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Stop Scrolling and Consider a Temporary Position and its Long-Term Perks
If you’ve been scrolling through the job boards, it’s obvious that temporary job opportunities have risen significantly over the past weeks. A major remote work job board, FlexJobs, recently found that temporary positions have increased by 10% points (Guilford, WSJ, 2020). When I encourage clients to consider temporary positions, they often bock a little. Temporary jobs have a stigma of not being influential in your career trajectory but in our current pandemic-stricken job market, taking a temp job is a definite way to sustain your career in uncertain job terrain.
Temporary is Temporary
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that 801,000 employees have been laid off temporarily. This means that a large percentage of employers plan to rehire their previous employees. Taking a temporary gig will make you more accessible to get back to your previous job. The Brookings Institute recently projected an optimistic 40% or more of the furloughed workers to return to their previous positions based on data from the Great Recession and 2008.
Employers Like to Hire Working Candidates
Have you wondered why a recruiter is reaching out to you on LinkedIn when it clearly states on your profile that you’ve got a job? I recently posed this question to a recruiter friend and his response was a quick “because most employers want an employed candidate.” Recruiters are creating a pool of candidates to share with an employer seeking to hire and they, like all the hot guys at the bar, think people are more appealing when they are already taken. Yes, I compare job searching to dating a lot. So the temporary job will help you to be more appealing as you continue your search for the perfect fit.
Outstretch Your Roots
Most folks can't get past a temporary position's timeline to see its long term potential. Temporary jobs, especially those at a company on your target list, help you to get your foot in the door. Sure, the initial work may be tedious or a demotion, but if you get in it’s your choice what you make of it and how you choose to impact the company and its decision-makers. Quoted in a Forbes report, a New York-based staffing firm CEO, James Essay affirmed that nearly 70% of temp workers would be asked to jump into a full-time role. My advice: take the temporary job and ask for more responsibility, notice where the holes lie and extend your expertise, and always say yes to an extra assignment. These additions to your normal workload may impact your hourly rate along with your reputation at the company, so when a full-time position becomes available you know the inside stakeholders and can shoot your resume to their personal email.
Avoid a Resume Gap
As much as I’d like to say there is no such thing as a negative bias around a resume gap, especially as a return-to-work career counselor who has to face it constantly, it is there. I experienced it firsthand in bed with my husband a few months back. Nothing kinky. We were both looking at resumes for the first time in our entire married life and it was a total bonding experience. I was just about to start a rousing conversation about formats when he quipped “Ugh, nope.” I peered over at what looked like a beautifully crafted document and asked: “Why?” His response: “I have no clue what this guy has done for the past two years.” Sure enough, his career story was lacking a huge chunk. The temp role doesn’t have to be a dream job but it can show that you have been working, keeping your skills intact, and potentially acquiring new ones, too.
Because there are various uncertainties in accepting a temporary position, you may consider asking for a higher hourly rate. Most temporary roles don't come with benefits and don't guarantee the duration of the position; with that, you can leverage these deterrent along with your applicable skills and experience in the hiring process. I will add the caveat that most temporary agencies take a cut of a placed employee's hourly rate, some up to 30%. This is important to keep in mind when you are preparing the rate you'd like to present to your potential employer. If you ask for $30/hr you are really asking for $33/hr. Even though we are in a pandemic, you can still negotiate your time and worth for any position, but keep it classy-research the position, geography, and add your years of experience and special skills into the equation.
Ultimately, there is a larger picture at hand. How will this temporary position impact your day-to-day and your overall financial standing? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to discuss how a potential position will play into you current life and overall career goals. Happy to be a sounding board for your next decision!