Contract or temp work can be a great way to gain experience, make connections, and shape your future career. But what happens when you land in a temporary position that you would like to keep long term? In many cases, it’s possible to turn a temp job into a permanent one. Here’s how to go about it.
Tell the Boss
Your boss can’t read your mind, and she might assume that you’re only interested in completing your temporary contract. If you want more, let her know. As soon as you know you want to stay, tell the boss that you’re enjoying the work and would be open to a longer-term arrangement. If she doesn’t jump on the option right away, give it some time and then check in again. Finally, when you’re getting close to the end of the contract, provide a brief reminder that you’re interested in continuing with the team if possible.
Show Your Skills
There’s an old adage from the world of writing: “Show, don’t tell.” Think about it from the company’s perspective. Why do they need an extra permanent employee, and why should it be you instead of someone else? It’s your job to show them how bringing you on permanently benefits them. Work hard, stay engaged, and look for ways to go above and beyond your assigned duties. Be responsive and available and willing to go the extra mile.
Everyone wants to work with people that they like and trust. Go out of your way to be open and communicative with your coworkers as well as your boss. Offer to help out with projects. Join the team for a happy hour. Be careful to stay out of office politics, which could torpedo your chances if you end up on the wrong side of a squabble, but make sure you have strong working relationships with as many people as possible.
Check Your Assumptions
Even if your contract is on the long side, never forget that until a job offer is made and accepted, you’re still a temp. Avoid the tendency to become complacent or to assume that you’ll be staying. This can come across as cocky and arrogant, potentially alienating both your boss and your coworkers. Always remember that, at best, this is an extended interview for a full-time position.
Contract work can be an excellent way to try out different positions until you find the right fit. When you know you’re where you want to be, it’s time to take the bull by the horns and take active steps to turn your contract job into a permanent position.
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