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Emma Raywood

Assistants: Why Temping is one of the Greatest Networking Tools at your Disposal

  • by Emma Raywood
  • 25 Jul 2017

Unless you are one of the very few people that enjoys attending job interviews, the thought of sitting across from experienced Recruiters and HR professionals fills most people with dread. Having 30 minutes to an hour to sell your career and skill-set is a fine art and for many a tough experience. If you have ever left an interview kicking yourself over the answer you provided, then you have probably had the frustrating thought of: “If only they could see what I can achieve when given the opportunity to prove myself?!”. Well, undertaking temporary work can give you that very opportunity! An “on the job” interview where you can demonstrate your amazing skills and attitude.

When faced with redundancy or the end of a temporary contract, it can be easy for people to dismiss the idea of taking on temporary contracts. Common responses range from not wanting to get stuck in a “temping rut” or only wanting to consider temporary roles that are certain to lead to a permanent offer.

And these concerns are valid and understandable. Looking for a new permanent role can be a full-time job in itself, requiring a lot of time and effort; however I can testify to how incredibly valuable temporary employment can be.

Being fortunate enough to work with incredible businesses such as Facebook, Google and the BBC, I have the foresight to know where some of these contracts can lead. At the end of the day it's all about attitude and you would be surprised by how far a flexible attitude can take you. Some of the most successful senior EAs that I know, are still prepared to make the odd cup of tea….no job is ever too big or too small! And it these very Assistants that jump at the chance of temporary contracts when between roles.

Seeing every temp role, however short or long, as an opportunity to network is an attitude that can absolutely pay off. Taking your flexible and hardworking attitude into a temporary assignment, can often turn a short-term role into an incredible long term career. Not all great assistants are great interviewers. What better interview than having an opportunity to prove your worth in a real life setting as opposed to spouting examples of what a great organiser you are!

And don’t just take my word for it, below you can read 2 success stories of temporary contractors who took their short-term roles by the horns, and by working hard managed to secure permanent positions that weren’t even on the cards when they originally joined the business:

Natasha Grant: Account Manager/ Studio Executive at Mother London:

Q.   You joined your current employer on a temporary contract, can you tell us a little about your experience of temping?

      I temped when I first moved to London and found it a great way of being able to gauge how I fit in culturally at a company. Some companies I loved and would've liked to stay if a permanent role came up and others, I was happy to keep as a temp contract and just keep the network of contacts!

Q.   Can you tell us a little about your journey within the company and what role you ultimately secured?

      I came to the company on a temp HR Assistant role for one month. I had only agreed to the role because the company seemed amazing and right up my avenue. So I had always pre-meditated that it may be a company I would want to stay permanently with. I didn't even have HR experience but did have PA experience which was transferable. In my situation, from both mine and the employers perspective, the HR assistant role was always a stop-gap. I ended up landing another contract within the company as a Studio Assistant which turned permanent and ended up becoming an Account Manager/ Studio Executive role. 

Q.   How valuable was the experience of temping to you in securing your permanent role?

      It was great for ensuring that the company was a great fit for me and somewhere I wanted to pursue my career and development. 

Q.   What would you say was the biggest advantage you gained or the thing you enjoyed most from temping?

      Getting to network with a variety of companies within London. It helped me narrow down what was important to me and what was less important. I also gained a massive network within the city. 

Q.   What advice would you give to someone who is considering undertaking temporary employment?

      I would say to keep a thick skin and not to let all your hopes fall on one company/role. You can never control what roles are available but this shouldn't discourage you if you are on the hunt for an amazing permanent gig. The right one will fall in place, so while you're temping just enjoy meeting new people and the flexibility that comes with narrowing down what you want out of a career. 

Trisha Roso: EA at Viacom

Q.   You joined your current employer on a temporary contract, can you tell us a little about your experience of temping? 

I love temping. I feel it is a great way to test out a company before you join. You get to expand your network, have new experiences, make new friends and learn new ways of doing things.

Q.   Can you tell us a little about your journey within the company and what role you ultimately secured?

I started as an assistant in a temp cover for someone who was off sick. It was only meant to be 2 weeks, but was extended to almost 5 months. I was brought on to support a very senior member of staff, and it was an invaluable experience. I had never supported someone on his level. I am now an assistant on the Digital Media side of the company. Which is actually more relevant to my previous jobs and experience.

Q.   How valuable was the experience of temping to you in securing your permanent role?

I feel temping was invaluable and crucial for this role. I think it is a way for a company and team to get to know you, and how you operate. I am quite a shy person, and interviewing doesn’t always show me at my best. I was much more at ease as a temp here and was able to really be myself, and I think they liked my sense of humour and upbeat personality (and of course my work ethic!). If it had been a perm role, I do not think I would have come in with such ease and I may not have interviewed well for the role because I would have been so nervous to interview at a company I was so eager to work at!

Q.   What would you say was the biggest advantage you gained or the thing you enjoyed most from temping?

Temping at MTV taught me to go with the flow. I was happy to stay for 5 minutes or 5 months. I think the biggest advantage I gained was the friendships that I made. They were an integral part of me being made permanent when it came down to recommendations for the role.

Q.   What advice would you give to someone who is considering undertaking temporary employment?

I would say it is a great doorway. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, and temping at MTV made me realise what I was looking for. It was a great experience and I feel so incredibly lucky and happy.

 

If you are looking for temporary work yourself, or are in need of some temporary support within your business, please get in touch.

Emma Raywood – Senior Account Manager – Office Support Temporary Division

emma@careermovesgroup.co.uk

0207 758 4320

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