Contract gigs can be a pretty sweet deal. By the very nature of the job, you’re expected to jump right in and start solving problems. Then, in three to six months or so, you can move onto your next exciting challenge, no strings attached. For some, this is truly an ideal setup. But many others may find themselves longing for the perks of a full-time position: the job security, the steady routine and definitely the health insurance.
If you fall into this camp, don’t worry. Whether the job post explicitly says it or not, there is often an opportunity to turn contract work into a full-time position — if you play your cards right. Follow the advice below, and you’ll go from part-time to full-time in no time.
1. Be Up Front (Within Reason)
Before anything else, you should make it clear that you’re interested in a full-time position during the interview.
“Some people are purely serial contractors, so your employer might not even know that’s something you could be interested in,” says Jamie Hichens, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Glassdoor.
But, she warns, there is such a thing as being too pushy. Immediately saying you’re only looking for full-time work or acting like a full-time position is already a sure thing for you are both tried-and-true methods of getting on a recruiter’s nerves.
“The best way to express that you’re interested in a full-time job is to say something like ‘I’m so excited to join this team — I’m definitely interested in contract work, but if there was an opportunity for it to become full-time I’d be very open to that,’” Hichens recommends.
2. Become Indispensable
It goes without saying that a company won’t want to hire you full time if you underperform, but even meeting the expectations of your role isn’t always enough. To truly stand out, Hichens recommends that contract workers outshine the full-time employees on their team.
“We recently hired someone for a contract role of three to six months, but because she went above and beyond what was expected of her, we offered her a full-time role — even though we didn’t even have an open position for it listed on our site. She proved her value by thinking of new things to do in her role that weren’t expected of her — she redid processes and streamlined things in a way that proved to be invaluable,” Hichens shares.
3. Make Sure to Mingle
Sometimes, contract workers make the mistake of isolating themselves from colleagues since they don’t see themselves as a “real” team member. But this is a missed opportunity, Hichens says. If you don’t see yourself as part of the team, what are the odds that your team will?
“Don’t just be ‘the contractor,’” Hichens says. “When people really keep to themselves, it rarely works out in their favor. Even things as small as joining in on watercooler talk or sitting together at lunch are good ways to lean into the situation and act like you’re a part of the full-time team.”
[Related: How to Network if You’re an Introvert]
4. Do Your Homework
Even if you follow the steps above, you can’t expect a job offer to simply fall into your lap — you have to take action. After a few months, check in with your employer to find out whether or not they see a chance to bring you on full time. Come to that meeting prepared not only to state your case for full-time employment, but also with clear expectations of what you want and need out of a full-time job.
Salary and benefits negotiation are an artform in and of themselves, but the first step is knowing the market value of your skills so you can push for fair compensation without pricing yourself out of a job. From there, the power’s in your hands.