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Reaping the Benefits of Temporary Work

By Sarah Terlaga and Chris Mitchell

For many people, searching for a job means strictly considering full-time, permanent positions. Yet taking a temporary job can offer many benefits -- both short and long-term.

Many job seekers have a bias against temporary jobs and often express some common concerns, including the perception that temporary jobs have a lack of stability, limit the ability to hunt for permanent work, and keep you in constant job search mode.

The key to approaching temporary work is to change your mindset. Focus on the benefits.

The Advantages of Temporary Work

Instead of looking at a temporary engagement as a last resort, or not even considering a role because it isn’t permanent, look at the many advantages such as:

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1. Improving Your Resume

A temporary position may offer the opportunity to learn new skills or gain needed experience in an area where you may be lacking.

This is especially advantageous if you want to switch directions in your career.

It is also useful if you want to make the shift to a different industry.

You can gain experience with a new technology or software, too. Perhaps, connect with a new permanent job.

Or, with luck, all of the above that you are seeking.

2. Speedier Hiring Process

There is often a sense of urgency when hiring for a temporary position. Employers need someone to fill the position quickly.

The speed of the hiring process can be to your advantage. In some cases, candidates who wouldn’t be considered for a permanent role without the required experience can land a contract position.

Because employers are often looking to hire right away (and don’t have time for an exhaustive search), they may be willing to be a little more flexible in their hiring requirements.

3. A Path to Permanence

A temporary position can be a matter of being in the right place at the right time to land that position in a new industry or get your foot in the door at a coveted company.

Even if a temporary engagement doesn’t lead to a permanent position, the experience in a desired company can help you land a long-term job.

4. A New Direction

A temporary position can also serve as a step in a new direction. Maybe you want to change things up a bit. You’re looking for a shorter commute, a better work/life balance, want to try working from home, or explore a new career. Consulting work can help you reach your goals.

5. Flexibility Rules

Temporary work typically offers more flexibility than a permanent position. You can do your job well, and then go home.

Typically, contract temporary workers can maintain a better work/life balance than full-time staff and aren’t expected to put in grueling 80-hour work weeks.

Most temporary positions are paid hourly, so even if you are asked to work late, you are adding to your paycheck.

6. Temping as a Career

For many people, temporary work is a career choice. While this is more common in the tech sector, the consulting life offers some benefits that just fit well with certain personalities and lifestyle choices.

Some people thrive on being exposed to “new” job responsibilities, management styles, and co-workers. Temporary and project-based positions can offer all of these.

Others enjoy the flexibility and not being obligated to one company for a bulk of their careers. The contract temporary work world allows for that to happen.

7. Covering resume gaps

Temporary positions can help fill holes in your resume when you are between jobs.

Rightly or not, employers are wary of hiring those who have long periods of unemployment on their resumes. Hiring managers don’t know if you’ve been actively looking for six months or binge-watching Netflix.

Temporary work can give you a job to list on your resume and a chance to continue to build your experience and network. Working contract these assignments shows hiring managers that you take your career seriously, you’re staying connected to your industry, and you are keeping your skills sharp.

8. Financial Reward

In many cases, contract temporary workers get paid more overall than their permanent coworkers. Working in a temporary role can lessen the financial burden of being out of work and having this monetary security may allow you to be more selective in your job search and not feel as pressured to take the first permanent position that comes along.

The Bottom Line

There are many benefits to temporary work, and for those looking to contracting as a career or to fill in while looking for something more permanent, a shift in mindset can open a world of opportunities.

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About the authors...

Chris Mitchell is the Director of Recruiting in the Technology division of WinterWyman Contract Staffing and Sarah Terlaga is a Principal Staffing Manager in the Human Resources division of WinterWyman Contract Staffing.  In addition to overseeing a team of 12 tech recruiters, Chris’ focus is on recruiting Database, QA, Project Management and Business Analysis professionals in the New York and Boston markets while Sarah works with all levels of HR contractors in the New England area.  Contact Chris at cmitchell@winterwyman.com and Sarah at sterlaga@winterwyman.com.  To keep abreast of happenings in the contract staffing world, follow WinterWyman Contract Staffing's LinkedIn page.