Many individuals accept a temporary job with the hope of it becoming a permanent position. And, many companies do, in fact, end up hiring their temporary employees for full-time positions. However, not every temp position becomes permanent, and not every temp employee will be offered a permanent opportunity. So, this situation begs the following question: if you accept a temp position with the hope for something more, how can you turn your temporary job permanent?

If you’re the one handling the recruiting duties, the time you spend on these non-revenue-generating tasks is time that you can’t spend growing your business’s profitability. This is time you can’t spend with clients or exploring new revenue streams. If you have full-time employees taking care of your staffing needs, in addition to the salaries you have to pay them, you must also take into account benefits, office space, computers and software. That’s not to mention the cost of actually posting your openings on job-boards.

infographic about going temp-to-perm using a chalkboard with bar and pie charts statistics

Tip #1: Act the Part

One of the best ways to stand out as a temporary employee is to act like you would if you were already hired for a permanent position. Some of this comes down to the attitude and mindset with which you approach your job. It’s important that you come into work with a great attitude and that you stay motivated, even if the work is somewhat tedious or doesn’t use all of your skillset.

It can be also good to display flexibility and adaptability, demonstrating that you are what The Motley Fool’s Maurie Backman describes as “the type of person who can roll with the punches, and who’s willing to make an effort even when the upside isn’t great or guaranteed.” [3] Other simple but important ways to “act the part” include being punctual for work, following the dress code for perm employees, and finding other ways to demonstrate you passion and commitment like staying late to complete your work.

Tip #2: Understand the Business

This tip has a number of levels to it, and each is important in its own way. One part of “understanding the business” is to understand the industry it is in, its key products and services and its competitors in the field. Another part of the equation is learning about the company’s history, its culture, its mission and the key clients it has developed over the years. When learning about a company’s culture, it is important to notice both written and unwritten rules in the workplace, enabling you to identify key players and the actual nuances and dynamics of how work gets done in practice, not theory. [3]

“Identify key players and the actual nuances and dynamics of how work gets done”

All of these things can help you demonstrate your concern for the company’s future and show how you could bring value to it in the future. This last point is critical as there is no better way to be considered for a permanent position than to demonstrate the way you can add value to an organization. In the words of Tom Egan in his article on Boston.com, “If you take the time to understand these nuances, and you feel you fit in, you will already have an advantage when a permanent position opens.” [1]

Tip #3: Ask Questions & Pick Up Skills

Eagerness (and ability) to learn new skills is one of the most important qualities an employer considers when evaluating a candidate for a permanent position. A temporary position can give you the perfect platform to demonstrate that you are eager to acquire new skills and able to pick them up quickly and completely. Part of this process involves asking questions to make sure you get things right. It is always better to ask a question to ensure you understand how something should be done than to assume an answer and end up with the wrong result. According to Alison Doyle, founder and CEO of CareerToolBelt.com, “Even if there is a task or skill that is only peripherally related to your position, you should take the time to learn it. This will show that you are interested in all aspects of the company.” [4]

photo of a young temporary office worker looking at his computer
illustration of a businessperson inside a circle with dotted lines

Tip #4: Form Relationships & Build Networks

When working in a temporary position, it is crucial to get to know your co-workers and form relationships in which they can see your strong work ethic and skills. It’s also important to get to know people on other teams within the company, outside of your specific work group. By networking within the company, you can gain critical allies and support that could lead to a permanent position in your current group, another group within the company, or even opportunities outside the company that these individuals could connect you to. Building a network of professionals in your field is always a good idea and can yield dividends for years and even decades into the future if you keep nurturing these relationships. [3]

Tip #5: Take Initiative & Go Above & Beyond

Go above and beyond what is asked of you is always a great way to get noticed – and getting noticed is the first step toward getting offered a permanent position. By taking initiative and seeking out opportunities to help out on projects, even those outside your immediate responsibility or work team, you are sure to make a positive impression in the workplace. Even if these projects might involve working for some unpaid time, the ultimate payoff of an offer of full time, permanent employment will make your efforts more than worth it. Every manager and business owner appreciates employees who go above and beyond their immediate responsibilities and helps out “on-the-fly” for critical projects.

clip art image of a hot air ballon rising

Turn your Temporary Job Permanent

By following these tips when you are placed on a temporary work assignment, you can make yourself truly stand out from the crowd and give yourself the best possible chance of landing a permanent position. Even if this approach doesn’t pay off immediately, it will help you build up your reputation among an ever-widening network of professionals. This, in turn, might end up proving even more valuable over the course of your career.