Success Stories: I Went From Temporary Worker to Full-Time Hire

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Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer

tempIn today's economy, finding full-time work is not easy. As a result, many job seekers are working part-time and temporary positions, hoping to get hired full time.

Not knowing what she wanted to do after graduating from the University of Delaware with a degree in business administration, Carly Rodgers, 24, decided to pursue her love of horses and take a job with a horse trainer. After a few months, she decided she wanted more than "life in the barn," so she used the job market to her advantage.

"I figured that many companies were laying off workers because they could not afford them, and this meant they were probably short on hands. I decided that I would offer to work for free, in an internship-type position, so that I could get some experience and add to my résumé," she says. "I knew I wanted to get into Internet marketing, so I contacted many different companies to see if they would be interested in my help. I was connected to an Internet marketing company and started working for free in April. I worked for free for three months, worked as a paid intern for another month, and was offered a full-time job a month later. I feel really good about where I am now, and would recommend this to anyone out of school looking for more experience."


A new trend

In 2008, more than 38,600 temporary workers were hired by clients, according to data from Kelly Services, a company that offers temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing and consulting services. In addition, from October 2008 to September 2009, more than 21,000 employees were hired by Kelly clients.

"For an individual searching for a full-time position, one of the most difficult challenges is getting a foot in the door with a prospective employer," says Jocelyn Lincoln, senior director of marketing for the Americas region at Kelly Services. "Many individuals find that working with a company, such as Kelly Services, helps them connect with the companies where many of these jobs exist. Research shows that many individuals chose temporary employment primarily as a method of full-time job search."

Although working temporarily doesn't come with a full-time employment guarantee, there are plenty of benefits, such as availability of jobs, convenience, access to top companies and an expedited job search, Lincoln says.

"Individuals like the flexibility and valuable work experience because they can select their work schedule and choose among a variety of challenging assignments," she says. "Working through Kelly not only helps people find work, they help start and advance careers. For those entering the work force, returning to the work force or advancing in their career, Kelly can assist in finding positions that match their skills, ambitions and work preferences."


Success stories

If you're interested in turning a temporary position into a full-time hire, read the following success stories for inspiration:

"Back around the year 2000, I had just moved to the Boston area and was temping to earn a living. Unfortunately, there were very few temp jobs to be had. In a bit of desperation, I took a job that was about an hour a day where I simply went into the office, watered the plants and read the boss his e-mails over the phone for a week while he was out of town. When he returned, he found a few other things for me to do. I moved up to about three hours a day of general assistant work but it was still on an 'as needed' basis. After a couple of months, my hours were gradually increasing. After about a year, we decided to make me an official employee and he gave me a raise so that I would be earning what he was paying the temp agency for me. I was the first employee of the company (besides the owner). My hours and responsibilities kept increasing and by the time I was there for about two years, I was working a solid 35 hours a week. It wasn't a career I had planned, but I ended up being integral to the growth of the company and was there for a total of about five years. I only left because I moved to the West Coast to get married and be near my family. I must have watered those plants really well!" - Alex Remon, president, MegaMouth Productions

"I freelanced for the two weeks before Christmas and then got hired on Dec. 31, 2009, to start in 2010. I was so thrilled. It worked out great for both of us as I was able to see if I liked the place and they were able to get to know me. It was a win-win [situation] for all and now I have a great job at an amazing PR agency. I couldn't be [happier.]" -- Holly Jespersen, account director, Creative Media Marketing

"I have recently hired three people temporarily with the goal of bringing them full time when sales pick up. For employers, it is the perfect time to snap up talent at a bargain price. When we launch our full line at the Surfaces trade show next month, I hope to bring all three to full time." - M.H. Hanley, vice president of marketing and strategy, TMP/The Tile Doctor

"I started working at FatWallet.com in June 2009, taking someone's position during maternity leave. It was a really great opportunity and an awesome company to work for, so I took the temp position. I have always been self-employed and did contract work so I could work on projects from home and be with [my] kids. The girl on maternity leave came back and they still had me finish a project. Then it came the time where they would hire or let temporary people go, and they offered me a full-time position. I was surprised and torn because as a mother of young kids, I didn't know what to do. I took the job ... it is also such a great company that I didn't want to lose [the] opportunity." -- Laura Smith, marketing and administration, FatWallet.com

"In April 2009, I found myself laid off from my first job in the industry after graduating college. I [found a position] advertised as a temporary, part-time position beginning in mid-October through the end of the year (2009) with the opportunity to possibly come on full-time after. But I knew I had to take the chance. After a successful interview, I was hired and started the following week. I learned a lot working as a part-time employee and was entrusted with a lot of responsibility. I was excited as the end of the year approached with the thought of possibly being made an offer to join full-time. A few days after returning [from a trip to Texas with one of the clients I work with], one of my supervisors called me into his office and handed me an offer letter. I would start my full-time in January [2010]. The transition to full time was easy because I already knew the staff and had developed good working relationships with many of them. I knew my way around and did not feel like a new employee, even though technically I was. There is still a lot to be learned as I have more new tasks to work on now, so in that sense I feel a little like a new employee, asking lots of questions. But, the staff has made me feel welcome as a full-time employee and continues to stop by my office to congratulate me and see if I am getting settled in my new home." -- Lauren Mangnall, program coordinator, Drake & Co.


Next: Going from Temp to Perm: A True Story of Getting Hired >>

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