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Temp Jobs Can Lead To Permanent Employment

Ramon Greenwood -- In a tough economy, temporary jobs are an opportunity to show your skills, attitude, work habits, and adaptability -- all assets that could reward a hard worker with a permanent position.

Given the dismal outlook for the job market in the foreseeable future -- driven in large measure by the uncertainty of the regulations and taxes the government may impose on businesses -- employers are reluctant to take on permanent employees.

This means that there will be more opportunities for temporary hiring and internships.

There are two ways to work in these situations.

One, some will treat the job as a short term, stop-gap proposition. They will show up, do what they are told to do and not one whit more. They won't make any effort to learn what the employer's business is all about and what role their tasks play in the business. They won't make any effort to get to know the boss and what his challenges are. They will work on a here-today-gone-tomorrow.

Two, others will take the opposite tact. They will treat the job as an opportunity to show their skills, attitude, work habits, and adaptability...the assets that could lead to a permanent job.

Despite job losses, opportunities still exist

No doubt about it, the prolonged recession/depression is causing many employers to freeze hiring or reduce jobs. In the mean time, some are using temps and interns to pick up the slack when they expect a rush of business through.

Therefore, there are many opportunities in a variety of industries for alert hard working employees to translate temporary jobs into permanent positions.

For example, UPS says it will hire 50,000 seasonal workers this year. The company says it could move from 20 percent to 30 percent of temps who demonstrate their value during the pressured holiday season to full-time positions.

Manpower, the staffing firm, expects to employ about 10,000 seasonal employees. As many as 40 percent could earn permanent jobs.

Six steps from temp to permanent

There are six steps that temps can take to increase their chances of landing a permanent job:

1. Treat the temporary assignment as a prolonged interview. John A Challenger, chief of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, the consulting firm, says that many companies treat seasonal positions as "auditions to find some of their best people."

2. Make it known that you are interested in a permanent job.

3. Behave as if the position is permanent: arrive on time, put in a full day, carry out assignments, respect the dress code. Be dependable. (That's the number one trait employers look for.)

4. Be flexible. Accept the less desirable shifts and assignments with a smile and can-do attitude. Better yet, volunteer for the extra tasks or shifts.

5. Learn the business of the business and how your temporary job contributes to its success.

6. Get to know the boss and his challenges. Help him solve them.

By the way, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting hundreds of thousands of temporary, part-time census takers. These jobs are very good for people who want to work part-time, those who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money. Most positions require a valid driver's license and use of a vehicle. For more information, visit:

To get more common sense career advice on how to protect and advance your career during tough times, sign up at for a free subscription to Ramon Greenwood's widely read e-newsletter and participate in his blog. He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies.

© 2009 Ramon Greenwood

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