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Networking as a Temp

Author: Laurie Knafo/Wednesday, May 21, 2014/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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For many people, building a professional network is difficult. For people working in temporary positions, it can be even harder. Often, assignments do not last long enough to naturally build relationships or get to know people. Furthermore, other employees know you are there for only short periods of time and frequently don’t make the effort they would with a new full-time hire.

But in my mind, temporary employees have an advantage in building their networks. Temporary and contract employees are exposed to more people in more organizations. All they need are a few simple tips to help them connect and make a lasting impression.

Try these four tips temps can use to help grow their professional network:

Arrive Early: Most offices have a starting time, but the influencers and managers frequently arrive earlier. Make an effort to arrive at work a little early. You will find there are fewer people around, and the environment is usually calm and quiet. Because of this, people are often more willing to talk and spend time early in the day before the emails, calls, and deadlines begin to pile up. Best of all, others will notice your early arrival and may even strike up a conversation.

Volunteer Help: Almost every office has some type of charity or workgroup that requires volunteer effort. Make it your business to volunteer. Even if you will only be able to attend one meeting, you can offer to help with meeting notes or handouts. By participating with employees on a peer-to-peer level, you position yourself as a colleague. Just being introduced as a temp who has offered to help will get your name out there and facilitate a new set of introductions that months of online networking can’t deliver.

Eat Lunch: At many organizations, the lunch room or cafeteria is the place to be seen and connect. Temps who skip lunch in order to be paid an extra hour are really doing themselves a disservice. Even if you don’t know anyone, you can strike up a conversation while waiting in line or ask your agency if they have other temps at the organization you can meet. People who take a lunch break are often looking for a chance to step away from work and be a little social. Take advantage of this to reach out and form some connections.

Don’t Bully.  People understand that many temps are looking for full-time and/or permanent work.  Don’t force your way into groups or conversations and connect with people to only talk about your job search. Instead smile, be a good listener, and ask questions. Before long the conversation will turn to you.  When it does, have a simple statement about your employment status ready to share: “I’m temping here while I am looking for a position as a full-time bookkeeper.”  Then move on.  

If people are interested or willing to help they will bring the conversation back to you. What you don’t want to do is make people feel like you are only talking to them to promote yourself. If you get to talk with a few folks, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great way to professionally reach out and stay in touch without feeling like you are forcing yourself on others.

Growing your professional network takes time and effort. But, with these few simple tips temps can make the most of the networking opportunities at each assignment. Good luck!


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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

Other posts by Laurie Knafo
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.


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