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How to Succeed in a Temporary Job

Are you starting a new temporary job? Follow these tips to be a stand-out temp and increase your chances of being offered full-time, permanent employment.

Start of Contract

  • Before your first day, I recommend taking a practice trip to the office to familiarize yourself with the route. Also look up any potential road closures, etc. that may impact your ability to get to work on time.
  • Ask your hiring manager or recruiter about the company’s dress code prior to the start date. If you are unsure of what it means, it is always better to dress on the more formal end. For example, if the dress code is “casual” and your colleagues are wearing jeans and tshirts, don’t show up in a suit, but refrain from wearing ripped jeans or a wrinkled shirt. Your clothing should always be clean, fit well and be work appropriate.
  • Show up on time, everyday. If you are running late, let your manager know as soon as possible.
  • Work the hours your manager has specified and follow the general schedule of the office. If everyone takes lunch at 12, so should you.


On the Job

  • Communicate regularly with your manager and ask for feedback. Ensuring they are pleased with your performance will significantly improve the likelihood of obtaining a reference letter at the end of your contract.
  • If you run out of work, always ask for more things to do. Temporary contracts are excellent learning opportunities, so be open to taking on any and all tasks.
  • Maintain proper decorum with all employees; develop relationships where possible but not at the expense of your work.
  • Stay off your cell phone – this applies to both phone calls and texting – and only do work-related activities on the computer.
  • Avoid negative influences in the office – if you notice something bad, you’re not the only one seeing it.
  • If you were placed by an agency, get in touch with your recruiter and let them know how things are going. Whether positive or constructive, your feedback will help them determine what roles are a good fit for you down the road.


End of Contract

  • Within a month of the end date of your contract, you need to start planning your next steps. If you liked the job, always ask your manager/recruiter if there is an opportunity to extend your contract or to be brought on permanently. If the contract cannot be extended or if you did not enjoy the role, be honest with your manager about needing time off to go for interviews.
  • Let your recruiter know your availability so they can keep you in mind for upcoming openings.
  • Tell your manager how important a supervisory reference will be to your future job search and ask if it would be appropriate for people to contact them.
  • If you are extending your contract, assume that it will be on the same terms as your initial contract and that there may not be budget to increase your pay rate.
  • Last impressions are just as important as first impressions. Hand-written thank you notes are a very inexpensive yet effective way to breed goodwill with your manager.
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