When chatting with scientists during their job hunt, two of the most common questions we get asked are “what even iscontracting?” or “what does contract work actually look like?” This is usually accompanied with some level of hesitation—and we totally get it! If you’ve never worked as a contractor before, there a ton of unknowns and it can be hard to figure out if contracting can be the right fit for you.
To cover the basics, a contract role is a position that is for a set length of time—typically 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year. At Carex, contractors are employees of Carex that work with one of our partner companies during that predetermined period of time.
Now, more importantly, how can that be helpful to your career in the sciences?
For Those Entry-Level Jobs That Still Require Experience
For many scientists coming out of their degree program (whether it be a BS, MS, or even PhD), it can be notoriously hard to break into the “industry” outside of academia. Many industry roles require some level of prior industry experience for a candidate to be considered. A contract role can be a great way to gain valuable experience in a new industry like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, or medical devices. This can also apply to scientists looking to switch their focus from one industry to another.
Here For a Good Time, Not a Long Time
A contract role can be a great way to gain experience in your field of interest during a transitionary period or when you may only have availability on a temporary basis. A gap year is a common example of when it might be the right time to seek out a contract position. Having an additional 6 months to 1 year of professional clinical or research laboratory experience prior to applying to a medical or graduate program can be a big plus!
Workin’ 9 to 5 (or 12 to 8, or 3 to 11, or…)
At Carex, we see a wide range of schedules for our contract positions—far beyond the “standard” 9 to 5. You may be able to choose between a few different set schedules, or there may be total flexibility to create your own hours. We see it all! This is definitely one of the big upsides to contracting, especially if you have scheduling preferences outside of what is considered standard.
Try It Before You “Buy It”
Taking a contract position is a fantastic way to try out a schedule, type of lab, or company before committing to a permanent role. If something isn’t working out, there is a set end date where you can walk away if it’s not for you. On the flip side, if something is a perfect fit, we do frequently see contracts be renewed or consultants transition into a permanent role with the company (we call these roles Contract-to-Hire)!
You Can Make Great $$$
Lastly, there are many positions that are eligible for contracting to give more flexibility because they are in high demand. Part of that flexibility includes compensation. This can lead to high hourly pay for scientists with the desired skillset or certifications—who doesn’t love that?!