Some job seekers are hesitant to accept temporary or contract assignments because they are concerned if they commit to something short-term, they will miss out on opportunities for full-time assignments. This may be a bit short-sighted because many employers are now using staffing agencies (and sometimes internal recruiters) to “try before they buy” job candidates. Related: Transform Temp/Contract Work Into A Permanent Job In many cases, short-term assignments are being extended and even becoming full-time opportunities for some workers.
Great news! You’ve landed either a contract or temp job, which suddenly has taken so much stress off of you from looking for a job. Now, you can pay the bills, settle in, and concentrate your focus on getting up to speed and making valuable contributions. But what’s the worst thing that can happen at this point? Becoming complacent in this moment of opportunity. But first, let’s be clear. Contract or temporary work does NOT guarantee a permanent job at the company in the future. It is exactly that: a stretch of employment that has a finite end to it, and you’re going to have to deal with an end point sooner or later. But despite not being a permanent employee, you have something vastly more powerful in your career arsenal right now than the unemployed job seekers:
- You have a foot in the door.
- You are a known quantity.
- And you have a chance to prove yourself.
In the midst of the Great Recession, many workers have found themselves cobbling together short-term or temp jobs in order to pay the bills. These workers often become very concerned about how this work activity will appear on their resumes. If you're worried about how to address temp jobs on your resume, take heart—many people are in the exact same situation. The first thing you should know is the current economy has forced many workers to take jobs for which they are overqualified. It has also displaced many experienced, competent professionals from the workforce. Given this, the stigma once attached to taking a temporary job or a job beneath your qualifications has lessoned greatly. Hiring managers receive resumes all the time from people who are doing the best they can to make it. The most important thing they look for is proof a laid-off worker is being productive with his or her time—whether that’s through obtaining further education, volunteering in the community, freelancing, or working temporary or part-time positions. I recently worked with a client who had left the full-time workforce for 13 years in order to care of her special needs child. Although she seemed to view this period as a throwaway on her resume, the reality was she had started two successful businesses during that time and had obtained an additional professional certification as well. Rather than perceiving a hole in her resume for the time she’d spent raising her son, I saw an entrepreneur who was determined to provide for her family in the midst of very challenging circumstances. Likewise, showing temporary work on your resume instills among worthwhile hiring managers the same feelings of compassion. It demonstrates even when times are hard, you have the work ethic to do whatever you can to stay in the game. Hiring managers know there are just as many people competing for those temporary jobs as for their full-time positions—so your having one shows tenacity in and of itself. Wherever you are currently working, you’re contributing something to that company’s operations and bottom line. Including this work on your resume shows you’re a team player and a hard worker—and every company appreciates that. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Many job seekers look for full-time employment after spending a year or more at temporary or part-time jobs, sometimes working for several different agencies or volunteering their services. On their resume, they worry these experiences make them seem like job hoppers or undesirable full-time employees. In fact, part-time, temporary or volunteer work, especially work in your field or that keeps your skills fresh, shows your dedication and flexibility. It may broaden your appeal to companies in industries you never considered before if you include them the right way on your resume. In your resume, group these jobs under one title to create a unified history. Perhaps you’ve worked at several part-time jobs in restaurants as a waiter; you could group that experience under Part-Time Work in Restaurant Industry. If you worked for a temporary or contract agency, list the companies you worked for under your group title (Contract Engineer)—not the agencies. The experience you are highlighting is the valuable experience of working for multiple industries. You might be able to group your temporary, contract or part-time jobs as Freelance or Consulting Positions. You are contributing your job skills in exactly that way: you go from one company to the next, complete each job efficiently and then move on again. As for volunteer positions, companies are very aware of the leadership skills, teamwork and commitment that volunteer work requires. Create a section of your resume for Community Service and give yourself credit. Photo Credit: Shutterstock