5 Secrets for Finding Success as a Temporary Worker
By Michael Steinitz
Temporary work is an appealing option for experienced and entry-level professionals. In the U.S. market, where a whopping 7 million jobs are currently open, companies need new hires now. Bringing on temporary workers is an increasingly attractive option for firms.
For you, it means that the chance to break into a new career or a new industry is better than ever. Whether your experience lines up exactly with the job description is less important than whether you’re professional, enthusiastic and reliable.
Here are the five things you need to know to be a successful temporary worker:
- Being adaptable is your best asset. Your unique experience landed you the gig, but what makes you shine is your ability to use those skills in the ways needed in the new environment. Every company has its own processes and working style, and a successful temp worker can adapt on a dime to match pace. This also goes for what you wear: It’s best to dress on the formal side when you start and then modify your style to the office as you learn the ropes.
- Asking questions isn’t stupid — it’s smart. The best temporary workers aren’t afraid to speak up when they aren’t sure about something. You might feel worried about what others will think, but remember everybody was new at some point. On a temporary assignment, asking smart questions shows you’re paying attention to detail and care about thoroughness and accuracy.
- Learn from each assignment. One of the great things about temp work is every new gig will offer you the opportunity to learn. Perhaps it’s new software, a new industry or the chance to take on new projects. Embrace the opportunity with zeal, and you’ll be a temporary worker who the company won’t want to let go. Keeping a list of your achievements for each assignment will help you update your resume and show future employers your range of abilities.
- Your reputation follows you everywhere you go. And you only get one chance to make a first impression. Every office has its politics, gossipmongers and games, but it’s best to keep your distance from office drama. When you complete an assignment, the company will give feedback to your recruiting agency, and those comments will inform future assignments. Within niche industries or in smaller cities, everybody tends to know everybody, so you never want to burn bridges.
- Keep in touch with the people you meet. Connect with the employees you work with via LinkedIn or email them after your assignment ends. One of the connections you create could lead to your next great gig. And if you’re looking to go full-time at some point, knowing someone at a company who can speak to your work ethic can be a great asset.
Michael Steinitz is senior executive director for Professional Staffing Services at Robert Half and the global executive director of Accountemps. Steinitz began his career with Robert Half in 1996 as an Accountemps staffing manager. He is an expert on accounting and finance hiring and workplace trends.
Accountemps is the world’s first and largest specialized accounting staffing agency for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Learn more and find your next job at roberthalf.com/looking-for-a-job.