Featured Post: How to make the most of temporary contracts

 Temporary contracts can have a lasting impact

As the job market changes and temporary contracts become increasingly popular, it is important to know how to make the most of your time in a company. 

There has been a marked shift in the relationship between organisations and employees. Many businesses are trying to remain lean and agile in times of economic uncertainty. As a consequence, we are seeing a rise in the number of temporary contracts issued by both large and small businesses, which are driving job seekers into the short term role market. This is not just at the intern level or admin functions, but increasingly at more senior levels. These contracts give businesses the flexibility to keep a core full time workforce. They can then just hire freelance staff or others on temporary contracts to meet short term spikes in workload, or seasonal needs.

Temporary Contracts

Women are more likely than men to be employed on temporary, short term and zero hours contracts.

Temporary contracts serve to reduce a company’s overheads and salary bills. They are very often seen as a trap rather than a stepping stone. This is not to be confused with the gig economy where organisations run exclusively on temporary gigs or zero hours contracts, yet workers are on call on a daily basis. Read: The Gig Economy, the face of underemployment

Read: Beware flexibility it’s a  False Friend.


Janice took a career gap to raise her children before they were of school age. Now she is ready to return to the workplace. She was dismayed that the only role she could secure was on a temporary contract to cover a maternity leave opening. Disheartened, she turned to coaching for how she can maximise the opportunity to either extend her contract with the existing organisation, or leverage it to secure a second one with another company. Her concerns are not unfounded. There is no doubt that temporary contracts carry a downside.There is frequently no training or on-boarding, with limited opportunity for growth and personal development. Objectives may be vague and sometimes the role can be the dumping ground for all the tasks the permanent employees don’t want to do themselves. There can be few incentives and feedback limited, so I understand why they can appear challenging.

Rachel was made redundant almost a year ago. She has turned down a number of temporary contracts, holding out for a permanent role. In today’s market it can still be easier to find a job from a job, so that is a decision that needs careful consideration. There are benefits in temporary contracts and it can be important to seize the moment.

Read: Temp to perm – how to make the leap


Despite how things appear, these roles can offer rewarding learning opportunities. If you work on a temporary contract you can gain exposure to new business sectors, locations and functions. You will learn to on-board rapidly, assimilate into a new organisation and gain an understanding of the corporate culture. At the most senior level, these are considered to be separate skills. They are sought after by many organisations who look for such people, specifically to fill openings on an ad interim basis.

It’s important to create a strategy when accepting such a role. But when working on a temporary contract many job seekers make the fatal mistake of putting their overall job search for a permanent role on hold. Or they hope that the short term contract will be rolled over. It may not be.

Here are some tips to make the most of temporary contracts:


Establish goals for the short term contract and be clear how they will fit in with a longer term plan. If you are unclear about what your vision and goals are, download our free Career Reflection Worksheets HERE to help you structure your thoughts.


Be clear on the KPIs for the role, who will be measuring your success and how. Many individuals on temporary contracts say there is much confusion around their function and reporting lines. These should be explained even as early as the interview stage.  It’s important that there is a contract that covers the role and lays out the benefits. Many organisations can treat contract workers less favorably than full-time permanent employees, so it’s important to gain clarity around those key issues.


Gaining quick and accurate insight into the unofficial culture of an organisation can very often depend on the relationships forged with peers, reports and senior members of the hierarchy. If you can create a strategic alliance with someone who could become a potential sponsor, so much the better.


Even if the assignment itself ends as contracted, network as much as possible within your temporary home. It is always possible that any of the people you encountered can refer you for other opportunities. They could also give you online recommendations that will be visible within your wider network and to other potential employers.

As organisations offer an increasing number of roles on the basis of temporary contracts, it’s important to maximize the value that can be gained from them, rather than fret about wasting time. There is much evidence that this is how a growing number of organisations are going to be operating in the future.

Many people don’t start thinking about their careers until there is a problem. So take a few moments when you are relaxed, to understand what is important to you.  Have our Career Reflections Worksheets delivered right into your in-box.  Print them out in the old school way or keep them open on your phone. Use them as a guide to give your thoughts some structure.

Invest some time in yourself! Don’t wait until it’s too late!


3Plus, 3Plus online e-Gazine for professional women, Career, Networking, Workplace
Web | Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she joins the dots between organisations, individuals, opportunity and success.

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.


When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. die..no thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.






The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us  tips to achieve the lasting communication skills needed to tackle the difficult conversations we encounter in the workplace. Hard Talk answers the big questions like:

  • How do I manage a boss who insists on micro-managing me?
  • How do I let a high performer know that they are not getting the promotion he wants?
  • What can I do about a direct report who doesn’t show me respect?
  • How do I tell my boss that despite all efforts our deadline on an important deliverable will be missed?

In this podcast, Dawn Metcalfe will give us an overview to handle challenging scenarios to empower you with the skills needed to ensure you have these conversations in the best way and generate the best outcome. Make your workplace and your professional experience more fruitful and less fraught by learning the importance of Hard Talk.




Taking Care of your COW
Free Download

Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is something of an outside-in job, i.e. that you decide your destination/goals and start building a brand towards that. The truth is, it is an inside-out job. Firstly, you need to identify who you are and what you stand for. With that at the core, you should start building your personal brand to celebrate and amplify your authenticity. So my first suggestion is to understand what you stand for.

Secondly, consistency is key.  She tells us that many people pick up social media with enthusiasm and then drop it. You need visibility and credibility at the same time to be able to craft a strong personal brand on social media. Using technology to schedule posts, knowing which keywords you want to be associated with, and following the right influencers is easier than you may think.

Finally you need a clear “why” for their presence on social media. Or worse still, they treat social media as a tool to ask for favors, sell relentlessly or promote their products/books. No one likes to be sold to, least of all by someone who shows up only when they need something. Remember –  give before asking.

Understanding and navigating social media to achieve career success can be a challenge or even a mystery for all of us. Tanvi Guatam explains how taking care of your COW is the best way to do this. Find out what this helpful acronym stands for and where and when to apply it.

You will always remember the importance of taking care of your COW!