I just want people to know I'm employed...
February 20, 2012 7:03 PM   Subscribe

I am starting a long term contract position and am unsure as to how to properly reflect this on my resume/LinkedIn profile - but want to be up-to-date since it's not a guarantee that the contract will go perm. How do I update my resume/profile in this circumstance? I'm new to the world of contracting.

Hi everyone. I was laid off recently and have been searching for new work and just landed a long-term contract position beginning this week. It's for several months, but as of right now they don't see it becoming permanent, though there is a possibility that could change at some point. So, I still plan on keeping my eyes and ears peeled for a permanent gig, and I want to be sure that my resume/LinkedIn presence is up-to-date as I do so. What is the protocol for how to list contract positions such as these on a resume? I'm a complete newbie to being a contract employee of this sort. This is a great company, and a fairly prestigious one at that, so I'm glad that I've stumbled into this gig even though it may turn out to be temporary since it is an impressive name to have on a resume in any capacity and the work I will be doing is directly related to what I have been doing in my career thus far.

As I said before, I'm new to being a contract employee in this sense. I did begin my career by temping fresh out of college and I ended up getting placed permanently at the first company I ended up at, so that part of my career is listed on my resume (pre-permanent job offer) as [name of company I was working at] via [name of temp agency]. This new position seems sort of different, in that I was contacted by a recruiter for this position. The recruiter works for an agency that specializes in placing employees in long term contracts, or putting candidates through for direct hire (specializing mostly in the tech and finance industries) so I guess it's a temp agency of sorts, but not really an office admin farm the way most temp agencies seem to be. That being said, the contract I signed does stipulate that I am an employee of the agency being contracted out to Big Awesome Prestigious Company, and not a direct employee of Big Awesome Prestigious Company. So my gut is that I should list this on my resume using similar verbiage to that which I used for my former temp position. But since I am not sure, I thought I'd poll the hive mind.

Suggestions for how to reflect this on LinkedIn would be helpful, too, since my former experience as a temp was many years before I ended up on LinkedIn. Do I list myself as an employee of the agency, or is that too confusing alongside recruiters who actually work for the agency?

Or am I just overthinking this? I think maybe I am. Regardless, any advice from anyone who has been in this boat (or HR types) would be helpful. I just want to be honest about what I am doing and how I am employed without selling myself short. I did have to go through a fairly extensive interview with folks from Big Awesome Prestigious Company to get this gig and beat out at three other potential candidates, so I'm not just a warm body that an agency is giving them...but I don't want to be dishonest and give the impression that they have, in fact, hired me directly, when they have just entered into a contract with me using this agency as a broker of sorts.

Man, I must be overcomplicating this, huh? Thoughts/advice are much appreciated in advance. Thanks!
posted by thereemix to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm also a long-term contractor. I listed the company, my position and duties and added in parentheses "Contract."
posted by violetk at 7:09 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

I list contracts the same as full-time employment. Hell, for 3.5 years I was full-time employed but spent most of my time working with a variety of clients, and I list most of the big accounts on my resume and LinkedIn profile. This means my 5 years of experience turns into 7 positions on my resume and 10 positions on LinkedIn, all from different companies that I had significant roles with (significant to me = 5+ months of ongoing work). It's clear that I worked FOR Company A, and just worked WITH Companies B and C, but those latter positions were significant and relevant experiences. No one has told me this is a problem, and I've been hired twice with this very thorough listing of positions, so apparently including many positions makes sense to employers. I say you should include this without reservation.

From a resume standpoint, I don't see much of a difference - if you were a "systems analyst for ABC application at XYZ corporation," who cares whether it was a contract or a full-time position - you were still "systems analyst for ABC application at XYZ corporation" with all the responsibilities of that position. The only difference was the legal and payment relationship, not the responsibilities and experience. The only reason I could see for mentioning that it was a contract position is if you want to explain the length of employment (if it's too short for your tastes), but failing to mention on your resume that it was a contract doesn't strike me as a problem or a lie of omission, it strikes me as minutiae and a not-very-relevant detail. If they start asking questions, then you can clarify as long as you aren't hiding the fact that it was a contract. Perhaps you can name it appropriately by adding "consulting" in front of the title. So if you're a widget-maker, you can say "consulting widget-maker" on your resume (or something similar).

Sorry if I'm off-base, but I get the feeling from your post that you feel this is a step down. In my industry, becoming a contract employee / consultant is the usual way to take a step up, and almost anyone worth their salt has spent at least some time as a contract employee. I realize that "consultant" and "contract" are not 100% synonymous. But from your description, the company that directly employs you is a consultancy that does staff augmentation, not a temp agency. It sounds to me like you're a long-term consultant, which is a good thing. Consultants are brought in because they have experience that fits the client's needs, not because they are warm bodies. If you can reframe this in your mind, you can sell this as a very good thing. You encountered a problem that was not of your making - layoffs - and instead of languishing you proved your mettle by getting a contract position. Again, maybe I don't understand your position and your industry, but this sounds like a positive thing, not a negative, and you should own it on your resume.

Feel free to MeMail me with details if you want to chat about selling this as a good thing. I'm ending a 9-month engagement myself and I think it's a bigger selling point than my 3.5 years at another company.
posted by Tehhund at 7:42 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Depends. For short-term contracts and freelance stuff, I'll put (contract) so it doesn't look weird that I changed jobs every month or something. For longer term jobs, I won't bother.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:45 PM on February 20, 2012

Let's say your new contract job is QC Chemist at Genentech, but you are actually employed by Acme Temp Agency. List it on your CV like this:

QC Chemist, Genentech (contract)

If you become a permanent employee, just delete "(contract)".

This is the format I use on my CV (although I never worked at Genentech, alas) and nobody's ever had any problems with it. It's clear that the work is being done to the standards of the job site, and the actual temp agency is irrelevant.
posted by Quietgal at 8:57 PM on February 20, 2012

You were placed into a full-time position by a recruiter that's your employer in name only, yes? You'll be taking direction from and doing all your work at the company. Whether you're 1099 contractor or a W2 employee, the actual position you're filling and the work you're doing is what you should communicate everywhere. This is the kind of thing it's perfectly ok to leave off of resumes but to offer as a passing, parenthetical comment should it ever come up in a future hiring conversation.

The big, prestigious company is the one that had the hiring process and decided on you. That is your job. No one cares who signs your paychecks.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 12:22 AM on February 21, 2012

To the IRS, you are an employee of the agency. For legal reasons (see the Microsoft lawsuit for example), it is important to the company and the agency that you understand you are classified as an employee of the agency.

Your resume is a selling tool that explains your skills and background. It is much more descriptive to name the company where you sit and interact every day than it is to name the agency, which typically has no interaction with you other than to deposit your pay and possibly provide you access to their group insurance plan. It's completely ok to leave off the agency name on your resume. Seconding everyone who says to just add "(contract)" at the end, to indicate that you and the company have no commitment to each other.
posted by Houstonian at 3:31 AM on February 21, 2012

Relevant: Listing clients on consulting resume?
posted by Tehhund at 8:49 PM on February 22, 2012

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