How to Turn a Temp Job Into a Permanent One

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A volatile global marketplace has forced the typical company to become more adaptable and agile, but this has also led to a loss of job stability. Firms are cutting back on permanent employees and making more use of contingent workers, including freelancers, part-timers, and temps. Forty percent of workers in the U.S. now have contingent jobs.

This is not as bad as it may sound. Many workers actually prefer these more flexible work arrangements, and the contingent labor economy benefits them greatly. Still, there is a large and cohort of workers – about 45 percent by some estimates – who crave permanent, full-time work. In an increasingly temporary employment market, those of you looking for permanent jobs will need to work hard than ever to find them.

Ironically, one way to beat the odds and find permanent work actually involves taking on a contingent role. That might sound a little crazy, but temporary work actually be a very sensible stepping stone to a permanent role.

If you want your temp-to-perm tactic to work, you’ll need to start planning your moves long in advance. During your job search, you should favor employers who have a track record of turning temps into full-timers and the necessary resources to do so. If you make a habit of temping in firms that don’t typically allow that career path, you’ll be stacking the odds against yourself.

If, on the other hand, you seek out temp roles that actually have the potential to turn into permanent ones, then the battle is already half-won. All you have to do now is show the organization that you are worthy of permanent work.

Here are three ways to help you demonstrate your worth:

1. Be a ‘Plug and Play’ Candidate

What qualities does a temporary worker need to possess in order to be seen as brilliant? Well, since temporary workers are often drafted during crisis situations, qualities such as reliability,, flexibility, enthusiasm, and being a self-starter are at a premium. Being a “plug and play” candidate means being able to quickly get up and running in any situation. If you can do that, you’ll surely capture the organization’s attention in a positive way.

2. Go the Extra Mile

SprintAnother way to get noticed is to go the extra mile. What does that mean? It means finishing all your assigned work and asking for more.

If there’s no extra work, create it. Are there broken things that need fixing? Inefficiencies that can be eradicated with software or new approaches? Taking initiative will get you noticed, and you’ll quickly accumulate advocates for your permanent employment.

3. Make It Clear That You Want to Progress in the Company

If you work with a staffing agency, make sure the agency knows that you want to get a permanent job. Your agent may be aware of permanent opportunities to which they can refer you.

But don’t stop there. Tell your bosses and colleagues at the organizations where you are placed that you want to become a full-timer. Prepare an elevator pitch on why you would be a good full-time employee, and be ready to deliver it at every opportunity.

You should also network like crazy, attending after-work drinks and lunch-and-learns and joining any relevant work-related clubs or committees. Networking extra hard will make you feel like a part of the organizational “family.” That can be very powerful for your career: Research shows that employees often choose candidates based on culture fit, and your social activity will give you a good opportunity to demonstrate how well you fit in at the company.

Many firms like temp-to-permanent arrangements because they allow organizations to “try” employees before they “buy” them. However, you can’t expect to waltz into a temporary job and automatically earn yourself a permanent role. You are being auditioned, and you’ll need to make sure you give a great performance.

By Kazim Ladimeji