Ask James Caan – Issue 89
Before we begin, I’m pleased to announce, the group has now reached an astonishing 75,000 members. I really think it’s time for the market to open up new ways for job seekers and employers to engage, and our success is proving just that.
Success in today’s job market is about finding a need and filling it. The job market is more fluid than it has ever been. Statistically more people change jobs and companies than they have ever done before. This volatility provides opportunities, and it’s your job to spot them.
So how would you do this if you are a contractor looking to move into permanent work?
Take Ruth for instance – a Head of Marketing who has spent the last 10 years as a contractor, and is now seeking a permanent opportunity.
She tells me she chose contract work as it allowed her to develop skills she wouldn’t have otherwise. However, now she’s looking for a permanent position, she is struggling to be placed due to recruiters’ certain reservations.
She tells me:
‘I am having difficulties moving from contracting into permanent roles as a lot of recruitment agencies keep saying “we can sell you as a contractor to our customers but would have difficulties selling you in a permanent role”.
‘How would you recommend helping the recruitment agencies overcome their prejudice. I have explained the situation to them.’
Ruth, switching career paths between contractor to permanent is certainly not an uncommon trend of late. Everyone has different motivations, whether that’s a better work/life balance, on-the-job training or perhaps they’re spending too much of their own time catching up on market trends and would like more ‘average’ working hours.
On the surface, a highly skilled marketing contractor seeking a permanent position may seem great for a recruiter as it increases their candidate pool; but applicants who have been contracting for a long time should be all too aware of the ‘image’ associated with this type of work.
This ‘image’ I refer to is that long-term contractors do not want to remain with the same company for a lengthy period of time and that they will soon become bored or frustrated. Whilst this is not a bad thing, it is a topic you may have to be prepared to persuade otherwise.
Even more so, the fact that you are using an agency to get placed means the company who is going to hire you may have to pay a fee to take you on – so any organisation is going to make sure you want to join them for the long haul.
The reality is, Ruth, you have stayed in a contracted position for up to two years, showing you have longevity, even on a project basis. Use this information in your CV to demonstrate your commitment to a role and your desire to settle down in a position.
As a marketing contractor, there is a lot of value you can bring to an organisation, and your broad range of experience shows me you have a lot to offer. It may seem an obvious point, however, but do you have a portfolio of you contracted work? By demonstrating your skill set, along with the results you have produced, will help to build your case for recruiters to put you forward for a permanent position.
Don’t limit your job search to just recruitment agencies. You need to be casting a wider net. Make sure you use all the resources that are available. You mentioned that you are a member of the CIM, have you contacted them? One of the great things about contracting is the people you meet, and the large network you build as a result, so get in touch and let them know you’re looking.
Good luck with your search.