Career advice

Office etiquette for temporary workers

It’s your first assignment. But you’re a temp, and that means planning your next move. Put yourself in an unassailable position and you’ll have an edge when you decide to move on!
But how are you going to secure your place in the annals of office apocrypha as ‘the temp that got away’?
First things first, you need to have your technical skills finely tuned, especially those ubiquitous software packages. Word, Excel and Powerpoint are the holy trinity of office applications and you should be an expert at cutting and pasting, Excel formulae and PowerPoint fades.
Soft skills are key, with the ability to multi-task and deal with internal and external customers topping the wish list of many employers.
Once you’ve got your feet under the table and impressed everyone with your efficiency and diplomacy, there are a number of ways you can build your reputation even further.
  • Ask questions to prove your enthusiasm
  • Seek out extra assignments
  • Exceed the expectations of your colleagues
  • Get to know staff in other departments
  • Make sure your supervisor has a copy of your CV
Above all, you should remember to stay positive. If your co-workers accidentally refer to you as ‘the temp’ when you’re in earshot, don’t let it demoralise you. An upbeat demeanour and grace under pressure will earn the respect of those around you, ensure you have a good overall experience and may even secure you a permanent position, should that be what you’re after.
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