If you have a part-time or freelance job you wish was full-time, you are not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, 9.2% of part-time workers want full-time work. Among Americans age 18 to 29 that figure jumps to 15.7%.
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But with the economy the way it is, many companies are downgrading a lot of their positions to part-time status - if not eliminating them completely. So how can you increase your chances of moving up to the full-time level? We'll look at some tactics that might help.
Sum Up Your Track Record
If you can compile a bunch of impressive stats related to your performance, that can help you make your case.
"The beauty is that if you are already working part-time there, you can build that credibility and track your impact," says Joanne Dennison, owner of The Guidance Counselor for Grown-Ups, a New York City company that does workplace training and coaching for companies and professionals. "Then when you propose going full time you can prove that it will have a positive impact on the company bottom line."
Be Willing to Learn New Skills
The full-time version of your job may require added responsibilities and additional skills, and the boss needs to know you'll broaden your skill set without complaint. This is especially true if your resume or background is thin in certain areas. (For more on bulking up your resume, check out Flip This Resume.)
"You need to show and articulate an ability to learn whatever needs to be learned to fill in any gaps in your knowledge or expertise that the employer may bring up," says Rebecca "Kiki" Weingarten, president of DLC Executive Coaching and Consulting.
Emphasize Your In-House Experience
As someone who is already familiar with the job and the workplace, you eliminate the time and expense involved in a training period.
"You can hit the ground running, with no learning curve and no wasted productivity," says Jim Joseph, president of Lippe Taylor and author of The Experience Effect. "For the employer, it's like getting a senior person without having to hire a more senior person."
Outdo the Competition
"Aim to out-perform full-time employees who are doing the same or similar jobs as you," says Tim Schoonover, chairman of OI Partners, a global talent management firm. "Learn the criteria that are used to evaluate performance and strive to hit a home run."
Act (and Look) the Part
You need to make an extra effort to appear professional.
"You need to treat your assignment like it's a really long interview," says Diane L. Samuels, president of LiveYourPlanA.com. "Dress for the part, or maybe a little better than the part. Show up a little early every day. Be accessible. Don't slack off once you've been there for a while, you can't afford to get too comfortable - you're still an interviewee."
Make Critical Connections
Even a part-timer or freelancer can establish important company contacts. (For more, see 4 Career Networking Tips That Work.)
"Network like crazy, without becoming an annoying stalker type," advises Samuels. "If you aren't working in an area of interest to you, you need to get yourself or your work in front of the people who make hiring decisions in your area of interest."
Offer the Employee a No-Risk Trial
You might need to put in some of your own time, but Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, says that investment can often pay off big.
"Volunteer to work the extra hours for free for two weeks," Siebold suggests. "Outwork your coworkers during this time and let your boss/manager see just how productive you are and why hiring you full time would be a good decision." Another option: "Offer to do some extra work on a commission basis. This way the company is only shelling out money if it works out."
The Bottom Line
Employers are very choosy about who gets full-time positions these days, but by making yourself stand out in a good way, you can increase your odds of landing one of those opportunities. (For related reading, take a look at Freelance Careers: Look Before You Leap.)
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