5 Times You Should Take a Temp Job

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There’s a lot of confusion out there about the pros and cons of temporary jobs (also called temp jobs or sometimes contract jobs) and whether they’re worth it. For many of us, certainly, a long-term, salaried position seems like the ideal—and often it is. But there are certain situations where you may want to consider temporary options. In fact, sometimes, they’re the very best thing you can do for yourself. Here are some reasons you might want to consider a temp job as your next career move:

If You’re Currently Unemployed

The average job search for a $60,000 salary takes roughly six months. That’s a long time, especially if you’re between jobs and have bills to pay. Beyond just tiding you over until you find a more permanent role, temp jobs are a great way to continue building skills to add to your resume while you wait for the ideal scenario to play out. Plus, many temp jobs turn into full-time jobs—a win-win if you fall in love with the role and company.

If You’re Seeking an Industry Change

If you’re interested in moving from one industry to another, it can often feel like there’s no way to get someone to pay attention to your resume. Taking a temp job is an excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door of a new industry of your choosing. It also means you’ll learn industry-specific skills on the job so that you can start to fill in the skills gaps you know you have. Every day at that temp gig makes your resume look that much better.

If You’re a Freelancer But Feeling Stressed Out

Working for yourself is great, but if you’re feeling the stresses of relying on one too many clients that have run late one too many times with paying your invoices, a full-time temp or contract position could be great for you. Contract jobs typically allow you more freedom than a regular 9-to-5 desk job (and you can negotiate things like work from home days in many cases), and you don’t have to commit to anything long-term, so you’ll be able to return to freelance life if you find you’re missing it. But you’ll also reap the benefits of a reliable income. Sounds great, right?

If You’re Realizing You Don’t Network Enough

Here’s the thing we don’t talk about often enough with regards to job searches: most people get hired through someone they know. If you’re applying to countless job postings and not hearing back, it could be time to up your networking game. You can do that by reaching out to people for networking coffees and by attending industry events (and should), but the brilliant thing about temp jobs is that they also provide networking opportunities. Every person you meet and impress while working will remember you the next time their company (or a friend’s company) is hiring.

If You’re Just Not Sure What You Want to Do

Almost all of us will hit a career rut at some point where the role we’re in doesn’t feel right anymore. If you’re not sure what sort of work you want to do next, temporary placements or contract work can help you explore—sort of like when you taste all the flavors at the frozen yogurt place before ordering. As you try on different roles, you’ll start to notice patterns of what you like and what you don’t, so that a day will come when you know exactly where you want to be.