When looking for a permanent job, you may think that taking a temp job could derail your long-term job search efforts. In addition, temp jobs do not offer the same certainties of consistent future employment, pay grade or benefits as full employment.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase in temp workers from 2.48 million in April of 2012 to 2.66 million the same month one year later. Ever since the most recent recession ended in mid-2009, temp jobs have made up approximately 19 percent of new jobs available.
There are numerous reasons companies employ temporary workers. They can fill needed roles fast. They retain complete flexibility to scale their employee count based on their needs of the moment. They may also use contract employment to try out job candidates prior to hiring them full-time to see if they make a good fit with the company.
Temporary employment offers many advantages to employers, but what about to workers?
A temp job could be a stepping stone, gateway or inroad to a permanent position you seek, whether with your current employer or another. An employer could use temporary employment as a well to give candidates for permanent jobs a trial period in which to prove themselves worthy of putting on the payroll permanently.
Even when an employer may not be considering hiring a new permanent employee, if you impress the employer enough with your indispensable value as a temp worker, the employer may decide he or she must swoop you up before another employer does.
As the economy grows, more temp jobs transition to permanent jobs. In the meantime, the meaning of “temporary” varies widely, and some temporary jobs last several months or longer.
In this rapidly changing economy, in which freelancers are starting to outweigh full-time employees in the overall job market, there may soon be fewer permanent, full-time jobs available to seek out. More and more employers may rely increasingly on freelancers and temporary workers to fill formerly salaried roles.
If these workplace trends continue, even fewer permanent positions may become available, leading to more temp positions with less employer commitment required cropping up to fill immediate workplace needs.
Unemployment can be associated with depression or low self-esteem. The longer you remain unemployed, especially as you continue to strive to attain employment, the more you risk becoming stressed.
Running out of money to take care of yourself produces mounting anxiety and hopelessness. Having too much unproductive time on your hands for too long can lead to restlessness. Sometimes, taking on a job, even if only temporary, is necessary to help alleviate these pressing psychological concerns and restore the mental wellness you need to successfully continue your permanent job search.
Working a temp job is extra experience to add to your resume. It shows you have been spending your time productively and keeping your skills sharp.
Perhaps your resume is lacking in sufficient experience to compete for the permanent positions you seek. A temp job helps you fill in your resume gaps. Working a temp job also builds out your list of references.
Working a temp job teaches you new skills, increasing the types of experience you bring to a permanent employer’s table. Perhaps you lack certain skills employers require of workers in your career field.
Consider a temp job not only a means of meeting immediate expenses but as a sort of apprenticeship for developing the abilities to better meet your long-term needs in the future.
One of the reasons employers often hire temp workers to permanent positions is because they know the temp worker already has the necessary skills and training. This means you begin work right away, while an outside hire must spend at least the first few days going through training.
If you are pursuing a specific career, taking on a temp job in your chosen industry helps you to stay on track along your career path. During this time, you develop experience applying the skills you have attained and develop new skills directly relevant to your greater career pursuits. You also show on your resume a commitment to consistent work in the field where you are looking to make your mark.
If you do not have a clear concept of the work you want to do for the long-term, taking on temp jobs in different areas helps you to refine your vision. By exploring through firsthand experience what you do and do not want to do, you are better equipped to identify the types of careers best suited to your interests and talents.
Besides skills and experience, another key part of building a career is your network of other professionals in your field and related industries.
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Working temp jobs exposes you to constant streams of relevant professionals you can meet and help you build out your professional network. Often, you find leads for other permanent jobs with other employers even if your temp job employer has no intention of keeping you on after your temporary contract period expires.
Employers respect workers who continue to work and pursue work even while on a path to pursuing a larger vision. Gaps in a resume, by contrast, give employers pause.
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The mere fact of your choice to take work, even if only temporary, rather than wait for the “right” opportunity to turn up shows your strong work ethic. Employers see a strong work ethic as an asset they want to benefit from, whether the work was short or long-term and whether it was directly relevant to the position they need filled.
One of the most pressing reasons to take temp work is to make sure you have enough money to pay your rent or mortgage and put food on your table. Whatever resistance you may have to working a temp job, sometimes it may be the only way to ensure you continue to make ends meet while you pursue a long-term job. You may not always have the luxury of holding out for the right opportunity, and when your own survival is at stake, any job can be the right job, even a temp job.
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