Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The temp worker's guide to finding a mentor.

Being a Temp often feels a lot like being your own boss. You choose when and where you want to work, and at Temp Market, you even choose how much you get paid. As great as it is to be the one in charge of your own career destiny, you might feel like you’re missing out on establishing longstanding connections with people - especially if it’s just a series of admin temp jobs forming each stepping stone on your career trajectory. That, perhaps, you’ll struggle with finding a mentor.

Well, don’t worry – we’ve come up with some mentor-tracking tips just for temps, regardless of your industry. From customer service to warehousing, we’ve got you covered.

1. Approach every temp assignment as a chance to network.

Yes, the word ‘networking’ gets a terrible rap. But if you think about it, being a temp is a huge advantage. Why? Using your series of, say, warehouse temp jobs in the hopes of finding a mentor is the career equivalent of speed dating - in meeting a constant rotation of new people, you’ll have so many more opportunities to scope out a match.

What you need to do is twofold: one, keep your eyes and ears open for potential matches, and two, make a great impression.

Manners (please, thank you), integrity (avoid duplicitous behaviour, backstabbing or gossip), punctuality and accountability (following through on your promises) are four key things to remember. Here’s a look at what not to do, courtesy of Liz Ryan for Forbes.

If you’ve really enjoyed working with a particular manager or colleague, make sure you record their contact details so that you can let them know at the end of your assignment, with a polite follow-up email, of course! (Hint: emailing them now means that if you would like to approach them later, they’ll have a record in their inbox and you won’t just be ‘that customer service temp’.)

2. Look for the personality, not the person.

In this great article on Fastcompany, Entrepreneur Alexa Von Tobel credits her mentors with an ability to tell it like it is.

“If you have a mentor that isn’t the most forward thinking or honest, I think that can be a bad thing. I’ve been very blessed to have had mentors that are incredibly honest and transparent.”

What you don’t want is somebody who’ll tell you you’re great, 100% of the time. You want somebody who’ll be able to give you total, constructive honesty.

3. Take a look at LinkedIn.

Also known as God’s gift to aspiring professionals, LinkedIn presents the perfect opportunity to find potential future contacts. Rather than shooting straight to CEO level, the aim here is to find people that are where you’d like to be in 4-5 years’ time. Research companies you’re interested in, identify job titles that resonate and be prepared to justify or explain your contact. But don’t start reaching out on LinkedIn just yet...

4. Bring something to the party.

While most people appreciate the opportunity to ‘pay it forward,’ don’t expect a series of favours for nothing. Nor should you fall into the trap of believing that you have nothing to offer! At the very least, you have gratitude – and this is not to be undervalued.

If you’ve worked with your potential mentor before, then it’s a straightforward road from here. What was it about working with them that you appreciated? Let them know.

If you’re making cold contact (either via email, or reaching out on LinkedIn) then you’ll have a little more work to do, but it’s not insurmountable. Read their articles, listen to their podcasts. Become their student. And then when a recommendation works, let them know!

Finding a mentor (or mentors) can be hard, but it’s well worth it. And think, with all the extra exposure you’re getting to different environments and conditions being a temp, success could be just around the corner.

Join the free working revolution and start working on your own terms! We’ve got plenty of temp jobs in Auckland for your perusal. Want some help getting started? We’re here: www.tempmarket.co.nz.

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