Contract, or temp work, is not for everyone. Let’s face it, it’s the type of work that comes with a degree of risk. That is to say, the work is short-term, rarely incorporates superannuation and leave entitlements, and offers no guarantee of a follow on contract thus can leave you unemployed, often. So if this is your game, how do ensure you are successful in gliding from one role to the next?

Just to be clear, as a contractor or temp worker, you work under a contract for someone else. It is usually for a fixed period of time, through to the completion of a project. Often paid by the hour it is your time and your skills that are up for auction. You can expect to be paid a higher hourly rate than permanent employees, who have greater security than their contracting counterparts. Yet invaluably contracting can expose you to many workplaces and therefore opportunities to gain a wider variety of skills and working experiences. You can expand your networks and even improve your work-life balance. It may just be your cup of tea therefore, to have a successful contracting career, you need to understand the type of temporary worker that is attractive to an employer.

The sort of short term worker that attracts attention is one who portrays value to a business and its bottom line. So here are a few behavioural tips to making a career out of short term assignments:

Be flexible; Being willing to move between locations, different workplace cultures, styles of operating and working conditions shows you are adaptable.

Get noticed and build relationships; You need to have the ability to create working relationships with others in the organisation. This means that instead of emailing, visit your colleagues, participate in social clubs, represent your team at meetings, and volunteer to be more involved, exposing yourself to a broader cross section of employees.

Build you skill set; Put your hand up if additional training is offered. Demonstrating that you are willing to learn and grow shows a keen interest in the work and the business and may help you to broaden your networking opportunities.

Prove you are a valued team member; You can show up every day and perform your role to the letter or, you can proactively seek out further responsibilities. One sure way to stand out from the crowd is to alert your manager to potential business leads. You’re expected to complete your tasks, but generating new business leads, or even streamlining processes, will make you measurable to the bottom line.

Be professional; You need to respect your employer, temporary as they may be. You can achieve this by showing up on time, every day. Dressing appropriately, working diligently and not spending most of you time checking Facebook and making personal appointments. That’s what your lunch hour is for. You should also ensure your timesheets and other necessary paperwork is promptly completed, proving you are responsible, reliable and well organised.

Avoid workplace politics; Do not get caught up in gossip and politics. Just don’t. And be aware of when your advice is required and when it is not. You will enjoy an enhanced reputation if you can stay professional and keep your nose out of where it does not belong.

Seek feedback; If you are serious about making a positive contribution, you will ask your manager for an assessment of your performance. This will demonstrate that you want to improve your skills and positively impact the organisation’s development.

A temp worker, who is a joy to work with, and not just because of their great personality, is worth their weight in gold. This is a contractor that will never be out of work for long. If you can prove that you live up to the worth of your CV, then recruitment agencies will be working overtime to ensure that come the end of your contracting period, you have another job ready to step straight into. But don’t rely on recruitment agencies alone. If you are savvy, you will have built your own network of contacts who you regularly stay in touch with. It is not unusual for a temp worker to revisit former workplaces if they proved a valuable contributor previously. The idea, if you haven’t yet realised, is to be the first name on everyone’s list when they are in the market for a short term worker.

There are many types of job roles that are highly suitable for short term contract or temping work. And if you are in between permanent roles, it’s a great way to get by. Needless to say it pays to be registered with agencies that support this type of employment. You don’t need to do all the leg work yourself. Being registered with a bank of recruitment agencies means you can relieve yourself of some of the pressure by having others undertake some of the work for you. Looking for work can be a full time job in itself. So add recruiters to your database of contacts.

SJ Personnel often place job seekers in short term roles. If you haven’t registered with us, please send us your resume and give us a call to discuss the opportunities we have for you. We can be reached on 03 5280 8050…it may be the next great step in your career.

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Hands together. Demonstrating Respect in the workplace.