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Making your first 30 days count on a contract job

Jake Weaver recently joined our team here at Stratacon, working with contractors in the commercial construction and fit out sector. Now into his second month, he has some great tips to help short-term contractors make an impression on a new project.

Jake first published this article on LinkedIn and you can connect with him here.


I’m into my second month in a new role. Like anyone starting a new job, there’s a level of short-term discomfort during this time, but as a recruiter I’ve benefited from being pushed outside my comfort zone and into the position my contractors find themselves in regularly.


Statistics show it can take anywhere between 90 and 100 days for a new employee to complete compliance tasks, get a good feel for the company’s culture, receive sufficient job-specific training, adjust to new technologies, and make an informed decision about whether the company and role are a good fit.

I’ve been fortunate enough to join a team who make my success a priority by providing me with the tools and learning resources to equip me in the long term. But as a new contractor who might only be on a project for a short period of time, how do hit the ground running and make an impact?

Here’s my tips for making your first 30 days count.


Get to know the culture

No matter how much experience you have in your field or industry, you’re the new kid on the block when you start a new job. Your only goal outside of any set tasks in the first 30 days should be to observe and learn.

Get to know your new work colleagues on a personal and professional level to understand the lay of the land by making the effort to have lunch/beer/coffee with someone new every few days. You’ll get to know the nuances of how things work much more quickly this way, and you’ll foster important relationships too.


Ask questions

Lots of them. Not only will you learn the ropes more quickly, but your intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm will be highly regarded.


Get clarity on the organisational chart

If you aren’t presented with an organisational chart on your first day, start mapping one out (and present it back to management as a suggested onboarding resource) with the interpersonal reporting and support relationships that are relevant to your team. Make notes on the roles and interdependencies between functional teams and you’ll get a good sense for who is most important for you to meet with, how decisions flow, and how your work affects the overall goals of the organisation.


Have regular check ins

Regularly sit down with your manager to talk about the status of the projects assigned to you and ask any lingering questions. This is a great opportunity to get some early feedback on what you’re doing right, what needs to be done better and what else you require to be of the greatest benefit to the team.

If you’re a Project Manager or have others reporting to you, be sure to check in with them too.


Whether it’s a four week or 12-month contract, the importance of your first 30 days are crucial to your overall performance on a project and how easily you move onto the next. Make the most of it with clear communication internally, as well as with your recruiter who will be checking in for compliance purposes. Feedback for us during this time is just as valuable to be able to help you move to the next contract, smoothly.


Are you a contractor or looking for short-term projects in commercial construction? Get in touch with Jake for a confidential chat and how he can help.

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