Transition to a New Position

by Susan Mullin

DC marketers in transition find many professional benefits in short-term contract roles

Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a while or looking for novelty, consider short-term contract work. Especially if you want to try it before making the big leap.

Contract roles are perfect for marketing and communications professionals who are:

  • Returning to work after taking time off to care for children or elderly parents
  • Looking to explore a new company or industry
  • Accustomed to many years working for the same employer or within the same industry
  • Relocating to the D.C. area with a military or government-employed spouse
  • Looking for the flexibility afforded by short-term, focused assignments
  • Eager to gain new skills and experience in a particular area of marketing

TorchLight helps our clients find excellent professionals to fill some of their most important short-term or project-based contract work. 

Once you’ve decided to explore contract work, keep these tips in mind:

Identify the skills you have and the ones you’d like to develop further

Contract work is a great time to focus more deeply in work that you love most. It’s also a good opportunity to expand your expertise in new directions. When considering a new contract role, make a list of the skills you bring to the table that any company would love to have. Next, make a list of the skills or experiences you want to cultivate. For example: One candidate spent 10 years in a traditional marketing role leading award-winning national campaigns; she wanted to take those skills and strategies apply them to digital marketing, a new area for her. The employer was thrilled to find a candidate with her deep marketing experience so she could mentor younger colleagues in the finer points of marketing strategies while also gaining new digital skills herself.

Consider how your experience in one industry or for one employer can translate into benefits for the next employer

Some industries attract the same people with the same skills. That’s why many employers will find you extremely valuable if you come to them from a different industry. You bring insights, experiences and connections from one sector that can benefit a very different one. Consider what industry experience you have that another company would find valuable.

Think of yourself in terms of skills, not in terms of titles

After so many years in the workforce, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of yourself only by your job title. With contract work, your title (actual or perceived) is less important than your skills and experience. If you were a strategist in one job, perhaps you would like to be part of implementation and execution as a contractor. Take advantage of new opportunities to be involved in marketing and communications from all facets.

Check your ego at the door

As a contractor, your role is to make the client look good. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, contracting may not be for you. But if you want to make an impact on a company’s goals, work in a team setting and focus your efforts on a specific project or skill, you’re what many companies seek.

Be self-directed

In a contract role, you will be asked to dive right in to do your part to get the project done. While it’s important to collaborate and communicate with your team mates, it’s just as important to be a self starter who can work independently without a lot of specific direction.

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Posted in , Professional Development