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Can Temporary Work Benefit Your Career?

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Temporary WorkOne of the realities of the current economy is that finding a permanent full-time job is hard work. Indeed, some believe that the current situation may even be permanent, with temporary, freelance and adjunct jobs becoming the new normal.

It can be frustrating to be stuck on the job hunt, and the truth is that you need to be doing something. Once you go more than six months without a job, your employability — such as it is in the current climate — goes down quite a bit. This means that, perhaps, you need to consider doing temporary work. You might even be surprised that it can help you in your career.

How Temporary Work Can Benefit Your Career

Even though it is easy to look down on temporary work, the truth is that it can be helpful in some ways beyond merely bringing in some money. That money is certainly needed, and can help stretch your emergency fund, but you also need to think of the future of your career. Here are some ways that temporary work can benefit you:

  • Provides you with an “in”: Sometimes, a temporary position can become a full-time position. If you do temporary work regularly for a company, or if you can impress the boss with your abilities, you might be hired on for full-time work, or even hired as a consultant on occasion. You now have an “in” with that company.
  • Prevents holes from appearing on your resume: Keep holes from appearing on your resume by doing temporary work. You can even intern or do volunteer work as a way to bridge the gaps on your resume. If you can show that you have been doing something, other than job hunting, that can be a tremendous boost to your resume.
  • Expands your career network: Even if you don’t end up working full-time due to a temporary position, you still have the benefit of an expanded career network. If you can develop relationships with a few people at the company, you can keep in touch with them after your stint is over. These connections can help you later on in your career, and you might even be able to use some of your new connections as references.
  • Allows you to explore other options: In many cases with temporary work, you will be assigned to do something a little bit different each time you go in. This allows you to explore other options. You can even gain experience in a new career area and use that to launch in a different direction that you might enjoy more.
  • Supports you while you start a side business: Perhaps losing your job was a wake up call that it’s time for you to start a side business and become an entrepreneur. If this is the case, you can do temporary work for funds to help you remain afloat while you get things going on your venture.

Every cloud really does have a silver lining, and temporary work can open doors for you, and allow you to meet new people and try new things. Approach your temporary work as an opportunity, and you might actually find some benefits.

(Photo: Steve Rhodes)

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4 Responses to “Can Temporary Work Benefit Your Career?”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    In my case, it was a *big* “in”.

    I work in IT, as had been my intention well before I headed off to university some twenty-mumble-mumble years ago. I worked temp jobs during the summers because it sucked very much less than flipping burgers for a manager with a hyper-toxic personality at Wendy’s (which is what I did before that).

    While I continued to work mostly office clerical type jobs when I got out of university, and these paid the rent and put food on my table, I was grateful when the same temp agency I’d been with for three years found me some entry-level IT work.

    Now, here’s the fun part. I did the IT temp work for three or four months, then applied for a permanent job at another workplace. They saw what I was last doing for the temp agency, and that I’d been with the temp agency for three years. They assumed I’d been doing IT work for the temp agency for three years. I didn’t tell them this, but I didn’t deprive them of this misunderstanding, either. After all, why would I discard the ace I was dealt?

    So I guess what I am saying is this: temp work paid off for me. It showed me with multiple years of work history overlapping my time at university and other jobs (I was also doing help-desk work at the university). In short, an accurate picture was painted that said, I’m not afraid to work.

  2. Shorebreak says:

    “You do what you gotta do.” Temp work is better than not making your rent or mortgage payment and landing out on the street. If you net an advantage outside of that, great.

  3. Matthew Coan says:

    I live by the motto that you never know what is going to happen unless you try. It is very ture that a temp job could turn into a full time job, which makes it worth all the while to try it out. Also I think that having more time on your hands lets you reflect more on what you want to do, as far as a career, which can lead to coming up with your own ideas and maybe starting your own company. I predict that a lot of creative and innovative ideas are going to come out of this recession we are coming out of and there will be more and more people who started these ideas because of the extra time that they had on their hands.

  4. Shirley says:

    I actually know one young man who worked three jobs for a bit over a year just to keep food on the table, gas in the tank, and rent paid each month. One job was steady part-time work and the other two were on-call jobs.

    Two months ago he was offered full-time work by the owner of one of the on-call jobs. His persistance and willingness to do whatever work he found definitely paid off.


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