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How to turn a temporary job into a permanent one

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Landing a temporary job can be a great way to get some experience and earn a little extra cash in the short term. Here's how to turn your short-term job into a permanent arrangement.

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After the initial high of landing temporary work, it can soon start to feel like you're on borrowed time and you’ll soon be hunting again. But the reality is that plenty of people who start out in a temp role find that they can turn that into a permanent job. 

Once you’ve got your foot in the door, as long as you’re a hard worker who does your job well, you’ll be in a good position to either make your current role permanent or apply for other vacancies within the company.

If you want to turn your temp job or probation period into a permanent position there are things you can do to boost your chances. Here are five of the best strategies:

1. Be reliable

One of the most important attributes employers are looking for is reliability.

Fail to turn up to work on time and there's little chance of you being asked to stay on long term, no matter how much extra effort you put in.

You'll need to show that you can be trusted to complete the work you're assigned by your supervisor or boss, but it’s also useful to prove you can show initiative and crack on with your tasks when you're working unsupervised.

If your boss knows you’re a safe pair of hands, they’re more likely to consider you for a full-time role whether it’s the current one or something else that becomes available.

2. Make yourself indispensable

Perhaps the best way to turn your temporary position into a permanent one is to make yourself truly indispensable to your employer.

Okay, this can be tricky in a short space of time but if you volunteer for extra tasks as soon as you’ve completed the ones you’ve been set, you’ll soon find you’re expanding your remit and making yourself invaluable. See if there are daily tasks you can make your own each day so that they’re seen to be your role and make sure you’re delivering them reliably. 

Once you're settled in, you can take this even further by asking for extra responsibilities at work. After all, if your boss will need to re-train other staff to fill your role once your contract ends, they may consider offering you a longer-term position instead.

Take advantage of any on-the-job training to broaden your skills as it will make it harder for your employer to dispense with your services.

3. Be a team player

If you're disruptive to others or a distraction to the team you're unlikely to be kept on by your employer.

Equally, if you volunteer to help your colleagues wherever possible, are positive and generally act as a "team player" you'll boost your chances.

4. Go the extra mile and take the initiative

Making that extra effort during your temporary contract is a great way of improving your chances of landing a long-term position.

You should try and apply this to all areas of your new job. If you spot anything that needs doing, try being proactive and taking initiative yourself (as long as you feel confident you can complete the job properly). Be careful to make sure you’re not treading on a colleagues toes, and be helpful rather than bossy!

Equally, if you are tasked with a project or piece of work, make it your own and push to complete it to the highest possible standard.

Finally, towards the end of your contract pull together a list of suggestions about how to improve the team and efficiency and talk them through with your manager - this will show that you're proactive and committed.

5. Manage your expectations

Even if you work your socks off and impress your boss during your temporary contract, it may be beyond their control to make your job a permanent position. For instance, if you’re doing maternity cover and the original job holder comes back, there may be nothing you can do.

Rather than waiting for your end date and then being disappointed, it makes sense to speak with your manager at least two weeks before your contract is due to finish, to ask about the likelihood of being kept on.

This will not only give you a better idea of where you stand but will also make it clear to your employer that you're keen to continue in your role. Even if making your current job permanent isn’t an option, there may be other roles within the organisation that your manager can suggest.

If it's clear there won't be a position for you long term, asking early gives you some time to begin the hunt for another job before the end of your contract.

If you are worried about your employment, compare income protection plans to find the best cover, so you will be protected should the worst happen.

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