Should You Look Into Temporary Jobs?

It’s no secret, it’s hard to find a good paying full time job. With unemployment still sitting around 8%, those out of work have typically resorted to low paying retail and fast food positions. There are other options, such as staffing agencies (or temp agencies). These are businesses whose job it is to help you find a job.

The Recruiting Process

You reach out to the staffing agency and provide them with your resume. You tell them what jobs you would like to work, your salary expectations, etc. You may have to take a short test to show you are competent to perform the work as well. From there, the agency looks in their database to try and find you a match. But there is no rest on your end. You should review the open positions on their website too and let them know if you find anything you would be interested in doing.

If a match is found, you will interview with the company that is considering hiring you. If you are ace the interview, there is a good chance you have a job!

Job Contracts

It is important to know what type of contract you have with the staffing firm for this particular position. Some positions are simply temporary. A company will hire you for six months during their busy season. After that, you are unemployed again. Another possibility is temp-to-hire. Here, you are a temporary worker for six months. After the sixth month, you continue to work for the company but they can now hire you full time. A final possibility is direct hire, where the staffing firm places you in a full time job with the company from the beginning. For the remainder of this article, I will be talking about temporary and temp-to-hire job opportunities.

Advantages of Temp Jobs

The biggest benefit is getting your foot in the door. Even though you are technically employed by the staffing agency, you are showing your skills to the employer where you are working. It is imperative that you be the best you can be so that your temp job can turn into a permanent one.

Another benefit is that you are covered by Equal Opportunity Employment laws. The staffing firm cannot discriminate against you based on your race, creed, gender, etc. You have the same rights as anyone else applying for the position.

Even if you are not hired full time, the experience you gain and get to put on your resume will help you to land a full time job. Face it, having something on your resume is better than nothing.

Disadvantages of Temp Jobs

The biggest disadvantage is uncertainty. As the end of the contract nears, you do not know if you will be hired full time or not. You can always ask for a status update, but don’t be surprised if your superior is vague.

Another disadvantage is that you aren’t eligible for the benefits at the company where you are working. This means no health care coverage, no 401(k), no vacation time, etc. While many staffing agencies do have benefit packages for its workers, they are usually not as generous as other firms.

A third disadvantage is you can expect your pay to be less than the full time employees doing the same job. This is because part of your pay goes towards the staffing firm who placed you.

A Temp Job is Valuable

In my eyes, a temporary job’s advantages outweigh the disadvantages. When I first graduated from college, I worked a part time job at first because I couldn’t find full time employment. I ended up using a staffing agency to find me a job. It was temp-to-hire job and a few months in, I was hired full time. I ended up staying with that company for over five years.

Even though you give up some benefits and a lower salary, the experience is invaluable, along with the possible network connections you can make.

Photocredit: Bede Jackson via flickr

15 Responses to Should You Look Into Temporary Jobs?

  1. Most temp agencies will offer benefits if you are there for an extended amount of time. I took a temp job for the summer while in college and after 3 months they offered vacation, healthcare, and 401k

  2. I did a temp job once. The agency I worked for placed me with a local manufacturing business only a mile from my house. It was a great job to get some much needed cash flow, but six months later, I quit to pursue my a ‘real’ job. I’d worked so well, the manager was shocked that I was quitting and tried to get me to stay with a raise.

  3. Yes, of course — these days, you don’t know whether a “permanent” job is something you want for more than six months anyway, and as long as you do a good job, you can get rehired. There are no downsides, in my opinion, and it looks better on your resume to take a temp job than have four permanent jobs in two years.

  4. I think working a temporary job during periods of unemployment has no real downside. You’re earning an income, keeping your skills up to date (possibly even learning new ones) and making contacts – all valuable when you’re looking for a permanent job.

  5. Temp jobs can be great for a number of reasons, but I think one of the best advantages is that you are free to try out a job for a while. Working hard can pay off in landing a positions within the company…if you decide the company is a good fit. If the job is not ideal, you can always turn down the employment opportunity.

    • Very true! They are great if you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do. You get to test drive it for a few months and then decide if it’s something you’d like to pursue further.

  6. […] Temporary jobs can be a worthwhile option in a bad economy – Don writes about them this week over at 20s Finances. […]

  7. I’ve never worked a temp job (though I have done plenty of casual/oncall jobs, which is something else entirely). Agree that it’s a great way to test out different environments and industries.

    I’d actually quite like to try out the contracting lifestyle – but not all industries are suited to it and it needs to be reasonably lucrative to make it worthwhile.

  8. I would say absolutely yes. If you’re unemployed, your biggest focus should be on income. You do whatever you can to continue your income stream (with the exception of dealing drugs). I would have no problem doing temporary work.

  9. I understand what you are saying about uncertainty being one of the biggest concerns with temp jobs, but I’ve seen a lot of uncertainty in “permanent” jobs as well.