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Tips Jar: Temping to Boost Your Job Search

By Jeanine Hamilton

If you’re like most job seekers, your goal is to find a permanent, full-time position. To find this position, you might contact hiring organizations directly, tap into your network, or maybe even work with a recruiter. The idea of “temping” to find your job might not be on your radar, or might be something you are considering as a last resort. Many job seekers think temping only benefits employers, when actually it can benefit the candidate, too.What you don’t know about temping could be preventing you from landing your dream job.

The majority of the temporary candidates my firm places are looking for a full-time job. Once they get started, a lot of our candidates tell us they wish they had begun temping six months ago. What makes someone choose to temp while they’re looking for a permanent job? According to the American Staffing Association, 88 percent of staffing employees say that temporary or contract work made them more employable. Other than having an income, the benefits to working in a temporary position during your job search include:

  • Converting temporary jobs into “permanent” positions – Often when employers need to permanently fill a position they will offer it first as a temporary opening so they can “try before they buy” and offer it to the temporary candidate who best meets their expectations. At the same time, temporary work allows employees to try out a prospective employer and showcase their skills for a permanent job.
  • Eliminating gaps in your resume – The truth is that hiring managers don’t like to see gaps between employment periods on a resume. Although they may know you’ve filled that time looking for work, it’s better to be able to say you also did something constructive during those periods – such as volunteering, studying new skills to become more marketable, or working in a temporary or contract position.
  • Meeting new people and making connections – Temping in a new workplace automatically puts you in contact with new people. As a temporary worker it’s acceptable to tell your new acquaintances about your preferences for a permanent position – you never know who may be able to make a productive connection for you.
  • Learning new skills – Temping is a great way to keep your skills current and/or to learn new ones. As a temporary employee you can work on a variety of projects or with multiple organizations, which exposes you to more systems, cultures and best practices than you’d learn if you were only working in one position at one company. Working in different settings can help you decide what type of organization you ultimately want to end up in.
  • Providing a stepping stone to a new industry – If you’re having trouble getting hired due to lack of industry experience, temping can also be a great way to get some relevant industry experience under your belt.

Jeanine Hamilton, is founder and president of Hire Partnership, a full-service staffing and workforce solutions firm serving Boston-area businesses.

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