Businessman with hands in pockets, New York view at night. Enbankment. Double exposure. Concept of work.

It’s a candidate-driven marketplace and the need for technology workers has never been greater. That means there’s a plethora of opportunity out there for top technical talent. With so many jobs available, now is the time to take a chance and explore new opportunities. If you’re in the job market, there’s a good chance you’ve been fielding calls for contract positions; and as this blog has written about in the past, there are many benefits to contract work. So, if you have decided to accept your first contracting opportunity, you may be asking yourself the best ways to succeed. This blog provides tips on how to get off to a great start and make your contract a successful and valuable experience.

Expect to Hit the Ground Running

This may be an obvious expectation but it’s also an important one. For the most part, contracts are written in terms of months, not years. As opposed to full-time positions, employers are looking for consultants who are ready and able, they’re not hiring based on potential (what an employee can bring to the table with additional training and experience). So don’t expect to be treated with kiddie gloves during your first week on the job. Contracts usually arise based off an employer’s immediate need and there’s a reason you were offered the job over the other candidates who interviewed – you were deemed the most qualified. So that means you can expect to roll up your sleeves and get right to work.

Ensure Expectations are Clear

While the expectations for the position should have been laid out during the interview process, it’s always a good idea to confirm with your manager the tasks and projects that you’ll be required to deliver on. By doing so, you’ll be able to outline your own objectives and figure out a game plan for how to tackle your assigned projects. Plus, by taking this initiative, you’ll be expressing a clear desire not to waste any of the client’s time or money.

Meet the Team and Build Good Professional Relationships

During your first few days on the job, be proactive by introducing yourself to your team members. Engage with them and make sure they know who you are and what role you are there to perform. Building these relationships can help you thrive in your position, especially when problems arise and you need to rely on a colleague for help. Also, and as we’ve found, successful contractors will focus on building relationships with other key stakeholders in the company. This way, when additional information is needed in order to complete a task, you’ll know just who to call upon.

Ask Questions

Just because you’re expected to hit the ground running, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, it’s important to ask questions so that you can effectively deliver on the tasks and projects for which you’ve been assigned. If you’re uncertain about an assigned task, or are just searching for clarification, ask! Your manager would much rather you ask than you perform a task incorrectly – resulting in wasted time and money (something they hate).

Request Feedback

After your first week on the job, it’s always a good idea to check in with your manager and ask for some constructive feedback – whether that be positive or negative. Not only will it offer guidance on areas where you may need to improve, or direct you where to refocus your energy, it’ll also show your commitment to succeeding in the position. At the end of the week, it’ll leave your manager no question that they selected the right person for the job.

If you follow our guidance, there’s little doubt that your first week on the job will be deemed a success!

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