Getting Started

Why Temping is a Smart Career Move

Written by Peter Jones

You’re looking for work, but unsure how to interpret some job postings. There’s a difference, for example, between contract employment (with a specific, non-permanent term, usually without benefits), temp work (varying from one day to a year or more, with no promise of becoming a permanent position), temp-to-perm or tempt-to-hire (meaning you work in sort of a probationary period until the employer decides whether or not to take you on full-time), and the standard direct hire (or full-time) long-term position with benefits.

Temp-to-hire jobs are actually booming, and fairly easy to find. The move toward temporary hiring might mean that more and more employers are preferring to try out new employees rather than hiring immediately. Even if you can’t necessarily get a guarantee that your position will be temp to perm or temp to hire, there are some benefits to temping.

Gaining Exposure

Get your face out there and show what you can do. You also get a taste of different office environments, industries, etc. You’ll get to know your preferences as an employee, which will make your next job search all the more focused.

Meeting New Contacts

Never underestimate your ability to impress people and wrap them into your network for future communication. You’ll also establish a record for yourself—the temp agency you work for can vouch for things like your work ethic and reliability, should future employers ask.


Most temp jobs are full time for a short time, leaving you a bit of time off in between gigs. Don’t take too much time between gigs if you want to stay current and get sent out for new opportunities, but do give yourself a couple of days to breathe.

Adding Skills and Experience to Your Resume

Think of every day on each temp job as an opportunity to sponge up new skills and expertise. Pad your resume with the software programs and experience you’re getting on each job.

The Possibility of Full-Time

The biggest potential benefit of all comes when your position is, in fact, temp-to-hire. In those cases, you get all the benefits of temping—the self-confidence boost of having a job to go to on a given day, the networking opportunities, your foot in the proverbial door—plus, there’s a good chance a full-time job will be your reward at the end of it.

That said, it can be a bit isolating to temp. You might feel like you’re not quite a “real” employee, and you may feel a little too uncertain without a guaranteed annual income and benefits. Temping is definitely not for everyone, but if you can manage it for a while, it might just pay off for you.

About the author

Peter Jones