7 Times You Should Take a Temp Job

pay check

There’s a lot of confusion out there about the pros and cons of temporary jobs (also called “temp jobs” or “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 go short-term. In fact, sometimes, temp jobs are 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.

What’s a Temp Job?

A temp job comes from the word “temporary.” When you apply for a temp job, you’re working for a company for a set short-term period. Usually, businesses set this period for three, six, nine, or 12 months, though it varies from company to company. Temp jobs can be part-time or full-time, but regardless, the position only lasts for a certain period of time.

Sometimes, temp jobs are called contract jobs. The main difference is that temp workers are typically paid through a staffing agency (like us), whereas contract workers receive a paycheck from the company.

Why Do Companies Hire Temp Positions?

For a variety of reasons. Sometimes they need to temporarily fill a role while someone is on parental leave or taking a sabbatical. Or maybe they’re hiring a temp job part-time as they try to determine if a role needs full-time support. Some companies, in industries like wine and food production or events and hospitality, hire temp workers seasonally when business is busiest. Other times, they’re seeking a temp-to-hire situation because they’re not sure they need a position full-time. So, they test the waters with temp hiring.

Regardless, a temp job is one of the most underrecognized opportunities for people seeking regular employment. (We should know, we specialize in temp staffing in California!) That’s especially true in certain cases, which we’ll get to in a moment.

How to Find a Temp Job

Now that you know what a temp job is, and why it might be a good option, how do you find one? If you’re interested in finding a temp job near you, the best place to start is by finding a staffing firm in your city. While some companies hire their own temporary workers on contract, many larger companies that hire temp workers regularly prefer outsourcing to a staffing agency. For example, Google “Staffing firms near me,” “Staffing firms in California,” or “Staffing agencies in Sacramento” to find recruiting firms working in your area.

(Pro tip: But seriously, if you’re looking for jobs in California, we’re here for you at Star Staffing! Here’s our jobs board.)

There’s an added benefit to you as well: Going through a staffing agency means that you’ll have support on an ongoing basis. Most staffing agencies also provide certain benefits; whereas contract workers hired directly often receive little to no benefits during their short-term employment.

Not sure if a temp job is what you’re after? Next, we’ll go over reasons why applying for temp work might be the ideal situation for you.


7 Times You Should Take a Temp Job

So should you take a temp job? That answer depends on your goals and current situation, but we suggest temp jobs to people more often than you’d expect. Let’s go through seven situations where a temp job might be the way to go.

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1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 who 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?

4. If You’re Realizing You Don’t Network Enough

Here’s the thing we don’t talk about often enough with regard 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.

5. 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.

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6. If You’re Getting Back into the Workforce

Did you take some time off to stay at home with your kids? Did you retire a few years ago, but you’ve realized you need a little extra to live on? Do you just need some extra money around the holidays? Temp jobs are a great way to get back into the workforce after you’ve taken some time out. Plus, you’ll learn some skills you might have missed out on during your years away.

7. If You’ve Been Let Go/Fired

Maybe you were fired because of differences with your boss. Maybe you were fired because you arrived late one too many times. A temp job is an opportunity to get your work life back on track. You can use it to build new connections, and prove that you’re taking your work more seriously (if you got fired because you were at fault for something, you have to fix it to make this work!).

What Happens If I Get Fired from the Temp Job?

It’s important to know that temp jobs are on an “as-needed basis.” If the company that hires you as a temp worker decides it’s not working out for whatever reason, they can terminate the temp position. This is one reason why it’s helpful to work for a professional staffing firm (like Star Staffing if you’re in Northern California!).  You have a team of recruiters available to help you find your next gig quickly. That said, we’d call this a rare situation, especially with reputable employees and especially if you’re a reliable, hard worker.

Have questions? Reach out to learn more about temp jobs and why they might be the perfect next step for you in your job search.