Part-Time and Temporary Government Jobs Guide
By Currin Berdine, Lily Whiteman, and Monster Contributing Writers Carole Martin, Susan Aaron, Linda Wiener, Francesca Di Meglio
Temp with Purpose
No matter how hot the economy is or how low unemployment rates are, older workers may still have a hard time finding work. And in a soft job market, recently outplaced job seekers add to the competition for available work.
It’s a familiar refrain: You can’t find a job without recent, relevant work experience or local, current references. What’s an older job seeker to do?
Whether you’re new to the workforce, been out of it for an extended period, have moved to a new locale, were downsized or are just ready for a change, signing with a temporary staffing service or two may be a good choice for you.
Some call it “paid research,” as temping often lets you try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. Temping can also provide the opportunity to learn new skills, either on the job or in a classroom setting. Some temp agencies even offer a variety of formal certifications.
Temp agencies do not rely on well-matched long-term employees and therefore are usually more willing to take hiring chances. They are also prepared to invest in developing promising candidates — a bonus for job seekers and employers alike.
The current largest nongovernmental employer in the US is a temp agency. “No longer an industry of replacement workers, today’s temporary agency looks a lot different from its earlier not-a-serious-employer stereotype,” according to Richard Rogers, author of Temping: The Insider’s Guide.
Professionals are the temp industry’s fastest growing segment. In some areas, skilled tradesmen and healthcare workers are aggressively recruited and can realize higher wages through a temporary staffing assignment than with a permanent job. In most communities, positions are also available in manufacturing and hospitality as well as in more traditional office environments.
Even during tough economic times, temp agencies often continue to hire. Companies dealing with budget shortfalls or recent layoffs can better manage recruitment needs by hiring on an as-needed basis (i.e., via temporary staffing services).
The Benefits of Temping
- Reliable (and local) references.
- Current work experience.
- Chance to test-drive a new line of work.
- Acquisition of new skills.
- Certification in some specialty occupations.
- Opportunity for transition to permanent employment.
- Prorated benefits such as insurance, vacation and in some cases 401k.
Temping is not for everyone. You are basically a free agent and, to be successful, have to be moderately assertive and very flexible. However, if you are self-motivated, you can generally count on a regular paycheck while you’re polishing your skills, developing your network and determining your next vocational steps.