Why Do They Keep Asking To Make Me A Contractor When All I Want Is A Job?

A MJD reader asked that we throw this anonymous query out to the hivemind and see whether we can come up with a solution to her woes that hasn’t been immediately apparent.

She writes:

I’m a writer (PR, reporting, copywriting) with more than five years of reporting experience and a little more than 2 years of PR and copywriting experience. I have been applying for assistant and entry level jobs at media companies, where ever I can get in, and recently went through a CRAZY long interviewing process (five different interviews over the course of 2 weeks, many hours spent on ‘sample’ work they wanted) for a low paying, entry level position at a very large media company.

At the end of the process, they called and told me they were not giving me the job BUT that they would like to contract me for a completely different job instead. This is the fourth time I have interviewed for an entry level position and instead of getting the job I applied for, am told I am overqualified and would be “bored” or “wasted” in the applied for position. I am then offered a contract for a month of work and at the end of it, I am unemployed again.

WHY does this keep happening and is there a more appropriate response for me to give, other than “oh that’s great. I’d love to.” when all I can really think is, “This sucks.”??

Our take: With seven years of work experience, you might truly be overqualified for entry-level jobs. Since journalism and PR do go hand in hand, you might consider applying for higher-level jobs—even ones that specify a few years more PR experience than you have, because you have so much closely related experience. You can address that gap in your cover letter if necessary. (It goes without saying that submitting your resume through an ATS won’t work in this case as you’ll be weeded out by keyword munchers. But if you have a contact at the company, this could be a good strategy.)

It’s also great that they are offering you some work, even if it’s just contract. If it’s not screwing with your benefits situation too much to take the contract work, take it with pleasure. It will keep your portfolio current and make you that much more of an attractive candidate.

But that’s only our take. Does anyone else have advice for this reader?