Over the years, we’ve seen a rise and fall in employment trends. Although online job postings and social networking connections afford new opportunities to engage about careers more than ever, the “always on” nature make it harder for any of us to stand out among the sea of applicants’ social profiles. A shift toward temporary employment opportunities also left many job seekers feeling uneasy about longevity and security, possibly even unemployed or underemployed.
Most people tend to prefer a secure full-time, salaried position. The (at least perceived) stability of being brought in as an associate, consultant, manager, or any other type of recognized team member makes us feel more secure.
Salaried positions typically offer greater benefits, too, including healthcare, retirement, and employee discounts for local vendors or international travel.
But as companies downsize and outsource work, or hire temporary workers to “test” them out, there are fewer full-time job opportunities. Nowadays, contracting, freelancing, and part-time work opportunities are prevalent. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t overlook the potentially temporary roles even when you want a full-time opportunity as soon as you can find it.
Why Consider Temporary Work?
You might get hired full-time. If you meet or exceed expectations, the company allocates the money to the budget, and the need continues for your skills, you might get an offer to become a full-time employee. If the full-time role is what you want, it’s good to let the recruiter, hiring manager, and supervisor know. Don’t assume that they know you want that role if you don’t tell them. They might say there is no opportunity for the full-time role to happen (we don’t have a big enough budget, we only need you for this project, and so on). But just because the answer is “no” at one point doesn’t mean it always will be.
You will be exposed to a company’s culture. The stability of working at the same company in the same department for 20 years is a plus for most people, but it’s easy to develop only one frame of reference. So if they ever need to work somewhere else, they can have a harder time onboarding and understanding that not every company does things in the fashion they were used to. Timelines, deadlines, roles and skills, even acronyms are different from one company to the next. A little variety provides great learning opportunities and more polished business conversations.
You gain essential resume items. Temporary projects often expose you to a variety of technologies, services, team members, and skills. The variety in items is then persuasive on your resume, because you have a breadth of opportunities you can choose from to tailor your resume to an exact job ad (of course, focusing on what you can do for the company, rather than the objective you want by getting the job).
You can learn or relearn specific skills. For example, if you spend several years working in the financial sector with a repeatable approach to everything, then you dive back into creative work in the technology sector, you’ll exercise your brain in different ways.
You can pocket extra cash. Many temporary roles come with higher hourly rates, because you’ll have to cover your own insurance. You can negotiate a higher rate for that reason, and possibly make enough extra to hold onto in case you end up temporarily out of work later on.
Whatever your overall career goals are, if you find them temporarily derailed, you can consider temporary work and still come out on the better end of the deal.