In today’s job market, everyone’s a temporary worker or at a temporary job. Even the CEO of the best website design company in the US could be looking over their shoulder thinking about job security, not to mention freelancers or workers on temporary contracts.
In other words, there’s no way to tell how long your current business relationship might last. You should always keep this in mind. It’s even more important in a tight job market in a down economy created by a generation-defining pandemic. Companies downsize, and people get laid off as the market changes. While you may end up finding another job in your field, and a better one at that, your career is a lot less stable than that of your parents or grandparents in past decades.
You’ll likely be tempted to get comfortable in your job if you’re on a full-time contract because it doesn’t seem threatened at the moment. However, many jobs that seemed like they would never go away are suddenly disappearing. Here’s how to ensure you’re making the most of any job, even if it’s a temporary job.
How to Prepare for Inevitable Career Shifts
Thankfully, there’s always a way to prepare. This is especially the case if you know what to expect and the market doesn’t catch you sleeping. So, let’s talk about a few ways to safeguard your income in a gig economy.
Create a Robust Personal Brand
Your career and your current job both play a part in your professional brand. They both stay with you throughout your career. But even more than those is your personal brand. This is shaped by your outlook on the world and your unique approach to what matters. If you’re interested in making a profit above all else, shape your personal brand accordingly. Show your potential employers that you’re willing to go the distance.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in creating a comfortable, professional environment for yourself, don’t be afraid to share that with the world. Your would-be employers will appreciate and respect your honesty And, you’ll be much more likely to end up at a job you enjoy.
Keep Working on Your Education and Professional Skills
Stay on top of the trends within the industry. Keep up with the news and the emerging ideas. If you’re currently in a company that’s not willing to pay for professional development, don’t simply resign to your current skill level. Take the matter into your own hands and figure out ways to make self-improvement a priority.
There are always cheap, or free, webinars, training sessions and conferences to attend, as long as you know where to look. These will help you gain skills that could serve you regardless of your career path. Who knows, you may even find a related field you enjoy more than your current one and end up forging a career there instead.
Keep Your Portfolio in Mind
When you’re in a comfortable professional position, it is easy to forget about your portfolio. This is not the approach you should ever be taking for the many reasons we described above. Always keep track of your referrals, recommendations, workpieces and accomplishments and compile them in one place.
The most professional and high-profile way to do this is to secure your own personal domain name. Google your name to see if someone has already taken the [yourname].com domain. If not, you could house your portfolio there and have all you need in one place whenever necessary.
Always Have a Backup
Only when you’re laid off from your first “secure” job will you realize the importance of starting a side venture. It can help ensure you always have a safety net and extra freedom. A side gig can help you relax in the event of losing your job. It also allows you to negotiate for better deals knowing that the backup is always there to support you.Think outside the box and grow your side gig backup plan. Thankfully, social networking and the internet have made it so that it has never been easier to start your own business.
Grow Your Professional Network
Regardless of what you may have been told throughout your education, skill is not the best way to land a new job — networking is. Remain in contact with all your professional (and personal) connections. You’ll be way more likely to learn about new job openings, make more connections, and gain crucial referrals. This means that if you do lose your job, you’ll have a whole network of friends, acquaintances and professional associates to turn to for help.
Turning Your Temporary Job into Full-Time Employment
You might feel like we’ve spent the better part of this guide talking about how full-time employment is no longer all that it is cracked out to be, but there are still many benefits (pun intended) to it.
Let’s say you’ve nabbed a position at the company you’ve always admired. The job is fun and challenging. The people in your team are some of the brightest you’ve ever had the chance to work with. There’s a real chance for you to grow there. You could see yourself significantly impact the company’s success, and perhaps even move up the chain of command.
There’s just one small problem — you’re a temp. Your contract is set to expire in a month, or three, or six. No one has approached you about a full-time position so far, and you’re worried it may not happen at all.
It’s time to push those worries aside and remember that you’re amazing. Of course, the pep talk isn’t going to do the job on its own, so you’ll need to take some action as well. In this section of the guide, we’ll focus on a couple of things you can do to turn your temporary job into a full-time position, regardless of the circumstances. Follow the tips outlined below, and you might just get the job offer you’ve been dreaming of. Let’s get started!
Go Above and Beyond
Unless a particular set of circumstances is at play, a short-term employee is not likely to secure a long-term position doing the bare minimum. First, learn the ropes and have a handle on your day-to-day responsibilities. Then, go out and look for work that’s perhaps a bit outside of your job description but that you have enough expertise and experience to tackle.
If you’re hoping to stay on for longer, and you haven’t been approached for a full-time contract yet, the time to over-perform is now. Step up your game and show your boss why they can’t afford to lose you. But, be careful not to take on responsibilities you’re not capable of delivering. You can always sit down with your coworkers and brainstorm innovative ways to solve their problems; just be careful not to come off as a know-it-all.
The best way to approach this is to show some initiative by researching different approaches, compiling them in a spreadsheet and letting your more experienced teammates choose the best course of action.
Let Everyone Know That You’d Like to Stay On
This might seem like too simple of a tip to put into this guide, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who forget to share this critical piece of information with their coworkers and bosses.
If you took that short-term opportunity as a way to get your foot in the door, and you would like to keep the job long-term, now’s the time to speak up. Take a moment to sit down with your manager and tell them how much you appreciate the opportunity and how much you’re enjoying your time at the company. Don’t be afraid to ask about potential long-term openings directly, as well as what exactly you would need to do to increase your chances of getting hired full-time.
You might think that simply stating your desire to continue working with the company isn’t going to get you anywhere, but it’s a move not many people take for a variety of reasons. Once you have this conversation, don’t be discouraged if your boss tells you that this year’s budget doesn’t cover a new full-time hire. Take full advantage of this 1-on-1 sit-down and use it as an informal performance review by asking for feedback on your overall performance as well as specific guidelines on what you should be doing better. Inquiring what you can do to improve your performance will make you more indispensable. This, in turn, will make your managers more likely to put in some effort to find the money in the budget to extend you that full-time offer.
About the Author: Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for finddigitalagency.com.