A life as an interim

How to prepare for life as an interim

Interims are a useful solution for employers looking to successfully navigate periods of transition or steer their business in a new direction. And for the interim it also has its benefits.

Life as an interim - Hays.nl
Read time: 3 minutes | By: Karen Young - Director Hays UK

Being an interim is particularly well suited to those who take pride in successfully accomplishing a difficult task, whether that task is managing change projects, structuring account processes and systems, assessing risk or managing large transition programmes for businesses.

If such a role sounds appealing, then be sure to prepare properly by following these top tips:

1. Make sure your finances are in order

The biggest deterrent and risk to becoming an interim is not having a guaranteed and stable income.

There may sometimes be periods between jobs where you go without any pay or revenue, and for this reason it’s wise to have some extra cash stowed away. Colleagues and clients that I know usually advise having enough money to subsist you for around four – six months. You need to be mindful of managing your own cash-flow and budget, not just advising on process change for your clients.

If you are seriously considering becoming a career interim then you will need to do your homework carefully around forming a limited company or working through an umbrella company and registering for VAT.

2. Understand your value

The interim industry is becoming increasingly specialised as it expands, so knowing what you’re good at and applying for jobs and projects relevant to that skillset will save you a lot of time. Fully understanding your strengths is especially important when considering the fact that a lot of interims are brought in during transitional phases; crucial periods during which the company is often under extra strain.

You may have one idea of what your unique selling point is, however your peers may have a slightly different view. It always pays to get a second opinion, so don’t be shy about seeking out career advice and direction.

3. Network vigorously

Making the most of professional networking platforms like LinkedIn will really help promote your personal brand. Choose to be a thought leader in your specialist area by joining and participating in as many LinkedIn groups as possible, writing frequent blogs, connecting with new and relevant professionals and refreshing communications with old ones.

There is almost always a position out there for you; it’s just a case of discovering it. Making yourself heard and selling your brand by using the appropriate channels and relevant platforms will help you secure an interim position that much quicker. Giving off the impression that you’re always in demand is also a useful trick to increasing your brand value.

4. Be flexible

To be a successful interim you need to understand that you are signing up for constant change. Change in terms of rate, location, job role, expectation, weekly hours, company culture and so on. I advise that you are willing to compromise on at least some of such issues, as you won’t always be able to have everything on your terms.

Don’t let this put you off however; I routinely hear that this is one of the most thrilling aspects of being an interim. The best route to personal development, career progression and job satisfaction is to develop a wide-ranging skillset and a thick skin that equips you for dealing with all sorts of challenges.

5. Plan ahead

It’s good practice to keep your interim CV constantly updated with tangible results of the projects and programmes that you have worked on. If you aren’t refreshing this working document then it can be easy to forget the finer details later down the line – which will be of no help when you’re trying to prove your worth in future interviews.

A final thought

Becoming an interim is sometimes viewed as a career move often reserved for the risk-takers and mavericks, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Preparing properly for life as an interim by following the above advice will give you a great chance of enjoying all the fantastic benefits enjoyed by interims around the world.

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