Moving from permanent to contract Project Management roles

If you easily lose interest in your role and fine you want to move on regularly – you may be a perfect candidate for contracting. We are all different, some like to firmly plant their roots with an organisation and stay there for years; others want the challenge of a fresh portfolio and new faces. If you like change then I can highly recommend contracting, I have done it myself and it really does put a fresh perspective on your working life.

Contracting can offer a wealth of experience to your skill set and often the challenges faced on such assignments are not for the feint hearted. Typically an organisation will identify the need for resource on a particular area in the business – this can be anything from implementing a new IT system to streamlining the business. However as the contract roles are usually priced at a reasonably high day rate, the onus is on a professional in that field to join the organisation and implement the change. There are rarely, if ever, any inductions and no settling in periods. It’s time to hit the ground running. You will be self equipped with a laptop and mobile which you will need plugging into the business system (although financial services do tend to offer laptops and mobiles for security reasons) and downloading various applications used by the business, then off you go!

There is little room for forging friendships in such roles however an ability to quickly form strong business relationships is essential. You are there to perform a role and this may inevitably involve redundancies which means it’s no popularity contest – even if redundancies are not in the schedule, employees are often wary of contractors joining the team so you may meet a some hostility. These are considerations to make when looking at contract assignments – a lot of contractors I know are thick skinned and appreciate the day rate is commensurate to the task in hand.

If you are looking to move from your permanent role to a contract role you need to plan ahead and think about your notice period as a starting point – I have yet to come across a contract role which will allow for a months’ notice period. Actually, most contract roles need someone to be in the job within a week if not days of being interviewed. Can you afford to hand in your notice? Weigh up the risk of not securing a new contract for weeks and potentially months after finishing up your permanent contract.

Do your research – understand what level day rate you should be pitching yourself at, remember your first couple of assignments are crucial to gain credibility as a contractor so do not pitch yourself too high whilst trying to gain valuable experience and evidence that you can hit the ground running.

Your CV also needs to be a little different than a when looking to secure permanent work – to discuss, please get in touch with your CV for a free review and to talk further about contract recruitment.

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