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Is Temporary Work Bad for My Career?

18 Feb 2020
Sarah Ferguson

temporary work

A lot of my time recently has been spent educating candidates on temporary and contract assignments, which got me thinking there should be more easily accessible information out there to assist people in choosing whether temporary work is right for them.

Having dealt with temporary recruitment across a variety of roles for the last five years, the biggest obstacle I often come across is that many candidates have negative opinion of temping based on the opinions of others around them. Everyone is different and what works for one may not work for someone else. Also, although advice is given with the best of intentions, it is usually based on personal experiences as opposed to advice given from professionals who can tailor processes to suit both your requirements and skillset.

Here are some common objections from candidates and the advice I would offer in those situations.

1. Too many jobs on a CV is off putting to potential employers.

This is a matter of perspective in my opinion. Your CV is of your own making and how your career history is received by potential employers is very much based on how you put it across. For example, if a candidate has been an employee of a recruitment agency for 2 years and has covered various temporary assignments within that period, my advice would be to complete this as follows:






As opposed to having a CV littered with a large number of very short term positions with no explanation or detail, this will give employers the reassurance they need that you have worked in other relevant positions.

It is all a matter of presentation; how you convey this on your CV and also how you explain when discussing your experience. Keeping yourself in regular employment with fresh experiences is a proactive step and it is important you make it clear to any potential employer the reasons behind your choices and what you have gained from the experiences.

2. Not enough time to settle in.

Although I completely appreciate that for some people this is too far outside their comfort zone, I would recommend at least trying it out if you are able. Temporary assignments can have a number of benefits to candidates personally as well as for your CV. In my experience temporary assignments have often helped candidates increase their confidence, learn to enjoy meeting new people, and overcome some anxieties of being placed in new and unfamiliar situations and surroundings. It will also expose you to lots of different workplaces and help you decide what you want to do long term.

3. Working in different circumstances/industry/environment.

If you are out of work and struggling to find a permanent position it can be difficult to keep up with industry and market demands. Temporary assignments can help you gain experience and insights into different industries and environments as well as exposure to new software packages and procedures. This can then greatly increase what you have to offer an employer and can widen the scope of opportunities available to you.

A lot of people I have worked with previously had been used to a certain way of working and were reluctant to do things differently. However, a significant amount of people who tried new industries or a slight change in role were pleasantly surprised - and sometimes a change can be refreshing!

4. Missing out on permanent employment.

I appreciate every situation and organization is different, however, I can honestly say in my time in the recruitment industry I have never seen a candidate overlooked or held back from a permanent role because they are currently on a temporary assignment. We want both clients and candidates to be happy with the services provided and temporary roles are usually a short term solution for both parties; clients using temporary staff through an agency are very understanding of this as well.

I have backfilled many temporary positions to allow a candidate move into a permanent role and have also had a number of temporary assignments become permanent because the client were so impressed with the candidate and did not want to lose them.

5. Fears that it is best for us but not for you.

Recruiters often get the unfair accusation leveled at them that they're driven solely by money and do not have candidates' best interests at hear. Recruitment certainly has excellent opportunities to earn commission, but there is A LOT of hard work that goes into recruitment behind the scenes in order to achieve this. If anyone is looking for a quick and easy way to make commission then recruitment is not the right choice! The bottom line is we want to help people find their ideal job and if we didn’t genuinely care about what we are doing it would not be worth the effort and, very often, our own personal time that we sacrifice in order to do our jobs.

We take all of our candidates concerns into consideration. If you have any concerns we will answer them and advise you on our opinions as professionals. Sometimes you may disagree with our opinions and we will try to give you as much advice as possible in order to help you reach the right decision, but we will never push you into a decision you are not comfortable with.

If you still have any concerns or uncertainty regarding temporary roles and would like more tailored advice for your situation, please feel free to get in touch.



Sarah Ferguson
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