How to Turn Your Temp Assignment Into a Permanent Job

What you need to know about temping your way to the top.


If you’re looking for a full-time job, you may not want to hear about temp work. But temporary jobs can and do lead to permanent employment, and in times like these temping may be the only way to get in with a new employer. Plus there’s a salary! We all know how important that is. So temp jobs are worth at least considering.

Here’s what you need to know about “temping your way to the top”:

• Treat the temp job like a long job interview. Do your best work. Always. Be punctual, cheerful, enthusiastic, and conscientious. Always. This is your chance to prove you’re a star.

• Temp where you want to work. Not only will you be an obvious choice when the company thinks of hiring permanently, you’ll also hone the skills you’ll need in that full-time position.

• Adopt the company’s culture. You want to show that you already work there (for real). If you look and act like a temp, employers are going to think of you as a temp.

• Be a team player. Offer to work overtime if needed. Be willing to do tasks outside your job description. Make friends with the permanent workers.

[See 21 Secrets to Getting the Job.]

• Dress the part. Even though you’re a temp, you don’t need to look like one. If you dress as though you take yourself seriously, others will take you seriously, too.

• Keep your resume on hand. Make sure it’s up to date at all times, in both paper and electronic formats. You never know when someone may ask to see it.

• Make sure the employer knows about all your skills. A temp job can often be quite specialized. Look for ways to let your employer and co-workers know that you can do so much more.

• Learn as much as you can about the company. Temps often aren’t given in-depth instruction. Make an effort to learn about the company’s products, services, and market.

[See Can't Find Work? Get a 'Survival Job'.]

• Meet people. A temp job is a great networking venue. Make yourself visible. Get out and about and meet department heads, HR employees, and anyone else with influence.

• Stay positive. Permanent workers may ignore you. Or, worse, treat you like a slacker. It can be a hit to your self-esteem, but hold your head high and continue to do good work.

• Be enterprising. Look for things that need to be done that no one is doing. Better yet, find ways to save the company money, speed its processes, or increase sales and clients.

• Be a self-starter. Pay attention, take notes, and anticipate needs. Bosses appreciate and value people who can work without supervision.

[For more career advice, visit U.S. News Careers.]

• Let them know you’re interested in permanent work. Employers may assume you’re happy as a temp. From time to time, talk with supervisors or with HR about your goals.

• Make yourself indispensable. This is the key. The way to turn a temp assignment into a permanent job is to exceed expectations. Make yourself an employee the company can’t live without. If you’re such a stellar worker that employers start to “need” you, you’ll be on your way to a permanent paycheck.

Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at


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