It’s easy to work temporary positions indefinitely. Contracts typically state that the position is not permanent, detail needed qualifications, tasks to be performed and the contract period. When you finish one contract job, you can go on to the next.
However, if you’re interested in turning your contract position into a more long-term opportunity, here are a few tips for influencing your employer to extend your contract.
Become invaluable. The goal is to make everyone feel like that they can’t live without you. Do more than what’s expected of you. If there are still hours in the day after you’ve finished your assignments, volunteer for more work. Tackle tough tasks that nobody else wants to do. Examine current operations and see if you can offer improvements. Start to show off other job skills that your employer may find useful.
Be part of the team. Embrace the corporate culture. Contribute to office pools or Fantasy Football Leagues. Help decorate the workspace for an office birthday party. Bring in treats that you’ve baked yourself or bought at the doughnut shop. Volunteer for the company softball team and dress like everyone else during casual Fridays. All things being equal, employers would rather hire people who fit in than those who don’t contribute to the team.
Establish good rapport with your boss. Before the end of your contract, talk to your boss and explain that you’ve enjoyed working with the team. Ask if there are additional duties you can do to extend your contract term. If your employer seems open to your working there, discuss how some of your skills can apply to a variety of projects. Even if your current project comes to a close and your skills are no longer needed in your current team, a strong relationship with your boss can still pay off. A good employer can advocate for your transfer to a different team in order to keep you in the company.
While the advice given here is focused on contract extensions, it’s also useful for temp-to-perm positions as well. Please note, however, that even if you feel you’ve done everything “right,” no contract extension or permanent placement is guaranteed. Like any other employee, decisions made about your employment are sometimes made at a level that neither you nor your boss can influence.