Even with hiring up over last year, the number of new full-time jobs being created continues to lag behind. Getting hired full-time may increasingly be turning into a two-step process: Get on board first as a part-time or contract worker and then try to convert that into a full-time job, according to OI Partners-Innovative Career Consulting of Denver.
While 195,000 new jobs were created in June, the number of people working part-time who want full-time work rose by 322,000 to a total of 8.2 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A growing number of employers prefer to hire workers on a part-time or contract basis before deciding whether to hire them full-time. One of the reasons is the new health care law. Starting in 2015, employers of more than 50 employees working 30 or more hours per week will have to provide them with health insurance or pay a penalty.
Also, many people are now changing careers and going back to school to switch to fields that have been expanding, such as health care and technology.
How successful a person may be in converting part-time or contract positions into full-time jobs depends on their skill in navigating the transition. “But be aware that there are often no guarantees and no promises that part-time or contract workers will be hired full-time even if suitable openings arise during the period they are working,” says Shawna Simcik, Managing Partner of OI Partners-Innovative Career Consulting, a leading global coaching and leadership development and consulting firm.
“For unemployed people, a part-time or contract assignment can possibly detract from a regular job search and create false hope about a full-time job. So, be careful about stopping your job search or putting your search on hold,” Simcik said.
OI Partners-Innovative Career Consulting offers the following advice to people hoping to turn contract or part-time jobs into full-time employment:
1. Concentrate on fields where your skills and experience will distinguish you as a valuable contract or part-time addition. “Don’t present yourself as a jack-of-all-trades, but as a specialist who can help companies achieve their objectives,” said Simcik.
2. Take steps to differentiate yourself and stand out. Assemble a portfolio showcasing your talents and experience within the same industry or the same type of business. Offer recommendations on how to improve sales, marketing, productivity, quality, management—whatever relates to your field of expertise.
3. Ask up-front if you can apply for full-time openings that arise during your contract period or while working part-time. Have this spelled out; don’t take it for granted.
4. Act as if you already are a full-time employee. “Demonstrate by your dedication, problem-solving and people skills that you are a committed member of the team and not a short-timer. The employer may begin to see you that way,” added Simcik.
5. Aim to out-perform full-time employees who are doing the same or similar job as you. Learn the criteria that are used to evaluate performance and continually endeavor to impress. Strive to exceed your goals without your co-workers feeling you are not a team player.
6. Be positive and upbeat about your commitment to the company. “Don’t go around the workplace thinking of yourself as ‘only a contractor,’ and never display a negative attitude,” said Simcik.
7. Meet as many key people in the organization as you can. Keep in contact with people who recruit for the company, as well as employees in other departments. Ask to be invited to, or sit in on, staff meetings.
About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.
Follow her other Examiner columns: College to Career and Life After College. And even more articles on SelfGrowth.com.