ID Contract Work: Go from Freelance to Hired!

ID Contract Work: Go from Freelance to Hired!

A recent ID post from a Reddit member asked about getting hired full-time after starting out as a contract employee. While many IDs are interested in landing freelance work in addition to a full-time job, the opposite question is also a relevant one. Check out these takeaways, applicable to both freelance and full-time ID work.

(Note: I've edited the original post for brevity and privacy)

Hello all, I recently landed a one-year instructional design (entry-level) contract. I'm one month into the job. It's a great company, but once 12 months is up, my staffing agency requires me to wait 6 months before re-applying to work with the client again. Here are my questions:

  1. Am I allowed to ask the client if there's an opportunity to become a full-time employee? What's the process like? Anyone with a similar experience?
  2. My role allows me to work with upper management people from many different teams. Is this a good thing?

Absolutely ask! Here are some action items to put you on the right path:

  1. Request monthly/quarterly check-ins. Get regular feedback on your performance from the client (whomever manages your work). Be sure to express how much you enjoy working there (be professional; don't gush!).
  2. Record milestones. Keep diligent notes about the projects you complete and the problems/challenges you've solved for the company. What's been the feedback on your work from learners? Have you done post-project evaluations? What else does your client need? How can you help with those needs? 
  3. Add value every day. Be on your A-game. Ask questions. Network. Find a mentor. Get to know people...without being pushy and obnoxious.
  4. Save kudos. Keep any positive emails, thank you notes, and kudos from the client (especially upper management from different teams - and yes, this is a good thing!) as evidence you are doing good work. 
  5. Plan ahead. Don't wait until the contract ends to formally discuss full-time work. Begin the conversation after you've been there 4-6 months and have evidence that the company is pleased with your work.
  6. Keep your options open. The staffing agency may not extend the contract, but the employer might be willing to hire you on a contract basis and then as a full-time employee. In my experience, if a company wants to hire a contingent worker, they will make it happen.

Remember, you're getting experience to put on your resume and projects for your portfolio, regardless of the outcome of this 12-month contract. Experience matters, as does the ability to talk about your work. Be ready to discuss how you analyzed, designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated each project.

As for full-time IDs looking for ID freelance work on the side, the same six principles apply. Every meeting, every project, and every interaction reflects on your professional reputation and can enhance your ability to land your next best ID job, whether it's full-time, part-time, or freelance!

What other thoughts do you have? I'd love to hear them! Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments below. I'll repy to each and every one of them!

Stay positive,

Dr. McNeill

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