They may not be glamorous, they probably won’t be easy, and they might not pay very well, but temp jobs can–and do–lead to successful careers in rewarding fields of work. Just ask Todd Cherches, CEO and cofounder of BigBlueGumball, a New York City–based career consulting, training, and coaching firm:
After graduating from college, I got into the temp pool at Walt Disney Studios in LA. After a series of eight different weeklong temp jobs, the last one led to an amazing full-time assistant-level job in comedy development working for a writer/producer.
Just because you’re not on the permanent payroll doesn’t mean you can’t reap big benefits from a summer temp gig. You just have to put in the effort and treat your temporary job like it’s the dream job you’re hoping for.
We asked career experts how you should maximize those long hours spent indoors at the office and out of the summer sun. Don’t let the calendar hit September without doing these three things at your summer temp job.
For many students, temp jobs are a stepping stone to full-time work. Yet too many temp employees don’t tell their employers they want to be brought on full-time. Your boss isn’t just going to assume you want a full-time job. So naturally, this puts the company in a position where it has to seek outside applicants.
But if you show clear interest–with the right people at the right time–it will greatly increase your chances of changing your job status from “temp” to “perm.”
“If you like the company, find out what their forecast for hiring new grads is,” says Donna Svei, executive resume writer and interview coach. “Ask someone in HR if they will explain the company’s hiring process to you. Ask for an introduction to your most likely hiring manager(s) and express your interest in continuing to work for the company or in coming back after your graduate.”
Don’t let summer slip by without expanding your professional network. This is probably one of your best opportunities when it comes to summer temping–to make connections with people who will be able to help you get hired full-time.
“By summer’s end, you should have gathered the experience necessary to become attractive for a full-time position, if not the actual position itself,” says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “You should be armed with a new set of skills and the blueprints of a professional network with individuals who are currently working in their field of interest–that’s probably the most invaluable thing to have.”
Even if you don’t get offered a full-time job by your manager, you never know what job they’ll have in the future. “Managers change jobs all the time, and they might need to build a team, or they may have friends or relatives looking for help,” reminds Cyril Hill, founder of writing and career information site Source Resume.
“By the end of the summer you should have completed a project that people can remember you by,” says Mia Hall, a career transition consultant based in New York. Show them you’ve got the kind of hard-to-find skills employers are looking for from new grads.
Executing a project is a great way to pad your resume, and this type of work will give you a great talking point when it comes to your next job interview. Maybe it’s a video production, or a building development, or a website. Whatever it is, having something to point to and being able to explain your involvement is key.
This article originally appeared on Monster and is reprinted with permission.