Temping -- working temporary jobs -- can be a great way to earn a few bucks between full-time jobs and other commitments.
I'm partial to temp agencies because I worked temp jobs every summer while I was in college, before ultimately starting a full-time job at a temporary employment agency after graduation. I was able to earn more money during those summers than most other short-term jobs were offering, and I collected important "office experience"; for my resume. While not all temp jobs turn into permanent employment, they do offer learning, growth, and networking experiences that aid in finding full-time work.
Here are a few tips for how to make the most of a temporary job
Be on-time and professional
These are the same rules that apply for any job.
- Arrive on-time.
- Adhere to the office dress code.
- Submit your time sheet on-time, and do everything else that is expected of you.
The key point here is not to stand out for what you fail to do.
Be courteous and friendly
Smile often, shake hands, and be on good terms with everyone you meet, even if someone is rude to you. Oftentimes temps get treated differently from full-time employees. They aren't viewed as being as much a part of the team, or they're seen as more easily replaceable. One of the best ways to combat this stigma is to be someone your coworkers enjoy working with. They'll get used to having you around and not want to see your temp assignment end.
This means never saying, "That isn't in my job description." If you finish a task early, ask for more. In my experience, bosses often assign temps significantly less work than they can handle because they're testing them out and aren't sure what to expect. Every new duty you take on makes you more indispensable, so keep busy by volunteering for more work whenever possible. It also gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and, sometimes, to meet even more people in the office who might be useful to you in the future.
Inform temp agencies that you are interested in temp-to-hire positions
Many employers use temp agency workers to test drive potential new hires, sort of like a rent-to-own scenario. There aren't always temp-to-hire positions available, but if your employer knows that you are looking for full-time employment, they can make a point of trying to match you with those jobs. Not everyone who does temp work is interested in long-term employment.
Meet new people
Meeting new people is always helpful when you're looking for work. The more people in your network, the more connections you have to other companies and other potential employment opportunities. When you're working a temp job, every colleague or boss is someone who can potentially refer you for another temp job or even a full-time position. This is yet another reason to be friendly and flexible. When you volunteer to take on new job duties, it often puts you in the view of other bosses who might be looking to fill positions on their own teams.
Acquire new skills
Even if your temp job is only short-term, you can take the opportunity to learn new skills that will make you more marketable for your next position. When a company looks to hire another temp or even a full-time employee, already knowing the skills and software necessary for that job will put you in a much better place to be hired.
Keep these tips in mind on your next temp job, and you'll be one step closer to meeting your employment goals, whatever they may be.
Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on www.carissadoshi.com. You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.