If there’s one thing employers are always looking for, it’s candidates with sharp skills and hands-on experience. But if you’re just out of school and you find yourself unable to land a permanent job, what can you do? The answer is straightforward — spend some time doing short-term work. Here’s how you can benefit:
You’ll learn new skills. Very few people have all of the skills they need when they first graduate. For example, you might know theoretically how to do something but be unfamiliar with how to actually perform that process using a specific application or cutting-edge equipment. A temporary job or short-term contract often allows you to acquire the skills you need to put theory into practice.
You’ll gain experience. While most employers want candidates with a few years of proven experience for permanent positions, oftentimes, requirements for a short-term job are less stringent. By having the opportunity to work in your chosen profession for anything from a few weeks to three months, you’ll gain valuable experience you can build on to get your next position.
You can get a foot in the door. If you want to work for a specific employer but don’t have the right qualifications, accepting a temporary or contract position there can help you get a foot in the door. And once people notice your skills and work ethic, you stand a better chance of being able to interview for a permanent position.
You can build your network. Almost a third of all new hires are the result of employee referrals. Clearly, knowing people who can alert you to job opportunities can be good for your career. If you’re pleasant to work with and open to meeting new people, short-term positions can be a great way to expand your network.
You can get more references. Employers usually ask for between three and five references before they hire you — and it’s best if those people are working professionals who have first-hand knowledge of your skills. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to find reliable references, as Jessica Howington points out in her FlexJobs article “7 Ways Temp Jobs Are Good for Your Career.” Fortunately, if you’ve performed well in a temporary position, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your supervisor to be a reference for you.
How to find a temporary job or contract work
There are various ways to find a temporary job or contract work. Some aggregate job boards include short-term positions in their listings, so you can look there. You can also contact people in your network and ask them if they know of any openings. But the best way to find a short-term job is by working with a reputable talent placement agency like Kelly. A professional recruiter often hears about openings before they’re posted online and knows how to present you in the best light to the hiring manager. Additionally, a recruiter can help you determine which positions would allow you to hone your skills and acquire more experience.
Gaining the skills and experience you need to land your dream job usually takes time. By leveraging short-term positions, you can put yourself in situations where you’ll have the opportunity to practice your skills and learn how to deal with the day-to-day challenges of your chosen profession.
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