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Should You Temp? The Pros & Cons

Nov 21, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

A few decades ago, most temporary employees were used as fill-ins for full-time employees on extended leave or extra help during the busy season. These days, however, companies hire temps for a wide variety of positions—even positions that once went to full-time workers.

Companies get a great deal when they hire temp instead of full-time workers. Usually, they don’t have to pay benefits. In addition, many temp agencies choose employees who already have certain skills—meaning that companies don’t have to train new employees on a regular basis. In addition, companies can fire temporary employees more freely—without worrying about wrongful termination suits.

So could temping help your career or hurt it? It depends—on what you want, where you are in your career path, and what you need from your job. Here’s a look at the typical pros and cons you should consider when deciding whether to temp or keep your time free to look for a full-time job. 


You get a wide variety of experience

Woman Making Decision

Working as a temp may take your time away from searching for a full-time job—and it doesn’t usually look as good on your resume as a full-time position would.

As a temp, you work in a wide variety of offices and perform a lot of different tasks. You get to see firsthand how life works in various different industries. And you get to learn a variety of different skills—depending on the type of temping you’re doing. Working as a temp can expose you to new experiences that can help you decide where to focus your career, as well as making your resume stronger.

You get to make lots of contacts

If you really want to work for a certain company, temping there can put you ahead of other applicants. After all, the company knows you—it knows how you work—and hopefully your coworkers have been impressed. And even if you don’t want to work full-time at that specific company, you can make contacts that could help you in your job search further down the line.

You can work when you want to

If flexibility is important to you, temping may be the ideal solution. Temp jobs usually last only a certain period of time, making them ideal to cover your employment needs when you’re between full-time jobs—or keep a hand in the game while you take a few years off to take care of young children. At certain times in your life, temping may be a better arrangement than a full-time job with full-time work expectations.


No benefits

Most temp positions don’t provide benefits—one reason companies love to hire temps rather than full-time employees. Other temp positions do offer health insurance, but it can take a long time for the benefits to kick in. In general, if you want health insurance, you have a better chance of getting it if you get a full-time job.

No job security

Temp work could potentially lead to a full-time job. But there are no guarantees. If you get lucky, you could impress the hiring manager enough to hire you on full-time—but if they get you more cheaply as a temp, there may not be much incentive to make you an official employee.

You have to keep moving

Many temps cycle in and out of employment fairly regularly—and for some, it can be difficult to leave just as they’ve gotten comfortable in a new position. And if you find a long-term temping position, you’re stuck long-term in a situation where you probably don’t have benefits and you have no official employment status with the company. For some people, this can hurt morale.

Working as a temp may take your time away from searching for a full-time job—and it doesn’t usually look as good on your resume as a full-time position would. But it’s much better than nothing on your resume—and it can also gain you experience and contacts that you wouldn’t make elsewhere.  Temping isn’t the right choice for everyone, but for some, it’s an ideal solution.


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