Temporary and contract work is becoming increasingly popular with accounting and finance employers who are looking to “try before they buy.” Not surprising, considering the cost of replacing a bad hire can run into tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the hit it takes on employee morale. This desire to use temp and contract workers to test drive employees and weed out the good from the bad can work to a job seeker’s advantage if they know how to leverage the opportunity.
Look for the right opportunity
It can be tempting to take on any opportunity when you’re temping. After all, it’s a paycheck and it’s not permanent, but if you want to turn temp work into a full-time opportunity, look for assignments that closely resemble what you want to do permanently. If you’re hoping to land a permanent position as a financial analyst, taking a bookkeeping assignment may not be the best way to get there.
Once you are on the job, take the time to test drive the company yourself. Working as a temp gives you a unique opportunity to evaluate the work environment and the job itself in a way that most job seekers don’t get until after they’ve accepted a job offer. Make sure it’s the right fit for you or move on once your contract is up.
Go above and beyond
Treat your temp job like a job interview and demonstrate your reliability. Show up on time, deliver quality work, come in early and stay late if that’s what it takes to get a job done.
Remember that employers are looking for the perfect match in both skills and cultural fit, so demonstrate your soft skills as well as your technical expertise. Be visible. Make a point to shake hands and introduce yourself to your coworkers. Showing you know how to communicate and be flexible will go a long way toward helping them see you as a lasting member of the team.
Use your insider knowledge
Being on the inside gives you an advantage over external candidates when applying for a permanent job. A survey from the American Staffing Association found that 35% of temporary workers were offered a permanent job by a temporary assignment client. Often, that is because employers want employees who can get up to speed quickly and start contributing right away. Temp workers have proven they can do just that. Just make sure that the hiring manager – and your recruiter – know that you are interested in working for the company on a full-time basis. It’s not uncommon for temp workers who prove themselves to end up replacing another employee who wasn’t performing at a high level or having a job created for them as a result of the impact they made while temping.
Know how to work your resume
Even if you don’t end up with a full-time position from a contract assignment, you can still leverage your temp work to find a permanent position elsewhere. Most hiring managers consider an extended period of consistent temp work as comparable to full-time employment. You just need to know how to present that work on your resume.
If you’ve completed dozens of temporary assignments over the years, don’t list each and every position on your resume. Instead, list the staffing company as your employer, then use bullet points to describe the work you did on a handful of relevant projects.
Doing short-term contract work with a variety of companies and industries gives temp workers several strategic advantages on the job hunt. They’ve met new coworkers, expanded their professional network, kept skills sharp and learned how to be flexible and adaptable. Those are all traits that employers are looking for in a permanent employee. You just need to make sure they see those traits in you.
To look for temporary work, check out available positions in finance and accounting.