06 Oct 5 Ways to Start Your New Contract Position Right
The first few days and weeks on a job are intense. There’s a new tech stack to navigate, new team members to meet, a new hierarchy and set of team dynamics, and a serious case of information overload. The launchpad for a contract position and the need to show immediate results can be even more intimidating. Taking culture cues and making an effort to be part of the team dynamic are critical to building meaningful business connections and first impressions.
As a contractor and not a permanent team member it can be tough to decide how much to invest in team relations and working dynamics when you aren’t planning on being at the employer long-term. You also don’t want to isolate yourself or limit future opportunities with the company.
Knocking out some fast wins will impress your client and help you make a positive impact early in your contract assignment. Here are five simple ways you can start your contract position right:
1. Represent your experience honestly.
When you are applying for positions and tweaking the keywords on your resume, don’t overinflate or misrepresent your skills. It’s great to have confidence and brace yourself to learn, but key to be honest. Hiring managers list specific qualifications, skills, and software proficiencies for a reason. Apply only for the opportunities that you are fully qualified for so you can start your new contract position right and meet or exceed expectations. Applying only for positions that align with your robust and unique skills and experience is critical, so, please, fight the temptation to mass apply.
2. Communicate for clarity on project expectations.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and circle back for specifics to gain greater clarity on project expectations and requirements. A good manager will appreciate your thorough approach, and it leaves little room for you to fall short of business goals.
3. Write it down.
Whether you’re writing it out or typing, taking notes during interviews, onboarding sessions, and project updates—take notes. Keeping an active record of company and project requirements will help you navigate getting to know team members and their names and job functions. Observe the little details too—what’s the tone in the meetings? Are they formal or informal? Is it a camera-on or camera-off kind of vibe and if it’s on, what do team members wear? Is the company hierarchy pronounced? Listening to culture cues while bringing your authentic self to work can help you feel like part of the team instead of an individual contributor.
4. Set clear goals.
It’s critical to have clarity in your role and what meaningful milestones look like even early in the contract. Ask your manager for a clear set of goals with a 30 or 90-day plan when you start your new contract position. Or, you can proactively bring a plan to your manager and then the broader team to share your plans for the next month or three and ensure it aligns with their expectations. Make sure you are getting firm confirmation on what their expectations are for your first few months.
5. Stay in front of team members and your manager.
It’s important to engage with team members and your managers on a regular basis to check in on project progress. Schedule regular Zoom sessions and make sure you are finding new ways to help your manager and broader team outside of the basic project scope if you want to create more stickiness for future opportunities at the employer and its partners.
We can help you land and start your contract role right.
At Staffing Strong, we regularly place standout talent in contract and full-time positions. Our talent specialists take the time to get to know your career goals and what makes your skillset unique. Let’s talk! Submit your resume today.
Meet the Author
Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!