We’ve all heard the media chatter about the “new freelance economy” in the United States. It sounds, empowering right? We’re all working for ourselves – how freeing! Except it’s not that simple or straightforward. While there are some people who love the freedom and flexibility of freelance employment, it can also be enormously stressful and difficult to turn a profit. Many of these freelancers are actually part-time employees who would vastly prefer to have a full-time job with a stable salary and health benefits. If this sounds like you, we understand your stress and frustration. However, you can make the leap from an hourly gig to a full-time position.
Be selective. If you have a choice (and we don’t always have choice), pick a temporary gig in the field you’d like to work in. And don’t set the bar too low! There’s no point in toiling at a job that has no relation to your desired career path, or existing skill set. For example, you should avoid taking an administrative job in accounting if you were a marketing executive in your former life. Try to hold out for a job at an ad agency or marketing firm that’s in line with your experience.
Treat the job like an interview. Show up everyday with your game face on. I recently hired a part time employee who is incredibly thoughtful about her work and the impact on our organization. She is bright, articulate, relentlessly detail oriented and truly takes the time to make sure that she’s delivering exactly what we need. As soon as I’m in a position to hire a full-time employee, she’s absolutely the first person getting an offer. In my mind, there’s no reason to interview candidates when the perfect employee is sitting quite literally under my nose.
Show that you’re part of the team. It’s easy with a temporary gig to find yourself on the sidelines with other employees. Most people won’t bother reaching out to somebody who’s going to be gone in months, weeks or days. While that’s a difficult barrier to overcome, you must do your best to establish a rapport and relationship with your coworkers. Ask them out to lunch, or bring them a cup of coffee. Create opportunities for socialization and collaboration. Team chemistry is a funny thing! All companies have brought in employees that look good on paper, but are a bad cultural fit. If an employer sees you getting on exceptionally well with their existing team, that is certainly going to weigh heavily in your favor if a full time position opens up.
Let your employer know you want the opportunity for full-time work. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! Employers aren’t mind readers, and not all temp workers are looking for full time jobs. Ask them if there is an opportunity for the role to transition to full time, and let them know you’d like to be considered. Otherwise, you may find yourself watching a pool of candidates traipse in to interview for the job YOU want.