Career Tips for Temp Workers

Despite its negative image among most job-seekers, there are many benefits to temping. First, it allows inexperienced job-seekers the chance to network and gain valuable skills. In addition, temping helps the long-term unemployed to get back into the workforce. Temporary work is also a good option for those that need some flexibility or like change. If you’re thinking about temp work, but are worried about the downsides, read on for tips to help you succeed in your temporary job placements.

  • Understand the purpose of temp agencies. Many job-seekers turn to temp agencies with idea that the agency is there to help them find a job. However, the temp agency is not working for potential employees, but for the employers that hire them. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect the temp agency to go above and beyond to find you a position. You must possess the skills they need at a given time in order to land a gig. And just because you’ve been given one assignment doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be given more. It’s important to market your skills just as you would for any other type of job and to continue to look elsewhere for work.


  • Don’t expect perfect assignments.  A company may turn to a temp agency when someone is needed to handle simpler tasks until the permanent employee can return. Therefore, your work may not be as exciting or challenging as you would like. However, successfully demonstrating your ability to do simple tasks can lead to better assignments, and if you’re lucky, a permanent job.


  • Be willing to adapt. Every workplace is different, even within the same industry. As a temp worker, you’ll have to adapt quickly to new environments. Try not to bring habits from an old workplace into a new one unless they are useful and relevant. One workplace may allow for casual dress and lots of social interaction, while another may require more conservative attire and a no-nonsense attitude. You may prefer the casual workplace, but you’ll need to put that behind when you encounter a different company culture.


  • Know what’s expected of you. Talk to your supervisor before starting work to get the details of your day-to-day responsibilities and overall goals during your assignment. Although the job ad may have some information, there could be miscommunication between the employer and temp agency or expectations could change. This show the employer that you care about your work, even if it’s temporary, and at the very least will get you a good recommendation for future jobs.


  • Don’t be idle. Many temporary jobs can become boring. You may be tempted to surf the web or play on your phone when you aren’t busy, but it’s better to look for some way to be useful to your employer. Ask your supervisor or coworkers if they need help. Taking some initiative will set you apart from other temporary workers and increase your likelihood of landing another assignment or permanent job.


You may not want to be a temporary worker forever, but don’t dismiss it as an option. There are special challenges to temp work, but if you remember the tips above, you can use your temporary jobs to propel your career forward.