Temp or short term contracts

by Sinead Hasson September 14th, 2012

Temporary or contract positions suit a range of people for different reasons whether it be to bridge the gap between permanent jobs, to have the variety of moving between companies or to work on a fixed project and see it finish before starting the next one.

Here are our top 10 tips to get the most from a temporary or short term contract:

Whatever your reasons, contract positions can really add to your CV and boost your career prospects provided you make most of each contract, here are some top tips to help you do just that:

1) Make yourself indispensable.
In short, prove your worth as a valued member of the team and they will want to keep hold of you. By being enthusiastic and proactive during a contract you significantly increase your chances of regular contract work with the company.

2) Learn as much as you can.
Each research company has their own unique approach to projects and slightly different methodologies. By soaking up as much as you can while you are in a position, you are not only adding to your own skills but can improve your career prospects by taking “ best practice” with you to the next assignment. If you are offered any training during a contract position whether it is in-house or external, we recommend that you grab it with both hands.

3) Network.
Once you are in a company, take the time to speak to other managers/other divisions. We all know how small the research industry is, the more contacts you have and the better you make yourself known within a company, the more chances you have of another team taking notice of you and snapping you up.

4) Be respectful.
This may sound obvious, but just because you are in a company for a short time it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to behave! An employer should make it clear to you who you would be working for /reporting to and some house rules such as dress code, working hours, breaks etc.  If these are not made clear, make sure you ask. Keeping in line with company protocol will only increase your chances for a renewed contract and a glowing a reference at the end of the contract.

5) Know what is expected.
Make sure you know what a company expects you to achieve in your time with them.  If you know exactly what they expect to be completed by the end of the project/ within a certain time frame it helps you plan your time and focus on the task at hand. If you know you have achieved the goals set out from the start, then you can tell the next potential employer that you hit your targets and you’ll also know that you will get a good reference.

6) Keep your CV up to date.
Every time you start a new position add that to your cv and keep it as up to date, do not leave any positions off your cv no matter how short.  Do make it clear that the positions are temporary or contract positions, that way a prospective employer or recruiter will know you haven’t job hopped for no reason!

7) Keep in touch with your Recruiter.
Let them know how the position is going and let them know when you are ready to start looking for your next contract. We recommend starting to look 6 weeks before the end of your contract, that way you are giving yourself the maximum potential for consistent employment if that is what you want.  Likewise, if you want to take a break between contracts let them know when you are ready to start working again.

8) Be flexible.
Your employer may ask you to work extra days or to carry out tasks normally outside of your level. If you can help them out then do, this will add to your reputation as a good contractor.

9) Be honest.
About your intentions, if your long term aim is a permanent job, let your temporary employer know and ask them to facilitate any time off for interviewing, always ensuring that you make up the time.

10) Paper work.
If you are set up as self-employed and are invoicing employers directly, make sure your invoices/time sheets are submitted on time so you get paid when you should and don’t forget to do your tax returns!

If you are looking for contract positions, or temporary staff please call us on 020 7637 1300.
If you have any comments on our tips, please do let us know.