How to end a contract job with your bridges intact

After graduation, we all want to be settled into top-notch marketing jobs, well on our way to becoming the company’s next creative director. In an ideal life, this would include disposable income, paid vacation days and a career-building job that we love. However, even though that’s possible, the reality is that the path to our dream jobs isn’t always so smooth. You may end up in several short-term contract jobs instead of a permanent, full-time position.

Contract work isn’t all bad though; it can be a great way to boost your résumé and get the hands-on experience you need to break into your industry. However, most people who’ve worked a contract job know that it doesn’t always lead to a callback or landing full-time employment. If you know your contract job is coming to an end and you’d like to improve your chances of being asked to work with the company again, there are a few things you can do before and after to make your exit a memorable one.

Be courteous and professional

End your contract job courteous and professional

Make it a point to thank everyone you worked with — and I’m not just talking about your Creative Director. Take the time to thank those who worked beside you, those you may have directed, and even the receptionist. Ending a contract job on a positive note demonstrates that you’re professional, respectful and a team player. This way you’ll be remembered as a likeable, professional person who was also easy to work with. So if anything comes up, you’re bound to make the list of people they’d want to re-hire.

Stay connected

Social networking

According to Forbes, losing touch with colleagues from a previous job, whether it was a part-time, full-time or a contract job is the last thing you should do if you’re serious about your career.

You would have loved to sign a contract with the agency you were contracted at for a year, but they weren’t hiring. A year later, a former colleague contacts you with the news that now, they’re looking, and you’d be perfect for the position. Remember that nobody can vouch for your background, skills, qualities and performance like your former colleagues. That’s why there’s no harm in connecting via social media for friendship with a few people that you worked with… and for potential networking opportunities. If you made a good impression on a former co-worker, he or she might be more inclined to connect you to a friend in an organization that’s hiring – or remind your old boss to re-hire.

Even if the employer can’t offer you a job (at the moment), it’s advisable to keep in touch and keep them interested in you. Drop them a quick email, give them a shout on social media, or ask to meet up for coffee. This way you can let them know what you’re up to, or ask them to keep you updated about future contract job or full-time opportunities. Nicely, of course — the last thing you want to seem is desperate (even if you are).

Have a secret superpower

Have a secret superpower

Depending on what you’ve been up to in a contract job, maybe you have a few skills that weren’t utilized and can be dusted off. Try reaching out to supervisors in other departments to see if you could lend a hand there. For example, you might be an art director who’s also got a knack for copywriting; or you’re a PPC person who also has a way with numbers. It might very well be that your hidden skill set could satisfy a particular departmental need. Keep in mind that this might mean working in a position that wasn’t necessarily your first choice, but it will allow you to use your talents to get another shot at a company you enjoyed working for.

In conclusion

Leaving your job with poise and etiquette or finding a new place within the current company can open up opportunities for you in the future. If you remove emotion from the equation, be objective and honest with yourself, then you are on the path to a successful transition.