Turning temp work permanent

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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When college student Brittany Brooks applied for a job at her local store, they told her they were only hiring seasonal help and she would probably be let go after the new year. She decided to go for it anyway.  

"I needed the money and I just wanted to have the experience of saying yes, I have had a job," she said.

But Brooks  impressed her boss, and her holiday job turned permanent.  It's something that experts say is a fast growing trend.   

"About 49 percent of the employers that we talked to plan on hiring these part time seasonal workers into full time positions. So this is a great opportunity to showcase your skills," explained Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder.com.

Rasmussen says these seasonal jobs can provide not only an immediate paycheck, but also a foot in the door.   

"You should view it as an extended job interview," he said. "This is an opportunity for the company to get to know you, for you to know the company, to show them what you bring to their organization and to show how you can become a valuable asset." 

And it's not just retail, either. Rasmussen says companies in a variety of fields are "test-driving" temporary employees before hiring them for good, including hospitality and leisure, IT, finance and accounting.

So how do you score a permanent position? Dawn Fay, a member of the American Staffing Association, says first you need to treat the job as if it's already yours.  

"Don't treat it like a temporary job that maybe isn't as important to you. You know, a lot of times if people are on a temporary assignment they'll not show up on time, they won't take extra initiative," she advised.

Some other ways to put your best foot forward:

  • Ask for assignments.
  • Make an effort to get to know your coworkers by attending professional and social functions.
  • Ask for regular feedback of your performance and how you can improve.

"People love people that have initiative and that want to do a better job," said Fay.

And lastly, make sure your boss doesn't think you want the job for the wrong reasons.

"Retail organizations tell us all the time they're offended when people only work for the discount and not for the company," added Rasmussen.

Fay points out these tips hold true all year long.

"Some people think seasonal, they just think during the holiday times. So many companies use temporary workers so that they can fill gaps in some of their peak seasons. So there's a lot of different reasons and times during the year when companies actually use project professionals," she said.

Experts say it's also important to be flexible with your time when it comes to seasonal work. Full time employees usually get first dibs on the best schedule, meaning you might end up working odd hours or even the holidays themselves. 

Brooks is still working at her seasonal job and loving every minute of it.

"The people I work with honestly are like family," she said. "I've enjoyed it ever since."

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