5 ways temporary work can skyrocket your career

Temp jobs

Here are five hard-to-ignore advantages of working a temporary job.

Whether you’re a college graduate making your maiden voyage into the labor force, a career-changer looking to break into a new industry, or you’re seeking more flexibility and variety in your career, temporary or contract opportunities offer a ton of benefits. According to research conducted by the American Staffing Association, U.S. staffing companies hire over 15 million temporary and contract employees annually. What’s more, during an average week, there are more than 3 million temporary and contract employees working for staffing companies across America.

Temporary work is a great way for unemployed workers to re-enter the workforce. It also gives individuals who routinely clam up during an interview or cringe at the thought of networking the chance to showcase their skills firsthand on the job. And let’s not forget, contract positions can be lucrative, which will help you fatten up that hungry piggy bank of yours.

Many organizations employ contract workers as a way to extend the interview process and better assess a candidate’s performance on the job. By hiring a worker on a temporary basis, employers are able to evaluate your cultural compatibility and get a better understanding of how your individual strengths contribute to the team’s success. These areas are often hard for an employer to gauge solely from your interview.

So, how is this beneficial for you? While not a guarantee, many temporary roles wind up converting to full-time, permanent positions. In fact, the American Staffing Association found that one-third of temporary and contract employees were extended a permanent job offer, and of those individuals, two-thirds accepted the offer.

Still not convinced? Here are five hard-to-ignore advantages of working a temporary job.

1. A chance to diversify your experience
Navigating the workplace as a temp employee allows you to experience different types of positions in a short time period. For recent grads, you can trial different work environments – from a large, brand-name corporation to a 30-employee firm.

Temporary opportunities are also ideal for workers who are interested in broadening their skills. As you navigate from role to role, you’ll gain exposure to new workflows, technology and challenges that’ll help strengthen your marketability as a candidate. Not only will you have a clearer vision of what you want out of your career, but you’ll expand upon your soft skills, which can give you a competitive edge over other applicants when you’re applying for a new role.

2. An opportunity to get your foot in the door
Employers use temporary and contact workers for a number of reasons. Oftentimes, companies will allocate a completely separate budget toward contract positions. These funds can be used to compensate for short-term projects, such as a new software implementation that requires a technical specialist or to cover staffing gaps that arise from an unexpected disability or maternity leave.

Additionally, a department head or hiring manager may recognize the need to add staff, but can’t prove the value of increasing headcount. In these instances, hiring someone on a temporary basis is a way for these individuals to demonstrate the positive impact added bodies can have on the business and secure funding from the powers-that-be to extend permanent job offers.

3. A way to expand your professional network
Industry-related conferences or professional groups are a great way to interact and build relationships with individuals in your field. But, you know what’s even better? The bonds you form while actually working alongside your co-workers. These relationships can be tremendously impactful to the future of your career, as you’ll have a group of individuals who can personally attest to the value you deliver as an employee.

Not only can these folks vouch for your achievements, skills and strengths in the workplace, but they can also act as a referral source for new employment opportunities. They may have a family member or friend who works for a company you’ve had your professional sights set on for ages.

4. A means for lighting a fire under your bum
Many of us have fallen victim to the unemployment slump. It happens to the best of us. Mustering up the drive to use your time productively can be difficult when you’ve become accustomed to a slower routine. However, you can reintroduce yourself to office life and shift your mentality to one that focuses on meaningful, proactive activities. Taking on temporary work in this scenario is a great way to get your productivity level back up while also reigniting your inspiration to start chasing those career goals again.

5. A transition to a new career path
Flexibility and greater autonomy are two of the main factors that drive career decisions for today’s modern job seeker. Many people decide to make contract work a permanent career choice as they crave control over their work schedule, find enjoyment in the freedom of exploring different work environments and projects, and like engaging with multiple employers. What’s more, when you work a temporary assignment through a staffing agency, you’ll receive a benefits package, such as health insurance coverage or paid time off.

Does temp work sound like your kind of work? Here are 15 temp jobs to consider

Kelly is an avid freelance writer, covering topics such as self-development, career advice, technology and workplace trends. When she’s not typing away on her keyboard or nose-deep in a good book, Kelly works as the Marketing Director for HumanEdge, a staffing agency headquartered in New York that helps people accomplish their career dreams and ambitions by connecting them with new job opportunities. Say hi to her on Twitter @Kkantro.