Contracting as an audition

According to many recent government reports and business publications, freelancing is here to stay. It is a great way to earn extra income, and can be a wonderful way for new graduates or those who are changing careers to gain verifiable experience.

Being an independent contractor, as some freelancing arrangements are set up, can also allow a potential employer to get used to working with you. It gives the contractor the opportunity to not only produce quality work, but it proves that the worker can play well with others, understands the workplace culture and adds value to the team.

Treating a freelance assignment as a job “audition” can also help in many long-term ways. Primarily, if the contractor is interested in working for the organization or university full-time, or at least permanently, that person will be first in line and top-of-mind when a position becomes open. It also gives the contractor the opportunity to develop references for any potential openings that may come up, as well as good references for continued freelance work.

If the work performed is of a repeating nature, such as the same class being taught over and over again, having that little bit of institutional memory can also be a valuable advantage over candidates who apply from the outside.

It pays to have a conversation with the person who supervises you in contract work, or other department contacts with whom you work. If you leave the door open to coming on board full-time, then you can be in the position to prove that you can do the job even before the posting goes up. Don’t let your supervisor just assume that you are there to only fulfill the terms of your contract if you really want to have a full-time position.

Kimberley Sirk is a North Carolina-based writer and editor with government, higher education and big-brand healthcare public relations and marketing experience.


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