How to Make a Career Out of Temporary Work

If you’ve ever thought about temporary work, you may have assumed it was a stopgap option for short-term needs. Maybe your only experience with temporary work is when you took a short-term position when you were between jobs or needed some extra income. You might think temporary jobs are for college students or teachers who need summer or holiday work. These are all valuable options for people at many stages of their careers, but temporary positions can be a smart method of building a full-time career.

It All Begins With Changing Your Mindset

Many people are career temporaries who go from one assignment to another. Who are these people? They are consultants and contractors. Think about technical professionals who work for one organization until a specific project is completed or a travel nurse who works 13-week assignments in a variety of locations. They are often not thought of as temporary workers, but it’s part of the reality.

Think of Yourself as an Entrepreneur

A long-term career as a temporary employee is a little like running your own business without the risk. You have a set of skills that employers need, but you’re not restricted to working with only one employer. Take your skills where they are needed most, where the pay is highest, or where it seems like an interesting place to work. You’re never stuck with one employer because you can move on after an agreed-upon time. You are the one who is in full control of your career.

Get Your Foot In The Door

Employers use temporary and contract workers for many reasons. They need help completing short-term projects, like a software rollout that requires specialized technical talent or year-end reporting that will take an experienced accountant to complete. They use temporaries to take on new projects without interfering with workflow or just filling in for leaves and other absences.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the economy. That means employers may be more likely to bring employees in on a temporary basis than commit to a full-time hire. That means more opportunities for individuals interested in building a long-term career based on temporary work. As employers recover from COVID-19, they have more temporary and temp-to-hire positions available than direct hire jobs. Use this to your advantage.

Hone your skills. As you take on different opportunities, you’ll have many chances to build and enhance your skills and even gain new ones, making you even more marketable. Using your skills in a variety of environments can make them even stronger. It can also help you to avoid getting pigeon-holed into a single industry.

Build your network. You’ll be exposed to many different professionals on the job, both employers and peers. Broadening your network and making connections can help you find more opportunities. Aim to reach across industries to future-proof your career. You never know when a casual chat can turn into a meaningful career opportunity or a connection that can strengthen your career prospects.

Take control of your finances. The financial freedom temporary work provides allows you to be more selective about the assignments you take or the full-time position you choose. If you have a steady income coming in from temporary work, you have the freedom to take your time finding a full-time job. If you are interested in exploring different locations, partner with a staffing firm that places remote positions or works in multiple cities, and you can investigate your options before settling down.

Gain flexibility. You can work the hours and location you choose. You can work around obligations such as family, education, or other interests. Depending on the assignments you accept, you can work the schedule that works best for you – full-time or part-time, first, second or third shift – it’s up to you. Working with a recruiter who understands your schedule, needs and priorities can streamline this process.

Work to live. Don’t live to work. Not everyone wants or needs to work year-round. Some people enjoy working hard for a few months to build up some funds and then take time off to travel or engage in hobbies. If you’re a free spirit, a temporary work career may be ideal for you.

Forget What You Think You Know About Temporary Work

Many people assume temporary opportunities are all entry-level, primarily in light industrial and administrative. That’s a large chunk of temporary positions for sure, but there is a wide range of other possibilities, from accounting to healthcare to interim executives, so you may be surprised to find opportunities that are just right for you. Some of the fastest growth is among technical and professional roles because of the flexibility it offers to both you and the employers. Employers enjoy the access they gain to highly skilled specialists when they need them.

​Temporary Jobs Look Great On Your Resume

Employers can look at temporary employment as a great way to evaluate a candidate for full-time positions. They see that you have been working steadily and using their skills. They don’t necessarily care that you have gained that experience working at multiple companies. It can be seen as a positive that you’re able to adapt to a variety of environments and that you’re resourceful enough to keep your career moving forward without gaps. They see clear evidence that your skills are in demand.

Temporary Jobs Are Not Only Short Term

Some jobs might be just a few weeks to keep up with a seasonal crunch time, but you can also be assigned to projects that go on for years. You can work full time or the schedule that suits you best. If you work with a staffing agency, you may even have access to a full slate of benefits that can include access to health insurance, vacation and holiday pay, and 401k plans.

​Temporary Jobs Can Prepare You for Full-Time Work

In reality, it’s pretty easy to shift into a full-time job when you’re ready. If you make a great impression on an employer and you enjoy the work, you may be able to convert your temporary position to a permanent one. The employer has already seen firsthand how you perform on the job, making it a risk-free way for them to hire. It’s an easy transition for you as well because you already know the ins and outs of the company. It’s also easier to look for new positions while employed as a temporary worker. Everyone knows the circumstances, meaning you don’t need to hide that you’re looking for other opportunities. You can say, “I need to take the afternoon off for an interview,” without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.

Temporary Jobs Give You The Inside Track

If a position opens up in the company, you’ll be the first to know and might even be given a recommendation. People you work with may know others who are hiring or can connect you with others in their network. Being out in the working world leaves you open to more opportunities than if you were sitting home. Leveraging contract or temporary jobs can help you build a rewarding career path.

Try a Different Kind of Career Path

Many of today’s job seekers look for jobs that give them flexibility in their careers. They want to control when and where they work and be free to move on if a job is not the right fit. That’s why some are choosing to make contract jobs part of their short- or long-term career strategy. It provides freedom to move around and try new things while maintaining a steady flow of income.

If you’re looking to add flexibility and variety to your career, temporary or contract opportunities are a great fit. According to the American Staffing Association, staffing companies in the United States hire more than 15 million temporary and contract employees every year.

Partner With A Staffing Firm

Working temporary jobs is great, but it can be tough to manage as a full-time career, especially if your goal is to transition from one job to another with no gaps in between. A staffing firm can line up your next position while your last one is winding down. This will ensure you don’t have any employment gaps unless you choose to. Best of all, they may have access to opportunities you wouldn’t have access to on your own and can put in a good word on your behalf with employers to give you a competitive edge in getting the best jobs.

Build Your Career With PrideStaff

If you’re looking for a staffing firm that has a local presence with a nationwide reach, the professionals at PrideStaff will be happy to help. Talk to our experts about what you want from your career in the long run or just what you would like to do next. They want to hear about your skills, experience, and career goals—and help you find the right opportunities for you. Our recruiters make it easier to make a lasting career from temporary work! Contact your local PrideStaff office today.