by Karen Rae Horwitz, President, JobGiraffe
We’ve all heard the adage that “it’s easier to get a job if you have a job.” If you are not
working currently and also feel you are not making real progress by just sending out resumes, finding temporary employment through a reputable staffing agency may be just what you need to jump-start your job search.
There are many good reasons for a job seeker to turn to temporary employment. Possibly you plan to start school (or are still in school) and simply cannot commit to something for the long-term. Maybe you are moving to a different city and need income while you get settled and make new connections. In fact, one of the most common reasons candidates choose temping is that it can be a great way to enter the workforce, especially if you have little to no work experience. It is also a terrific way to learn new skills, gain experience and make valuable connections.
Here are some common objections to pursuing a temporary position, and my responses to them.
Why should I take a position with an end date attached to it?
Temporary jobs aren’t always so temporary. In fact, many times you can keep the position for as long as you want. Also, when working with a staffing agency, you may be able to secure a new temp assignments so that you experience little to no gaps in your employment. There is also the often overlooked fact that temporary jobs can often lead to permanent employment! Employers who are looking for temporary workers are, by definition, in need of more help, so if you can prove yourself to be a valuable asset during the term of your contract, many companies will choose to keep you on permanently. This happens routinely at JobGiraffe.
Should I take a job without health insurance, a pension plan or paid vacation time?
It is true that companies frequently do not offer benefits to temporary employees because, as a temporary worker, you are simply not eligible for them. However, many temporary agencies are beginning to add benefits options for their temp workers, and due to recent changes in the law you may now be eligible for benefits offered through state healthcare exchanges. New options (available through the ACA) make it easier than ever to pick up a health plan in the private market, often at reduced or subsidized cost. As for the ability to add to a pension plan, it’s true you will not participate in one while temping, but by working temp you will still be making contributions to your social security account through payroll taxes (FICA) and you will have the ability to make contributions to an existing (or new) IRA account – and both are just as important to your future as having a defined pension program through an employer. As for not receiving vacation time (this is a very common myth), at JobGiraffe, and many other staffing agencies, you can accrue paid vacation time even as you work in temporary positions.
Won’t a temp job look bad on my resume?
Having temporary work in your background is 100% more beneficial than having unexplained gaps in your work history. Most employers have themselves worked temp at some point in their own career or have used temporary workers in their business. They understand that it is simply a fact of life in today’s labor market. Also, don’t think that just because it’s temp work it’s not a valuable experience. Temp positions are often available because an employer requires a very specific set of skills or expertise at a given moment. Highlighting the accomplishments of your temp position is no less important than highlighting experienced gained through a full-time “permanent” position. Never sell yourself or any of the experience you have accumulated short!
Taking a temporary job also reflects well upon your work ethic and your openness to take on new challenges. The adage that “it’s easier to get a job when you have a job” is still around for a reason. Having large gaps in your work history for no specific reason is considered by most hiring managers – rightly or wrongly – as a big potential red flag.
Hopefully I’ve dispelled some of the myths surrounding temporary employment and also touched on many of the benefits: learning new skills, making connections, achieving specific or tangible goals, etc.
Temporary jobs may not be for everyone, but in my opinion they should be seen as an important tool in your toolbox. If you’re looking for work, or want to change your employment situation, talking to a staffing agency about a temp position is a great way to “create your own good luck” and become a more engaged and proactive job seeker.
Karen Rae Horwitz