What is a Contract Job?

••• Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images

Definition

Job interview
••• Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

An organization offers contract jobs when a specific task needs to be completed. The job description is given, and a person or company must apply for it. Once all the applications are reviewed, the organization chooses the best qualified candidates and offers them the job. The major difference between a contract job and regular employment is the duration of the job, which is only until the project is complete.

Nature of Contract Jobs

Contractor
••• Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Contract jobs are not permanent positions, but that doesn't mean that the job won't take weeks, months or sometimes years to complete. A contract job could be something as simple as organizing an office, which could take days, or as complicated as building a skyscraper, a project that will take years. The longer the contract, often the more money involved to pay the workers and to cover other expenses.

Temps

Substitute teacher
••• George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The most common sort of contract employee are temps, or temporary employees. An organization that needs to fill temporary openings will often use a staffing agency, which is a company that keeps lists of employees who work in a certain type of field. Substitute teachers, secretaries, office workers and others can all be temps. If an opening needs to be filled, a temp agency will call up any of those people who are on the list and ask them if they'd like to take the temporary position that's currently available. The staffing agency simply goes down the list until finding someone willing to take the job for its client.

Freelancers

Freelancer
••• Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Freelance workers, like those the name is taken from, are mercenaries. These are often small agencies, or independent workers who will do work on an assignment by assignment basis for a company. Writers, private security and advertising executives may be freelance workers. Freelancers are those who usually have some skill that is desired for a specific project, which is what makes them different from temps, who usually do unskilled labor or office work.

Trial by Fire

Contract worker
••• BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Fulfilling a number of contract jobs in a certain field often makes a person look much better as a prospective, permanent employee. As such, having a number of contract jobs on your job history shows that you can fulfill a position and complete objectives. In addition, many companies will offer contract jobs, and if a person is a good worker who meets deadlines, he may be offered a more permanent position with the company.

References

About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.

Photo Credits

  • Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images