Start Strong: Set Yourself Up for Success in Your First Week as a Contractor 

Start Strong: Set Yourself Up for Success in Your First Week as a Contractor 

You just received your first onboarding email? Congratulations! Welcome to the team! 

If you’re feeling nervous for your first day as a contractor, know that it’s okay to feel unsure. It is alright to feel a little anxious, especially if you’re new to the position. To lessen your first-day jitters, let’s try to understand your role and your job description better.  

What Is a Contractor and What Do They Do? 

As a contract employee, you play a valuable role in the company for the duration of your contract. While your employment may be for a specific period of time, your contributions and hard work are essential to the success of the organization. At the end of your contract, you may even be offered a permanent position due to the valuable skills and experience you have gained. 1 

A famous misconception in any field is that a contractor is lower than “regular” employees since they do not have the permanent position everyone else has. This misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

Just like other employees, contractors are hired based on a set of criteria. They are also judged based on their knowledge, skills, and expertise related to the position.  

Contracting creates the opportunity to meet a variety of people in different fields in a short amount of time. Employees who work in a traditional nine-to-five or long-term position do not get this same opportunity as they often meet and work around the same coworkers in the same department for years. 

How to make your first week successful 

Now that you are fully knowledgeable about your position, it’s time to get ready for work. Instead of feeling nervous or scared. Try to breathe, relax, and read the following tips and reminders for you to consider the moment you start at the office! 

1. Adopt the right mindset. 

According to Forbes, mindset is what determines the success of an employee or how you perceive yourself and your surroundings. It consists of your beliefs about your work and the responsibilities that come with it.2 

The way that you think can greatly affect your behavior and attitude inside the office. If you have a positive mindset, it will manifest in the quality of your work. 

The biggest mistake contractors commit is focusing on the fact that their position is only temporary. Since some assume that they will be gone after the contract date, they tend to do just the bare minimum. Some even test their employers’ limits by being late or by being careless and disinterested. 

To be successful in your career, you can view contract work as a networking opportunity and a door to your dream job!  

In this way, you are open and willing to do the work assigned to you to the best of your abilities. Fully commit yourself to your work.  

2. Learn, learn, and learn. 

Even though you need to perform your best, that doesn’t mean you have to show off to your colleagues. You do not need to finish all your weekly workload in a day. Instead, you should learn to pace yourself as an individual who is still learning. 

You need to be open to taking in new things and new ways of accomplishing your tasks.  


Learn about the job.  

Familiarize yourself with all of the responsibilities assigned to you. Figure out what skills you need to fully execute your work well. If you need to brush up on a few terms or topics related to your work, do so with confidence. Take the time to learn and adjust to the workload. 

Learn about the company.  

Get to know the organization that welcomed you. As an employee, it is never enough to know only the name of the company and the CEO. If you haven’t already, do more research into the values the organization upholds.  

Try to know what goals the company has.  

      • Do they have any long-term plans?  
      • Do they have any non-negotiables when it comes to their employees?  
      • Is there anything you should learn or prioritize? 

Learn about your environment.  

Take time to meet the people working around you. Observe how people move and interact throughout the whole day.  

      • Are there groups of people going out for lunch together?  
      • Do they value honesty and leave their belongings around their area? 
      • Do they love to order food or spend their time enjoying each other’s company? 

Learn about yourself.  

At the end of the day, the question remains to be “Will I prosper here? Is this the place I want to stay?” 

To uncover answers to these questions, commit yourself fully to your work and take the time to reflect. Before each day ends, check in with yourself to know what you learned from observing and experiencing a normal day at work.  

3. Be open to building connections. 

As a new employee, you need to be comfortable working with unfamiliar people. The best way to do this is to communicate and take part in the company’s community. Since you’ve already learned about the environment within the company, it’s time to join in. Be open to lunch invitations or visits from people who want to get to know you.  

Connections are important in any industry. Think of your workmates not simply as people who work with you but rather as people who can make your work experience more interesting. In turn, they can help you get accustomed to the company, or you can ask for help when you need it. 

4. Look and act the part.  

Being a professional not only means putting in the effort in your work but also in your appearance and the way you interact with everyone around you. Professionality is an important attribute you must have as an employee.  

  • Choose outfits that show the best of your personality as long as it adheres to the rules of the company.  
  • Finish your assigned responsibilities and duties on time.  
  • Be professional in every action and interaction you have within the office. 

5. Take the initiative. 

The worst thing a contractor—or any employee—can do is the bare minimum. For you to show your enthusiasm and skills, you need to take the initiative. Initiative, according to Indeed, is your ability to assess the situation and take action accordingly.3 What exactly can you do? 


Be proactive.  

Use your knowledge and anticipate work that may be assigned to you and do it immediately. For example, you saw that the program you are editing is labeled wrong in your company folder. Instead of waiting for someone to ask you to correct it, do it on your own. 

Voice your ideas respectfully.  

Imagine you are in a meeting and your co-workers are trying to find a solution to a problem. Although the issue is outside of your work title, you still share your knowledge and ideas to help. 

Anticipate questions.  

When preparing reports, try to anticipate any misunderstandings or queries that may be given and incorporate them into the presentation. This not only saves time but also shows you’re critical and forward-thinking. 


We at Focus People can aid you in putting your best foot forward! Whether it is a temporary or a permanent job, we can help in making a strong and valuable connection. Contact us now to further improve your career journey!  


  1. Indeed Editorial Team. “Everything You Need to Know About Tempt-to-Hire Jobs (With Definitions and Tips)” Indeed, 17 Feb, 2023. 
  2. Castrillion, Caroline. “Why A Growth Mindset is Essential for Career Success.” Forbes, 9 July 2019. 
  3. Indeed Editorial Team. “9 Ways To Take Initiative at Work” Indeed, 4 Feb. 2023.,to%20help%20the%20company%20improve

For employers

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.