When you find work that is satisfying, you want to keep doing it. But your contract will end soon, so you may be wondering: how do I politely ask whether my contract will be extended?
It can be challenging working under contract. More than 16 million Americans are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of those work under contract, so competition can be fierce.
First, you need to properly prepare for the conversation. It is a good idea to gather relevant information about the work you have done. Plan for questions you could be asked. Perhaps most importantly, know what you want before you ask what the future holds.
You should approach this conversation as an opportunity to show your professionalism and value. It is normal to be nervous, but doing your homework and preparing will help reduce your anxiety.
Consider these tips as you plan that important conversation about a contract extension.
Review your current contract
The first step you should take is to review your current employment contract. Like the musician Lauren Jauregui says, “Read your contracts, up and down, and left and right.”
Read through all of the terms to familiarize yourself with the expectations listed. You want to make sure that you delivered on all of the items included in the contract’s scope of work.
If there were issues along the way, note any complications that you experienced. Collect all relevant correspondence related to those issues. Read through these closely so that you understand how you handled the issues and how the company responded.
Your contract review also serves another purpose. You want to identify what worked and what didn’t in that contract, so you can propose changes in the next one. Are there conditions that need adjusting in the contract?
You may also find that a broader scope of work is needed in a future contract. This could help cover unanticipated issues in the current contract or expand your work into new areas.
Focus on key contract areas
You want to show extensive knowledge of your contract when you discuss future work. There are several important areas that you should review to make that move into a new contract. You want to negotiate the best contract possible.
Here are some key contract points you should thoroughly review.
- Duties: Look carefully at how your current contract characterizes your duties. Did those increase or decrease during your contract work? Consider whether you believe your role can be expanded. Do you have special skills that justify narrowing your scope of work to an area of expertise?
- Terms: Some contracts do not include realistic terms based on the work expected. Some terms can be too short to complete the work and others to long to justify an ongoing contract. Identify any problems you saw related to the deadline terms. Consider proposing changes that are more realistic in a new contract. Your experience and reputation working with the company gives you a familiar voice.
- Deliverables: As noted above, make sure you refresh your memory on your current contract’s deliverables. Are they tied to reasonable objectives? You want to be able to answer any questions about problems with any itemized deliverables or objectives. You also should consider how new deliverables will serve the company’s ongoing objectives.
- Compensation: Before you ask about a contract extension, be prepared to discuss your compensation expectations. You have proven your worth in the current contract, so consider how to build on that success. Maybe pay is not as important to you as other benefits, such as vacaction time or even a per diem allowance.
- Responsibilities: It is not unusual for responsibilitiies to change as you work under contract. Know how your current responsibilities relate to what is outlined in the contract. Be prepared to offer recommended changes to accurately reflect the actual work performed.
Set up a meeting with the boss
Once you have completed a thorough review of the current contract, it is time to schedule that meeting. You have to keep in mind your question: How do I politely ask whether my contract will be extended?
Request a meeting with your manager. When you do, be clear that you want to discuss the possibility of extending your contact. When you schedule a meeting in advance, you will give your manager time to prepare.
How do I politely ask whether my contract will be extended?
When it is time to meet, first thank your manager for the opportunity to work on the contract. Tell them how you benefitted from the experience and how you learned from it. Be sincere in this discussion so there is no risk that you will be perceived as pandering.
Think about what you like about the job and how this reflects well on the company. Point out key relationships that you developed with colleagues and how you help each other. Identify a couple of things you learned in the position and how that adds value to the company.
Also, you should thank your manager for specific instances when they offered guidance and support. Let them know you appreciate their guidance.
List your accomplishments on the job
This is no time to be humble, but it is also no time to exaggerate. It is important to detail your accomplishments in the position. This helps remind your manager of your successes when they may have trouble keeping up with the work of others they manage.
This is a good time to underscore ways you went above and beyond what the contract required. Show that you are a valuable member of the team.
Explain what you have to offer
This meeting is a great time to show what else you have to offer. It also is a good time to show how well you understand the company’s needs and how you can meet them. Identify several reasonable goals that can be achieved and explain how you will.
Your manager may already have a note to ask why you believe the contract should be extended. Answering the question before it is asked shows you have thought about this carefully. You are also helping your manager answer his boss’ question about why the contact should be extended.
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