How to make the most of your temporary role

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Whether you're in between jobs or changing career paths, a freelance contractor or student looking for fill-in work whilst you study, it's safe to say that most of us will experience a temporary work contract at some point in our lives.

At first, it can be hard adjusting to a new office and way of working when you know you're not there for the long-haul. But there are ways of utilising your time to really make the hours count, regardless of the length of your term.

So, if you have recently accepted an offer, or are a few weeks into a placement and are struggling to settle in, keep reading to learn how to use this time efficiently and proactively, and add a new dimension to your CV.

Make connections

It may seem obvious, but working for a new company throws up great opportunities to network in a safe environment. Look upon the experience as if it's a real-life LinkedIn - just with less profile pictures and endorsements.

You have a distinct opportunity here, as you'll be in an enclosed environment with influential people who have the ability to connect you with companies who may have a need for you.

Remember, you aren't limited to working a role in the department you have been placed in - so don't limit your sights on just one team. The manager in Merchandising may need some help later in the year, and just because you're the administrative assistant for the Marketing team, you're not excluded from moving sides.

It can be intimidating to begin with, but with time you'll grow in confidence. When employees introduce themselves to you, do the same back, and try to treat it as an elevator pitch. Don't down-play anything you have been doing or can do.

It's all too easy to brush off this question with something quick, but take your time, and really give someone the ability to get to know you. You never know who is listening and might need someone just like you.

Be proactive

A temporary contract isn't something you should sit back and relax on. Sometimes, you might have a contract in which you complete the allotted work quicker than anticipated. In these instances, it's easy to drag it out to full term to get some extra money and have an easy ride, but it's better to be upfront and honest and tell your manager when the work is done. Not only will that show efficiency, it lets them see your character, and how you have the company's best interests at heart. For the remaining contract, offer to complete ad-hoc jobs to support the team.

Try not to see a temporary contract as something interim where you can afford to slack because 'it's not forever'. Being proactive will serve you so much more, and help your employer see the potential in keeping you with them full-time.

Push for more

Leading on from the last point, if you are already beginning to leave your mark and a good impression, use that to your advantage. If you have identified a need for something - perhaps some support on a different team, or a suggestion to ease someone's workload when they're struggling - tell your superior.

When you work a temporary contract, you are privy to the inner-workings of a business, and sometimes a fresh eye can see problems that veteran employees cannot.

Pitch this carefully, and not in an arrogant way, but with the intention of actually solving a problem, and it could lead to an extended contract or a position being created for you.

Keep in touch

If, after all your efforts, the temporary contract does come to an end, don't feel defeated. If you are completing seasonal work, there isn't a need for it all year round, so no matter what you do, you can't extend the contract. But what you can do is keep in touch.

Try not to feel awkward about this - it can seem intimidating to reach out to someone, but it needn't. If it is seasonal work, send an email in a few months' time to state your availability, what you've been doing since and outline your interests to come back if they have a need for you.

Remember, it will save them from having to go through an arduous recruitment process, and is ultimately easier to have someone on board who already knows the ropes.

Keep all doors open, and use these tips to really get the most out of your temporary contract.

Lucy Farrington-Smith writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.