3 Ways Temporary Assignments Can Benefit Your Job Search

Whether you’re looking for a change in schedule, or are in the unfortunate situation of recovering from a layoff, pursuing temporary opportunities might be what you need to start fresh in 2015. Jesse Siegal, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary Staffing Division, believes that temporary opportunities will not only get you back into the workforce, but it can also help you to further hone your craft (i.e., industry knowledge, education/certifications, technical skills, etc.) in your respective industry. For employers and job seekers alike, a temporary role can be mutually beneficial as both parties can assess whether or not the company and employee will truly be a good long term match.

Internal data from The Execu|Search Group’s Employment Index indicated a 72% year over year increase in the quantity of temporary assignments we received from clients from 2013-2014, which shows that both clients and candidates are seeing the value in temporary staffing. So, if you are in search of your next opportunity, consider the following benefits temporary employment can add to your long-term career:

1. Get into a new industry and gain new skills

“Most job seekers associate temporary employment with generalist positions, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Jesse. “Companies that utilize a contingent workforce are looking to fill roles that require a very specific skillset anywhere from entry level and middle manager positions to senior level roles.” According to Jesse, now that contingent labor is being viewed as a viable option for maintaining regular business operations, employers are more focused on finding niche hires—qualified candidates with a very specialized skillset that are capable of hitting the ground running from day one.

For example, if you are interested in graphic design, taking a temporary role may give you the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience with different programs as well as sharpen current strengths. Furthermore, a temporary position may enable you to acquire the technical skills that are in highest demand in your respective sector, making you a more desirable candidate.

2. Stay focused and up-to-date on industry trends

“Remember, even if your long-term goal remains to secure a full-time position, temporary employment is a step in the right direction,” says Jesse. In fact, The Execu|Search Group’s 2015 Hiring Outlook highlights the growing trend towards contingent labor, as 41% of hiring managers we surveyed say that they currently utilize a temporary/contract staffing solution. As a result of these growing opportunities, working as a temporary employee may allow you to stay up-to-date on industry trends and help you understand how to apply that knowledge to your overall career growth as you move forward.

“Job seekers should use the opportunity to stay focused on getting your dream job and mastering your craft to that of an expert level,” says Jesse. “For example, if you’ve completed a number of projects as a web developer at various companies, you can leverage the experience and exposure to different programs and skills from these temporary roles to keep you career moving forward.”

3. Find the right long-term commitment

Finding a role where you truly fit into the company culture should be a top priority of yours, and if it’s feasible to keep your options open until the right opportunity comes along, temporary employment can be a great decision. Fortunately, taking temporary-to-permanent roles can give you the opportunity to measure how well you fit in with the team as well as the overall company culture. “You should never solely rely on your next full-time opportunity to hopefully be the best cultural fit for you,” says Jesse. “To avoid this, start considering more temporary roles in your job search as they can help to ensure that when you finally do choose to make a longer-term commitment, it’ll be the right fit.”

Even if you don’t land a permanent job, there’re still things to be gained from temporary employment! Temporary employment allows you to get your foot in the door of a new company or corporate culture, build great connections with like-minded professionals, and most importantly position yourself as the best candidate for a full-time position when it arises.