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Darth Tater, IT contractor, and his manager on his first day of an assignment

Growing your career while contracting

How Darth Tater nailed his assignment and advanced his career

July 13, 2017

By Lisa Dare

Listen, I know onboarding and development—what happens after you’re placed—is a boring topic. It’s also important for your career. So to make this article go down a bit smoother, we've resurrected our old friend, Darth Tater.

Think of Darth like your favorite work buddy. He laughs at Tales from Tech Support (even though he’s no longer on the helpdesk), is fond of programming memes and likes to complain about Stack Overflow’s moderators.

Darth just got placed on a new assignment and wants to know how to optimize the experience and what career growth he can get out of it. He loves the variety of contracting, but hates his first day on the job. And it really bums him out when the full-time staff all head to a conference he’s not invited to.

But this time he’s working with us and thinks he can still get career development opportunities—not to mention a good first day of work—while enjoying the benefits of consulting.  

Succeeding in an assignment

Before Darth starts his job, his recruiter will arm him with as much customer intel as possible, including information about the team dynamics, supervisor and projects. Darth can start strong by brushing up on the employer’s industry and any tech he hasn’t used in awhile. The team uses a Scrum workflow so Darth reads up on the method.

On Darth’s first day, his recruiter will walk him in to the assignment to introduce him to his team and other TEKsystems consultants onsite. Darth can take advantage of this preparation to build a network that will help him succeed in the assignment and after.

Darth Tater at a Kanban board

Darth's team uses an Agile approach to project management

Feedback: How to get it

Think back to yourself in your first professional job. Sure, your haircut and wardrobe choices were questionable, but more notably, you probably lacked the people skills and professionalism you have now. It’s likely you’ve improved your ability to deal with difficult people, manage projects and generally navigate challenging situations. (Darth still has a Dark Side but he’s learned to keep it under wraps in the office). Feedback aided some of that personal and professional growth.  

Unfortunately, contractors often miss out on the benefits of performance feedback. Onsite managers don’t always know exactly how what contractors expect or their role in providing it. In Darth’s case, they’re just a little scared of the light saber. To counteract this imbalance, our account managers and recruiters have teamed up to become more intentional in soliciting the feedback you need and delivering it to you.

Darth Tater's boss

Darth Tater with his boss

Feedback from your boss helps you do better in your current role and in your career. If you’re not getting enough and don’t have a Yoda in your life, hold your recruiter accountable. It’s their job to ask the hard questions of your manager.

Training to develop your career

Thinking about learning a new coding language, studying for a certification or transitioning into cloud management? We can help. Through TEKsystems’ partnership with Skillsoft, consultants have access to highly credible online courses in a range of IT and business topics – over 3,000 of them! In fact, Darth is online studying for his CISSP right now.

Darth Tater gets performance feedback from his recruiter

Darth receiving performance feedback from his recruiter

Hiring managers have repeatedly told us that certifications plus experience gets your resume to the top of the pile. Many of the Skillsoft courses offer certification-track programs and accredited courses for continuing education credits. Learn more about our free training offerings

Related: Nervous during interviews? 3 ways recruiters prepare you to shine 


Read the article: Minimizing employment gaps for contractors

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