Did you know that one in five jobs in the U.S. are contract-based, and almost half of all government employees are contractors? That’s a lot of people you can connect with — and a significant opportunity to advance professionally. What’s more, connecting with people at work makes it more fun.
If you accept a three-month contract, you may be tempted to keep your head down. After all, why build relationships with people you’ll likely say goodbye to in a few months?
Don’t think of your stint as just another entry on the job timeline. Think of it as a networking opportunity.
If you’re a frequent contractor, you’re almost certain to meet a wide variety of people over the course of your career. Use that to your advantage. If you make a positive impression and stay in touch, those new contacts might be the connection to your dream job.
Getting to know your co-workers provides many benefits besides career growth, including boosting your confidence and overall happiness. So, engage in water cooler talk or invite a co-worker to lunch. Attend the next company happy hour and grab coffee with a work acquaintance.
If you’re an Aerotek contract employee, you likely have company. Ask your recruiter to introduce you to other contractors at your company.
Becoming close friends with your supervisors can be taboo, but it does help to get to know them. Take pains to establish rapport so they can see what type of worker (and person) you are.
Be friendly and make conversation when there’s an opportunity. Use that time to show your initiative and knowledge. The more exposure they have to your work ethic and personality, the more positive qualities they’ll remember during performance reviews and when considering you for permanent hire or promotion.
After all, many employers treat contract positions as a trial run to see how workers perform. Even if you’re not interested in a full-time job there, you can request a job recommendation or referral when it’s time to move on.
Make sure to build lasting connections with the people you meet — even if just on LinkedIn. Contracting allows you to explore opportunities while building a deep network of people who know you and your value. With the average worker moving on from their employer quickly, this network will extend into opportunities at many companies.
Some work relationships may not always turn into deep friendships, but they can bridge you to a better job. So, maintain your network for future career opportunities, and enjoy your current relationships. It’s not just about not burning bridges. It’s about building them in the first place.
Interested in gaining marketable skills and building your network? Check out our open positions and apply for jobs that match your experience. If you’re a good fit, a recruiter will reach out for more information.