As the economy slowly recovers, companies are adding temps rather than full time employees, while they wait for things to stabilize. A Wall Street Journal article hints this may be a long term trend. Job seekers should be very open to temp or contract work and make the most of it, viewing it as a different, but still very acceptable way to find fulfilling work.
Here are some ways to make the most of temp or contractor work:
Your Mind Set
- Embrace temp work. It’s a critical part of the new workforce. Accept it as legitimate and long term, not second best.
- Go in with a great attitude. Let your employer know you are happy to have this opportunity.
- Treat each temp job as if it were permanent. Give it your all. Use it as a time to show your value.
On the Job
- Solve problems. Temps are often brought in to fill a gap or fix something immediate so first and foremost, fix that problem.
- Be proactive. Ask for and take on more responsibility. Stretch yourself. Show you are a self-started and someone who is ready to grow and help the company grow. Don’t just do what is asked of you. Look for ways to do more.
- Make yourself stand out. If or when the employer is ready to hire someone full time, will you be the one they have in mind?
- Act like an employee. Employees have a vested interest in the success of the company and as a temp, you should too. Show your interest and commitment to the company so that you look long-term, not just someone putting in time until something better comes up.
Within the Company
- Integrate yourself into the company as a whole. Sometimes there are separate temp and full-time cultures. Try to resist huddling in the temp culture. Instead, become as much a part of the full-time culture as you can.
- Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, including the opportunity for training and professional development.
- Keep an eye out for jobs in other parts of the company. Now that you are “in the door”, it will be much easier to see other places you can solve problems and add value.
Interactions and Networking
- Network! The work environment is ideal for adding to your network. As you show your abilities, brand and value, continually reach out to others, learn about their work and needs and add them to your network.
- Schedule regular lunches, coffees or after work get-togethers with company insiders. Get to know them and create a connection.
- Get to know your boss, and if you can, your boss’s boss. Find ways to solve problems for them, to raise your visibility and highlight your value. Even if they can’t offer you a permanent position, they may become important members of your network.
- Use temp jobs to fill experience gaps. This is a great time to nail down a skill or demonstrate a competency that you can then add to your resume.
- Use temp work to keep your resume filled with recent successes. Document the value you are bringing as a temp and add it to your resume. Fresh success stories are more powerful than those from several years ago.
- Don’t constantly ask about converting to permanent. It’s appropriate to have that conversation with your manager every few months but don’t bring it up so often that you become a pest.
- Find a way to continue your job search. Continue to network and let people know that you are open to opportunities. Give your all to your current work, but have your eyes open for a permanent job.
- Have long term goals. Even if this job is limited in scope and duration, set long term goals and go as far as you can to meet them. Make sure your goals are aligned with the company’s success.
Temp and contract work can mean great experience along with good pay and the opportunity to position yourself for a permanent hire as companies gain confidence in the recovery. So get in there and demonstrate your value so the company calls you first when the position opens up.