Most professionals see temping as a short-term solution. But, working as a temp has the potential to bring abundant long-term career benefits if candidates are strategic about their choices.
Viewed from that perspective, temping becomes much more than a short-term career aid as it can have definite and tangible benefits on your overall job trajectory. From preparing you to level up by assuming new responsibilities and learning new skills, to enabling you to meet more people and so expand your professional network, even a brief stint at temping can end up offering lasting gains if you proceed with planning and foresight.
To benefit from a temporary job, candidates must keep the larger picture in mind and take decisions that steer their career in the right direction. Here are some tips that could help you make the most of your temporary assignment. Use them to maximise your gains.
1. Choose a job that aligns with your career goals
Unless you are using temping to try and implement a career change, it is never a good idea to stray too much from your job profile. It will prevent you from capitalising on the skills and relationships you develop, but also cause an aberration in your CV which prospective employers will be concerned about.
A steady focus on your career goals will help you accommodate long-term interests by choosing the right job openings. The ability to balance the temptation of taking up the first available job, and staying true to your career goals, is mandatory for maximising the gains of temporary work.
But this does not mean restraining yourself from taking up jobs which can expand and amplify skill sets related to your existing career path. In fact, taking up jobs that are outside your comfort zone, but in broad alignment with your career goals, is one of the best ways of developing new skills and enhancing your job profile.
2. Learn new skills
If there is one thing temping provides plenty of, it is the opportunity to learn new skills. There is nothing like a series of brief stints in different companies to help you pick up new skills or introduce you to new workflows. Of course, adding new skills is only useful if you can utilise it in advancing your career. That is why it is important to choose jobs that are in alignment with your professional goals.
Companies that regularly hire temporary employees have robust training and onboarding programmes designed to help workers pick up new skills or brush up on old ones. On-the-job learning is another avenue available to temps to pick up additional skills.
3. Use the opportunity for networking
Networking is one of the most gainful, yet most underrated, aspects of career development. Besides helping workers discover hidden job opportunities, it is a powerful forum for the exchange of ideas, the source of important tips and information, the basis of a useful career support system, and an effective instrument for raising your professional profile.
Because temping requires professionals to work brief stints at various companies, it provides ample opportunities for networking. Canny professionals can use these opportunities to further their career. Perhaps someone in the office is aware of a vacancy in another company, and can recommend you for the job. Or perhaps you’ll meet someone you bond well with, to start a business later. The opportunities are endless, but you will have to invest significant time and resources to make networking work for you.
No Substitute for Hard Work
As a candidate, it is important to remember that all tips and strategies will amount to nothing in the absence of conscientiousness and hard work. Whether it is taking on new responsibilities, learning new skills, or building robust relationships with people, they must be based on a foundation of industry and diligence to bring genuine rewards.
Despite its inherent instability, it would not be wrong to argue that temping offers greater scope for career development vis-à-vis a permanent job. The opportunity to learn new skills—hard and soft—coupled with the chance to build new relationships and learn to adapt to pressure situations, could equip you to survive in any company under any condition. If you find yourself in a temporary role, there is no need to fret. Instead, think about how you can utilise it to cultivate skills and relationships which could boost your career in the long term.
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