployed workers as well as recent college graduates and retirees are choosing to become “contigent-preneurs”, self-employed individuals who take on temporary or contract work assignments as a career. I’m not talking about temporary agency employees (although some contigent-preneurs work on agency assignments); but skilled clerical, technical, professional and managerial workers who willingly choose flexible short-term work assignments for the sheer joy of being in business for themselves.
Contingent-preneurs are in high demand in a tight labor market, especially for interim assignments that bridge the gap between job eliminations and changes in business direction, and where emphasizing high-skill levels, rather than a general knowledge, work to their advantage.
Contingent-Preneurship can be a win-win solution that offers high value to an employer as well as the professional who desires only periodic stints of employment. An employer benefits from the services of seasoned professionals who work as independent contractors to fill key positions that are likely to remain open for a while, or in sensitive areas that would cause harm to a business if left unattended. The contingent-preneur maintains control over his or her career and lifestyle, while performing interesting and enjoyable work.
Tips for Becoming a Contingent-Preneur
· Assess your skill-set. Determine which skills would be of value to an employer. If you have skills that cross multiple industries, make sure to highlight these. The more flexible you are, the better your chances of landing an assignment.
· Research employers who need your skill set. Give particular attention to companies in your industry that have recently laid off knowledge workers. Network with representatives of these firms and other industry contacts to locate contract work.
· Register with a professional temporary agency to get started. Look for firms with a solid business reputation and long-standing employer contracts.
· Go into business for yourself and be your own boss. Develop your personal brand and market your skills. Make sure to set up your business as a legal entity and investigate legal and financial requirements.
While contingent-preneurship may not be for everyone, it can offer hope and provide much needed income while searching for a more permanent work arrangement. Studies have shown that 40% of those who take contract work end up being offered a regular job at the assignment’s end.