Contracting can be a great opportunity to land your next job, fast track your career, and even give yourself a bit of a raise. When job seekers start a new contract position after switching from a full-time role, it's usually amazes them how quickly the process moves. “Wow… that was fast,” is a common response - but don't move so fast that you forget to ask yourself some important questions first.
While you consider the questions below, bear in mind that those who are critical of contract positions may unwittingly provide false information about these types of positions - anything but a full-time job lacks benefits and stability are among common misconceptions. Workbridge Associates actually offers a health care insurance package and PTO, which is a growing trend in companies that hire contractors. A contract role can be an easy and flexible way to gain employment in a fast-moving IT industry. Have kids? Imagine not being tied to a 9-5 schedule. Trying to get your foot in the door with a large company you already applied to in the past? An alternative path to the inside could be through contracting.
You can find a contract or contract-to-hire position on our job board here.
Be sure to have the answers to these important questions from the company, recruiter, or just yourself before committing:
How long is the contract?
Know how long you’ll be working on this contract. That way, you’ll know when you need to start thinking about the next contract or the next steps to converting full-time. Contract lengths can run anything from 4 weeks all the way to, well, forever.
Is this for a project that has been secured?
Find out if the business is already won by the contracting company because sometimes firms like to start the interview process BEFORE being awarded the business and have the ability to put contractors on. You certainly don’t want to turn down other offers you had when the job you accepted technically doesn’t exist yet. A simple way of asking is: “If I accept the offer, how soon can I start?” The answer you’re looking for should be a something like immediately, on Monday, or right after your two week notice.
Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee or as 1099?
The main differences come down to taxes. As a W-2 employee, you will receive pay checks with tax withholding already taken, and you’ll receive an IRS W-2 from your employer in January of the following year. If you are hired as a 1099 contractor, you’ll get full pay with no tax deductions, but you are also responsible for paying your own taxes come April 15th of the following year.
It’s tempting to opt for a 1099 since your pay checks are bigger, but that smile quickly goes away when you realize you not only have to calculate how much you owe at the end of the year, but in fact you OWE MORE! You get tagged with self-employment tax which is another 13-14% of your income on top of the taxes you already pay. As a perk, however, you can write off multiple expenses for your work as well (transportation, computers, phone service, etc.) Think about these points before deciding which is better for you.
What happens when the contract ends?
It’s important to know what your options are. Some staffing companies have other projects they will have needs for, and it’s good to know if you might qualify for those. The benefit of using a technology-specific staffing firm is that a great majority of their other clients will have needs that match your skill set so that when you’re done with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another quickly with minimal downtime.
What is the realistic time-frame of converting temp-to-hire?
If the job is a contract-to-hire position, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of when you might be converting to full-time status. This sets the expectations on both sides, and ensures that you and your potential employer are on the same page. Typically the timeline can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If you find yourself in the eigth month with no talk of conversion, it’s time to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager.
What salary should I expect when I accept a full-time offer following my contract role?
Most people get a bit nervous when talking about salary and compensation, but it's important to be aware of what the potential salary would look like if you convert to full-time. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to have now, it’ll save you a headache down the road. You don’t want to find yourself having worked 4 months into a contract only to find that the salary they are thinking isn't close to what you were expecting. Of course, it’s important to be realistic as well. If you are a W-2 employee getting paid $45/hour, you should be considering a base salary of around $90,000 (inclusive of benefits and such).
Have more questions about being a contractor? Ask a Workbridge representative near you.
For a first-timer, a contract position can look intimidating. Don’t let that stop you from considering the opportunity and asking the essential questions before coming to a decision. Working with a recruiter can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation if you're unsure, but it comes down to getting all the answers you need in order to make the right decision.
Whether you’re looking for a career change in the New Year or simply wanting to add that new skill you learned in 2015, the Holidays are the perfect time to update that dusty, outdated resume you haven’t touched in a while.
A new year means a fresh start, and for a lot of companies, it means new roles to fill. So if you’re looking for new job opportunities, it is important to spruce up that resume so you can stand out from all those other applicants. Even if you’re not seeking a new career path, improving your resume or C/V can help you set new goals for the new year, look back on past accomplishments, identify skills you may want to brush up on and can even prepare you for when you do decide to make that big career move.
Let us help you get to the next step in your career. Contact your local Workbridge office
Either way, here are 6 simple, easy tips to spruce up your resume over the Holidays:
1. New Year = New Look
Updating your resume and renewing its appearance will give you a rejuvenated sense of confidence and a fresh start to the New Year. If your resume has had the same layout for 4-5 years, it is time to give it a more modern look. It can still have a conventional format, but it should be done in a more contemporary style. Employers notice unique resume designs, so try to make yours stand out as much as possible.
2. Tailor versions of your resume
When developing your resume, be sure to tailor separate versions to fit each career field or job position you are applying for. Employers may spend only about 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine whether your background and skills match their requirements. An effective resume will convince an employer that you have the skillsets and qualifications for the job you are applying for.
3. Optimize your keywords
Use the same keywords from the job that you are applying in the employment sections of your resume and in any online profiles to improve keyword optimization. For example, if your current title is “Business Systems Analyst” but the job title you are applying for is listed as “IT Supervisor” - and it has essentially the same requirements - then consider listing your position on your resume/profile as “Business Systems Analyst (IT Supervisor)” to help clarify what you are pursuing in the eyes of the hiring manager. Another example would be to take keywords from the job ad and replace existing ones in your skills/qualifications and even profile sections with them to match more closely with the position requirements. For instance, if you have “excellent communication skills” listed on your resume but the job ad has “superior communication skills” listed as a requirement, consider changing it to the word “superior” in order to help with the keyword optimization of your target role.
4. List your most notable achievements for the year.
Review your past year’s accomplishments and make a detailed list of the challenges that you have experienced, the steps you took to overcome those challenges, and summarize your successful accomplishments. Spotlight as many achievements on your resume to help you land that interview you have been waiting for. This will also help you be better prepared in the interview when answering those tough questions.
5. Create a killer "Summary of Qualifications"
For your prospective employer, a Summary of Qualifications can influence your chance of being called in for an interview. Functioning as an intriguing film trailer or the summary found at the back of an alluring book, this key function of the resume section is to impress employers and entice interest about your possible talent. It is essential that your Summary of Qualifications appears within the top section your self-marketing document and your list should be no longer than 3-5 key points. First, brainstorm your skills, experiences and abilities. Treat this like a creative writing exercise, where you can refine and limit your summary later. Next, review and critique your summary on an ongoing basis. Is it targeted? Specific? Have a friend or family member provide you with feedback. Lastly, compare your summary of qualifications with your listed work experience. Your summary should accurately showcase what you have done as well as your competencies.
6. Always look ahead and stay relevant.
Write your resume and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to be forward-looking documents that showcase how your accomplishments are not only in alignment with your own future goals but the results desired by a prospective employer. Do not include every job you have had in the past. If your employment history is not related to the job you are applying for, then remove it. You also want to remove any work experience that is outdated 15 or plus years, and ensure that you list achievements that are relevant to the role you are applying for. A full-stack hiring manager will not care that you won that national golf championship in 2010, no matter how proud you are of it. Your resume and profile should promote your career goals while your skills and experiences should help you get that desirable job and add value to the next company that will hire you.
The Workbridge Associates team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year! If you feel like your resume needs some sprucing up and you want a fresh start but you don’t know where to start, please reach out to us - we’d love to help!
Game rooms. Unlimited vacation time. Free yoga classes. One year of maternity OR paternity leave. Tech companies these days are offering some phenomenal employee benefits, but not every company can afford to offer such lavish options. Sometimes it’s the simple things at a job we love that we need to appreciate. It’s easy to get swept away in the daily grind of a work day, so here is a list of little perks around the office that are worth being thankful for as you enter 2016.
Location, Location, Location. Chances are you probably don’t live right next door to your work, so instead of sitting in traffic right at closing time or riding the rush hour train, why not go for a walk and see what’s around? You’d be surprised how many people work in an area they never take the time to explore. Maybe you’ll find a new happy hour or a restaurant you would have never found otherwise.
Speaking of happy hour, they say that an office that drinks together, succeeds together. They don’t actually say that, but a Gallup study shows that employees with a best friend at work are 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. So if you have coworkers who enjoy being social after a long, hard week, it could make you much happier and productive in the long run.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Nothing gets you through the end of the day 2:45 like a good afternoon snack. According to USA Today, a study by PeaPod shows that while “56%,of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food.” If your office provides healthy snacks like green tea, fruit, or vegetables it can make you feel better as well.
Nothing like a nice secure place to put your car every day. No need to worry about meters, street cleaning, or struggling with a tight parallel parking job! Sometimes, depending on the area, you can even park your car there on the weekend and see a show or eat at your favorite restaurants.
Who has time to wander the streets looking for a blue box? Even with apps and maps, it can be so confusing! Not to mention, who can keep track of all those pick-up times. The fact that you can get mail delivered to work is great, even better when they pick up in your building…It’s especially nice this season, because you’ll need someone to sign for all of those packages you’ll be getting after Cyber Monday!
Depending on the size of the office, you’re probably going to eat cake every couple of months. Cookies may get delivered every few weeks. Maybe you’ll get to prank someone by taping balloons all over their workspace, or wrapping everything in gift wrap. It’s all fun and games…until it’s your birthday.
Even if your personal workspace doesn’t have a window, there’s probably one a couple floors up. It’s always a good for the mind and body to watch the sunset. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the little things in life.
At Workbridge Associates, we sincerely hope that you have many things to be thankful for this holiday season and wish you well into the new year. If your job isn't one of the things you're appreciative of this season, let us help you find one to put on your list to be thankful for next year.
Thriving Texas tech industry and considerable local talent creates unique need for a recruitment agency in Dallas specializing in hard-to-fill IT positions
DALLAS (November 11, 2015) – Workbridge Associates, a leading IT recruitment agency specializing in hard-to-fill technology positions, today announced the opening of its new office in downtown Dallas. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area has experienced major growth and gained national attention as a booming technology hub, becoming a dynamic location for the agency to provide local clients with highly-qualified candidates for a range of tech positions.
"With the opening of this office, we’re expanding into the heart of a thriving IT community with huge growth potential,” said Matt Milano, President of Workbridge Associates. “We are perfectly positioned to work with top talent who can drive our local clients’ development in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Looking for a job or have an open role to fill? Contact the Dallas team here.
This new Dallas office will be led by Division Manager Tom Parzych, and will hold up to 30 people, including recruiters, sourcers and marketing & events specialists. Workbridge Associates plans to start hiring immediately for all roles when the office opens on November 11th. Candidates can apply online at www.workbridgeassociates.com/work-for-us.
Workbridge’s recruitment teams pride themselves on staying fully up-to-date and conversant in the latest IT trends and developments. With extensive access to local hiring managers and technical talent, Workbridge takes a relationship-first approach that emphasizes personal engagement and added search value as much as the nuts-and-bolts objective of filling or landing a job.
For a sneak peek at the Dallas office, see below:
Meet the leadership team and apply to jobs in the Dallas office here.
Veterans have more to offer than ever, but finding a job is never easy. Are you a veteran looking for a job, or do you know someone who is? Here are some free online resources that can help veterans make connections and find jobs.
- Military Job Networks (MJN) is an exclusive online networking platform created and enabled only for verified U.S. Military Veterans. With 3,600 online private military occupation groups, verified Veterans access private, virtual spaces for true peer-to-peer networking and knowledge sharing. www.militaryjobnetworks.com
- Hire Heroes USA has built a national reputation of excellence for helping veterans find jobs, currently at the rate of more than 60 veterans confirmed hired every week. They partner with more than 200 veteran-friendly companies to offer relevant and up-to-date job postings on the Hire Heroes USA Job Board.
- VetJobs services are available to assist ALL members of “The United States Military Family” advance their careers and find employment. This includes Officer and Enlisted, Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Reservists, Veterans, Retirees, of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, Navy, NOAA and Public Health Service along with Trailing Spouses, Eligible Former Spouses, Widows, Widowers and Dependents and DOD civilians. www.vetjobs.com
- USAJOBS.gov is a free web-based job board enabling federal job seekers access to thousands of job opportunities across hundreds of federal agencies and organizations. www.usajobs.gov/Veterans
- MilitaryHire.com has been developed and is maintained by a team of both military veterans and corporate hiring authorities. They worked hard to create a network where former military personnel can seek careers and utilize their professional skills. www.militaryhire.com
- Military.com joined forces with Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) to accelerate our growth and change the playing field for career and educational opportunities for servicemembers, veterans and military spouses. Monster's vision is bringing people together to advance their lives, which is a great fit with Military.com's "members first" ethos and goal of connecting the military community to all the benefits of service. www.military.com/veteran-jobs
- USTechVets.org is a U.S. technology industry career portal created to connect veterans, including transitioning military personnel and their family members, with meaningful jobs in America's technology industry. www.ustechvets.org
- Another free resource is enlisting the help of a recruiter. While not all specialize in placing veterans, many recruitment firms help guide professionals in their careers and place them at jobs, all at no cost to the candidate.
Work with Workbridge Associates if you're interested in a role in IT, or check out the job board.
For a list of further free resources for Veterans in their job search, please see the White House’s page on “Joining Forces” here.
GitHub is one of the most important tools available to programmers, managers, and other professionals in the tech space. According to GitHub’s website, there are 11.6M people collaborating right now across 29.1M repositories on GitHub. The question is, how can you use this in your job search?
Start your job search by applying to one of Workbridge's open roles on the job board.
Prospective developers, proven ninjas, and coding wizards, if you’re contending for a new position without a GitHub account, you’re actually already one step behind. Here are 6 reasons you absolutely need to be using GitHub to make yourself a more desirable candidate:
- Having side projects will help you with your job search. Not only will it give you something deeper to talk about in conjuction with your current role, but also gives you the chance to develop a passion and show off your entrepreneurial side. There a number of reasons a side project could put you a notch above another candidate in a close race.
- It’s becoming expected. The hiring manager will be researching your GitHub account, and may even request your information alongside a resume. Take a few days to polish your account and add some non-proprietary examples of code that you have worked on. These days, companies might be a little worried if you don’t have a GitHub account.
- Some companies leverage GitHub in their own processes. Hiring managers are creating tech tests and small projects for candidates to complete as a way to vet talent. In the workplace, teams of programmers are able to store their work and access any changes that other team members make in real-time. Being well-versed in the system is a skill in and of itself.
- GitHub is a community where you can meet other developers. You can network, connect, comment on, discuss, share your work, collaborate on projects or build upon others’ efforts. In a word, use GitHub to “engage.” You never know, that partner on a project could be your next employer.
- It can demonstrate your skills. Many companies won't interview someone without code samples, and often job seekers cannot share their code because it's proprietary. With GitHub you can post projects outside of work. With that said, don't be afraid to post unfinished projects! Many times, technologists are hesitant to do this, but it can actually reveal a lot about who you are as a developer and show your thought process.
- You’re expanding upon your tech knowledge. Learning new languages that you’re not currently using at work, or honing skills that you'd like to keep growing, is important - especially if you’re working for a company with an old code base or spending most of your time doing maintenance instead of new coding. Managers love to see people who are passionate about technology and spend time outside of work researching the newest frameworks and languages.
Submit your resume and a Workbridge associate will contact you about your job search.
Beginning a job search and interviewing for a new position can be an intimidating task. Which items should I put on or leave off my resume? Which topics should I prepare for? How do I deal with questions that I don’t have answers to? With a few pointers, you can get organized and put yourself in the best possible position for your interview. Here's a quick guide on how to nail an interview.
Don't have an interview set up yet? Get the job search process started with these openings.
1. Let’s start with the very first thing: your resume. This is the first impression that you make on your next potential employer; it needs to be a good one! There are a lot of misconceptions about what to list, and what not to list on your resume. Take a long hard look at what you're including and how you're including it. Here are some "dos and don'ts":
- Do make sure that you are concise and to the point with everything you include.
- Don’t make the mistake of making things sound a lot more complicated than they were.
- Do start with a simple and clear objective. The objective should (obviously) line-up with the position that you are applying to.
- Do make sure your resume reflects the role that you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to an individual contributor opening, it doesn’t make sense to list that you are seeking a managerial position.
- Don’t go overboard and list every technology and skill known to man in an effort to attract interest. If a technology or skill is listed on your resume, it's fair game to be asked about in the interview. Stick to what you are comfortable and confident using.
- Do include skill level. If you have basic experience in some technologies and skills, indicate that.
- Do focus on your experience. One of the biggest pet peeves for hiring managers is when they ask about a skill, and the candidate’s response being somewhat along the lines of, “I haven’t done much work with that.” Hiring managers are more interested in the work that you’ve done than seeing a long list of skills. Spend most of your time showing employers how you’ve used your skills rather than listing technologies or skill sets.
- Don't write an encyclopedia, last but not least. Try and keep your resume to 2 pages max.
2. Have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, and research your interviewer. This is basic, and most people have done this already, but it's important to have an updated profile as LinkedIn is probably the most used tool by both employers and job-seekers. You'll open yourself up to a number of different opportunities, and give employers the chance to come and find you. This is also a great way to learn about people you will be meeting with in upcoming interviews. Take the time to research the people that you’ll be meeting to see if you share any common connections, and to learn more about their background. These will all be great topics of discussion when it’s your turn to talk and ask questions during the interview. Interviewers will be happy to see that you’ve taken the time to do research on them, an indicator to them that you’re taking the interview seriously.
3. Do your homework on the company that you are meeting with. Make sure you have as good of an understanding as possible of what the company does, and what some of their products are. When it’s your turn to ask questions in the interview, don’t be the person that asks, “So, what exactly does your company do?” As obvious as this sounds you’ll be surprised at how often people make this mistake. This is one of the biggest turn offs to potential employers, and gives the impression that you don’t have any real interest in the position.
4. Have examples ready to go. Make sure you have at least 1 or 2 projects that you’ve worked on recently that you’re most proud of and ready to talk about. Every interview has a portion where candidates are expected to discuss and explain in details the projects that they’ve worked on in the past. Employers are often going to be interested in the most recent projects that you’ve worked on, so make sure you can explain those fully. On top of that, if there are projects that you’ve worked on in the past that are directly related to the role then make sure to bring these up. Don’t gloss over the projects either - go into specific details. Employers are interested in hearing why you chose to design and develop things in a certain manner.
During the Interview
Ok, now you’ve made it to the interview. How do you conduct yourself? What should you always remember?
1. Answer questions directly. Be sure to pay attention to the question that is being asked, and focus on answering that question alone. Do not go off onto a different subject, and start talking about a completely different topic. There will be opportunities for you later in the interview to bring up topics that you’d like to discuss.
2. Be honest about your skill set. Similar to listing skills on your resume, if you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t pretend to know the answer! Chances are the person asking you the question knows the right answer, so pretending to know the answer and giving a wrong answer will be a detriment to your candidacy. Let the interviewer know that you don’t know the answer to that question….but don’t stop there! Try and come up with a solution to the problem based on what you know about the topic. Employers are often very interested in seeing what type of problem solving skills potential employees have, and to see their thought process.
3. Remember, it’s okay not to know everything. On that note, it’s not okay to have no initiative to take on new challenges. Rarely are employers going to find a candidate that has 100% of the skills that they’re looking for. Part of the reason you’re probably looking for a new job is to learn new skills, and most employers know this. Show them that you’re able to pick up new skills quickly by proposing a solution to the problem, even if you don't have those hard skills yet.
4. Don’t let a rude interviewer rattle you. There will be times when you run into interviewers who come off as impolite. There could be a couple of reasons for this, or maybe the person genuinely is a rude person. Don’t let that put you off for the rest of the interview. After meeting with him/her, you may decide that this company is not the right place for you, and that’s okay. Just keep calm through the interview and make a positive impression. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. Another reason the person might have this demeanor is because they’re using an interview tactic; working in engineering and IT is known to have situations that end up being high pressure and stressful. Some employers want to see how certain people will react when they’re put in uncomfortable and high-stress situations. Continue to do what you’ve been doing in the interview, and don’t let this bother you.
5. Engage your interviewers….at the appropriate times. Always remember that the interview is a platform for the employer to assess your skills, and see if you are a fit for their company. Yes, it is also a time for you to figure out whether or not the company is a fit for you, but there will be an opportunity for you to do that. When you are given the opportunity make sure that you have questions prepared, and topics to discuss with them. You need to show the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position. Start with questions specifically about the company, and the job itself. Leave compensation/benefits questions for later. You don’t want to give off an impression that those things are the only important topics for you. Employers are going to want to hire people who are interested in the company because of the project and how you will be contributing.
Get more tips on how to interview from a Workbridge office near you.
Always remember to follow-up with a thank you note after your interview. This may seem like a trivial gesture, but it could be the differentiator between you and other candidates. There are many times where an employer is struggling to decide between 2-3 candidates, and end up hiring the candidate that wrote the thank-you note because it was that one extra something. This will show your appreciation for being considered for the position, and gives you another opportunity to show your interest in the job.
- The letter doesn’t need to be too long, but also shouldn’t be a generic short letter. You want to show that you actually put some time and thought into writing the letter.
- That means it should not look like you googled an outline and filled in blanks.
- In the letter, thank the manager for setting up the interview and having his team set aside time to meet with you.
- Bring up specific parts of the interview that you enjoyed, and specific reasons as to why you’re interested in the job.
- Close the letter out with something along the lines of you look forward to hearing from them regarding their decision, and if there are any questions they have they should contact you.
That’s a quick guide to interviewing. Good luck job-seekers!
Written by: Aadil Alavi, Lead Recruiter of Workbridge Silicon Valley
In the land of software development, there's more than one correct way to solve a problem. Since technology itself is limitless, it should come as no surprise that the available tools and resources are boundless as well. Now the question is, which tools should we choose, not only to get the job done, but also to best express oneself?
Those who work with technical people every day have probably noticed that very few companies use only a single technology for their IT needs. Just like those companies, often the best technical people don't limit themselves to one brand of tools or frameworks. They step outside their technical comfort zones and experiment with anything they can get their hands on.
Here are four reasons why you might benefit personally and professionally from trying out new technologies.
1) Learn New Paradigms
2) Learn New Ways to Use Old Technologies
Speaking of functional programming, your experience may cause you to look at LINQ on the .NET platform in a new light. One technology hiring manager was explaining that his organization’s use of Angular.JS (with its draconian dependency injection) caused his team to think differently about DI containers in their .NET server side, resulting in more flexible and more testable C#. In this way, working with one technology influenced how they interacted with another.
3) Job Mobility
Here are four basic ways that broadening your technical repertoire can open up possibilities for career advancement.
- You can contribute to different areas of the same project (front-end to back-end, application to data analysis, etc.)
- You can move to new projects entirely (has your organization been piloting a new tech stack?)
- You can move to new organizations entirely. If this is the case, I can refer you to a specialist. (Wink!)
- Some organizations only fill full-stack or generalist positions. It’s worth mentioning that this is often true of smaller product development companies or startups.
4) Right Tool for the Job
Many organizations are pushing the limits of relational databases. The high performance or high availability required by their applications call for something new. NoSQL databases are answering this call, but often each in their own way. Spend some time understanding their relative merits and you can be your organization’s hero. Can you drop joins and go for the high performance of key store or document databases? Is your problem better suited by a graph database? What these specialized databases give up in the relational model they make up for by excelling in their particular area of application.
The following books are a great resource if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of current and new technologies:
- “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages” by Bruce Tate
- “Seven Databases in Seven Weeks: A Guide to Modern Databases and the NoSQL Movement” by Eric Redmond
There are many benefits to be had from interacting with a range of technologies. Whether you’re looking for new ways to tackle an assignment or hoping to advance your career by opening new doors, there is no reason to limit yourself to one brand of tools or frameworks.