My friend and colleague Anita Bruzzese wrote a great piece for her Gannett News Service column and her blog, 45 Things. She was kind enough to feature my thoughts on turning a temp job into a permanent one, as well as terrific advice from Martha Finney, president of Engagement Journeys. Here’s what Anita had to say:
“Employers, still nervous about the health of the economy, have kept their permanent staff numbers lean, but have boosted their number of temporary workers. So, the question is: if you’re a temporary employee, how to you get an employer to hire you on a permanent basis when companies seem in no rush to do so?
“Ask,” says Alexandra Levit, a career expert. “Some people may be hesitant to do so, but you’ve got to ask if there are fulltime opportunities. Otherwise, you’ll never know.” Levit, author of “New Job, New You” cautions that before such an inquiry you should make sure you’ve been doing a great job at the position you were hired to fill as a temp.
Martha Finney, president and CEO of Engagement Journeys LLC, agrees. “You’ve got to demonstrate that even as a temp, you’re a great fit for the company. Smile, be friendly and treat the job like it’s permanent and you own it. Treating it with respect sends out the right signal.”
unemployment figures for December found that an additional 46,500 temporary
workers were added by employers. This continues a trend for the previous month,
when more than 50,000 temp workers were added.
For companies, hiring temps can cost about 30 percent less than regular
workers, mostly because they don’t have to pay for health benefits and
unemployment. And while many workers seek permanent jobs specifically to get
benefits, Finney says some temp agencies offer benefits, “so that’s not
necessarily the only reason you should want to work for an employer
Finney, co-author of “ Unlock the Hidden Job Market,” points out that working as a
temp can give someone a unique chance to see if a company and its culture would
be “a good fit.” “Lots of companies turn down job candidates because they say
they’re just ‘not a good fit.’ Well, the same can be true of an employer. Being
a temp gives you a chance to see if you appreciate their style,” she says.
Levit and Finney say that anyone wanting to try and move from a temporary job into a permanent position with an employer should:
- Make connections. “Even if you’re only there for a day, make sure you send the supervisor a hand-written thank you note, and follow it up with an e-mail. Ask if she might be willing to brainstorm some ideas with you later about how to get your foot in the door,” Finney says.
- Fix what is broken. “Look around and try and see what you can do to make yourself indispensable. How can you help them?” Levit says.
- Watch the schmooze. “Organizations understand that temps are more than their day job, but don’t reach beyond your job if it doesn’t feel comfortable. The most important thing is to first do your job really well, then you can network,” Levit says.