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Getting Your Next Contract: A Checklist for Temporary Employees

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Changing jobs can be stressful. But if you’re a contract worker, there’s good news: You don’t have to go it alone.

Going it alone — from updating your resume and LinkedIn profile to understanding who’s hiring for what, and whether you’re qualified — can quickly become overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that you must check all these boxes while you’re (hopefully!) still at your current position. As they say, finding a job really is a full-time job.

More good news — finding a job is what your recruiter does. They are your partner throughout the job search process, which will relieve some of the stress and help you manage the transition.

Follow these steps to make the transition to your next job as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Know when your assignment ends

Touch base with your recruiter if you have any questions about your current assignment’s end date. There’s always a chance that your assignment could wrap up early, but on the other hand, it could also be extended. Either way, your recruiter will have the facts, so there’s no reason to be out of the loop.

Step 2: Impress your current employer

Finish strong, and bring that momentum and positive attitude to your next assignment. Leaving a strong impression will keep you top of mind for future placements, and will ensure that you don’t burn any bridges at your current job. You always knew this day would come. Take pride in a job well done, be grateful for the opportunity and focus on what’s next.

Step 3: Establish career goals

Think about your priorities — short- and long-term. Evaluate what’s most important to you in your next job. Is it more money or a particular workplace environment? Do you want the opportunity to manage people or time to focus on learning new skills? Be sure to share these thoughts with your recruiter so they can identify opportunities that align with your goals. Presenting yourself as someone with professional goals, curiosity and ambition makes you more attractive to recruiters and hiring managers. Added bonus: This will help to make any future contract transitions easier for you and your recruiter.

Step 4: Research the job market

Get a sense of what types of jobs are available in areas you’re interested in and qualified for. Share what you learn with your recruiter so they know exactly where your interests lie. Because recruiters build their reputation by providing their customers with the most qualified candidates, they can represent you to the hiring manager before that person decides whom to interview.

Step 5: Get references and update your resume

Coordinate collecting references with your recruiter. They may have preferred methods, and can take advantage of their relationships with your current manager. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your most recent job experience, including relevant responsibilities and new skills developed. And don’t forget to update your resume, too! Contract employees aren’t job hoppers, so make sure to list all your contract positions under the Aerotek employer name.

Step 6: Prepare for interviews

Brush up on your interview skills, and identify stories from your recent job experience that will serve you well when answering behavioral interview questions. Ask your recruiter for tips on interviewing for the new job. Chances are good that they’ll have insight into the type of questions you’ll be asked and what the interviewer cares about most.

Step 7: Communicate with your recruiter

Let your recruiter know of any concerns you have about your end date or the possibility of contract extensions or full-time job offers. They might already be navigating those conversations with their client, so it helps you to be transparent.

Like many things, you get out what you put in, so being prepared and practical about your next job will never be a bad thing for you.

And remember, if you find something on your own, your recruiter will only be happy for you!