THE BLOG
01/19/2016 04:18 pm ET Updated Jan 19, 2017

Ask the Etiquette Expert: Making the Most of a Temporary Job Position

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Dear Diane,

I will be starting temp work next week to bring in some supplemental income as I continue my job search. Do you have any pointers regarding how to approach this phase of my professional career?

Whether you are between jobs or just starting out, a temporary position can do far more than just help you stay financially afloat as you pursue your desired role. Short-term employment is a great way to fine tune your skills and explore fresh opportunities. It may even serve as a pathway into full-time employment.

Temping offers several advantages: not only are you earning a paycheck, but you are also gaining work experience and exposure to numerous companies, all while meeting hiring managers. It provides an insider's look into a variety of businesses and the possible discovery of career paths and industries you may not have originally considered.

Here are five tips to make the most of your current assignment:

1. Maintain a positive attitude.
Instead of looking at it as a short-term, dead-end gig, view it as an extended interview where you are able to learn more about a prospective employer while highlighting skills you bring to the table. Appreciate all of the benefits of this arrangement: you are now on the inside of a company that is obviously growing or understaffed, so the likelihood of them hiring more people in the near future is high.

2. Bring your "A" game.
Show a prospective employer why you are an excellent addition to their team as you perform at your best, whatever the task. Arrive on time, listen intently, be enthusiastic and let your interpersonal skills shine. Even if you are responsible for making copies, do it to the best of your ability. When you earn their trust by successfully handling smaller tasks, they are likely to hand you more challenging projects. After completing your duties, proactively seek out new opportunities to be helpful. Some employers have been known to create positions for interim workers who made a strong impression.

3. Research.
Use this chance to learn everything you can about the particular business and industry. Try the corporate culture on for size and determine if it is a field you would like to pursue. Is it too formal, too casual or just right? You will walk away with a clearer picture of what kind of environment you thrive in professionally. You may even discover the flexible nature of temping is a path that fits your lifestyle and goals.

4. Share ideas.
You are coming to the business as an outsider with a fresh perspective. If you have completed similar tasks in another setting and can identify ways to improve efficiency or otherwise aid your boss, contributing new ideas can help show why you're an asset to the company. Wait until you are in the position long enough to have an understanding of the department's procedures. Avoid critiquing how the staff currently operates; this is a tactic that can only backfire on you. But if you truly have a good idea, offer it: "Have you ever considered this approach? At my previous job we adopted this method and noticed a huge payoff."

5. Network.
Whether you are there a day, a week or a month, your temporary position allows you to meet people and develop new contacts. If you are actively engaged in a job search, order business cards and leave them with those who are able to refer you to others. Of course, the best way to sell yourself is with exceptional work. Aim to leave with a glowing reference from your supervisor.

You may also find Diane's A Productive Morning Begins the Night Before helpful. Visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.