How do I overcome anti-contractor bias?

Expert advice for reader's career problems.

After gaining a BSc in business IT in 2002, I have worked as an IT contractor on short-term placements for Transport for London, NCR and JP Morgan.

I built up my skill set in roles such as project co-ordination, SAP data cleansing, database assistance, and IT asset co-ordination. I want a permanent job in project management, but I am finding it difficult to secure an interview as employers think my contracting status means I will not stay with them for long. What should I do?

The solution: Prove that you want responsibility

You are right, some employers appear to have a bias against contractors. There are plenty of companies that will consider you, but you need to be prepared to answer the question, "Why do you want to go permanent?"

You must show that you have reached a point where you want a career with responsibility and prospects, not just a job. Prospective employers will need to be convinced that you are going to stay with them and not disappear after the first three months.

For a job in project or business management, a Prince2 or PMI qualification would help your cause. You could also consider a part-time or distance learning MBA. It takes a lot of hard work, but it would increase your chances of moving up into a management role.

Showing the determination to undertake some formal self-funded training would be further evidence for employers that you genuinely want to settle down into a permanent position.

Solution by Jeremy I'Anson, principal IT consultant at Hudson

The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group

Catch up on career advice with Next Move

Need advice on your IT career? E-mail: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

This was last published in February 2007

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