TEMP POSITION TRANSITION: Contract work and temporary employment are on the rise as the economy improves, especially for companies that need to meet increased demand but are hesitant to commit to permanent employees and higher benefit costs.

Working a temp job can be a great opportunity to keep skills current and make new networking contracts while continuing to look for permanent employment. But those seeking to turn these positions into full-time jobs need to be cautious, says Tim Schoonover, chairman of career consulting firm OI Partners.
“There are often no guarantees and no promises that they will be hired full-time, even if suitable openings arise,” Schoonover said.  “The downside of contract work is there is the possibility that it can detract from a regular job search and create false hope about a full-time job.”

OI Partners offers this advice for making the most out of your short-time position and potentially making a smooth transition into permanent work:

• Ask up front if you can apply for full-time openings that arise during your contract period.

• Aim to out-perform full-time employees who are doing the same or similar jobs as you.

• Be positive and upbeat about your commitment to the company, and act as if you already are a full-time employee during your contract period.

“Don't go around the workplace thinking of yourself as ‘only a contractor,’ and never display a negative attitude,” said Schoonover.

• Understand the reason for the contract job and the circumstances surrounding the position. This will help you determine whether there is a future with the company.

• Meet as many key people in the organization as you can. Sit in on staff meetings and let it be known what you are doing for the organization, as well as your past background, experience and accomplishments.

• Keep in contact with people who recruit for the company, as well as employees in other departments.

• Complete any projects you are working on, even if you aren't hired.

“Leaving projects unfinished will hurt you if you need to be a contract worker again or want a reference for your work,” Schoonover said.

MOVING TO THE BIG CITY: You've just graduated from college and are ready to settle down, find a job and start a new chapter of your life. Now you just need to grab a map, close your eyes and drop your finger.

Not so fast. For new grads feeling the pressure of deciding where to live after college, Apartments.com and CareerRookie.com have released a list of the top 10 cities for young adults.  The roster is based on the inventory of jobs requiring less than one year of experience, the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment and the highest concentration of young adults between the ages of 20 and 24.

“Finding an affordable apartment and a good job may determine where to live, but it's also important to look at cities offering the culture and lifestyle these young adults enjoy,” said Tammy Kotula, spokeswoman for Apartments.com.

The best cities, including the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment:

1. Atlanta, $723
2. Phoenix, $669
3. Denver, $779
4. Dallas, $740
5. Boston, $1,275
6. Philadelphia, $938
7. New York, $1,366
8. Cincinnati, $613
9. Baltimore, $1,041
10. Los Angeles, $1,319

WEDDING BELLS, DOLLAR SIGNS: More people are tying the knot and spending on their weddings this year as the economy improves, according to a recent survey of the entire membership of the National Association of Catering Executives.

More than three-quarters of those polled said more weddings were taking place in 2010 compared with 2009, a near reversal of the trend reported last year. At that time, less than a third said they saw more weddings compared with the year before.

Meanwhile, nearly 30 percent said this year that they saw an increase in expenditures per event, while 40 percent saw increases in total wedding revenue.

Last year, nearly 90 percent reported seeing a decline in overall wedding spending due to the economy.

“We are cautiously optimistic that our survey results this year will predict a return from the brink of the recession,” said Greg Casella, president of NASE and owner of Catered Too! in San Jose, Calif.

While spending is up, Casella said members of NASE reported that brides and grooms were looking for the best deals.

“While we're seeing a busier year, caterers are definitely noticing that people are shopping around and asking for price matches,” Casella said. “That wasn't as common before the recession.”