Temporary Work as a Career Option? 6 Myths, 6 Realities

By Robert Half July 12, 2019 at 6:00am

Thanks to continued low unemployment, temp work is gaining traction as a career option. More managers are open to hiring interim workers than they were just two years ago — and they value experience through frequent temporary work the same as full-time employment when it comes to job qualifications.

These findings come from a recent Accountemps survey on trends in temporary staffing.

It turns out that many accounting and finance professionals are choosing temporary work for the plethora of benefits it provides — and helping to dispel the persistent myths surrounding temp work.

First, what are the benefits of taking on temp work in this field?

  • A variety of engagements that allow job seekers to hone existing skills and develop new ones as they build their resumes
  • Exposure to a diverse set of professionals — critical for building strong networks
  • Financial freedom that allows workers to be more selective about the full-time opportunities they may apply for while they’re generating income
  • A flexible schedule for those who want to spend more time with their families or focus on a hobby or other interest

And second, here are six misconceptions about temporary work we want to set the record straight about.

Myth 1: Temporary work is low-level

Reality: As the needs of businesses and workers have changed over the years, the temporary industry has evolved. Today, the fastest growth is occurring in professional and technical occupations as businesses and professionals from all backgrounds and skill levels have come to realize the benefits of having greater flexibility.

For their part, companies have found they can readily gain access to highly skilled finance professionals who supply specialized expertise — ranging from bookkeeping help to interim CFO duties — for immediate and long-term projects. Should they have entry-level positions to fill, they have access to candidates at this stage in their careers, as well.

See the temporary accounting and finance jobs we place.

Myth 2: Temp work will hurt my prospects of getting hired  

Reality: Quite the contrary. Many businesses view interim hiring as a way to evaluate individuals for full-time positions. To bridge gaps, they’re bringing in the most accomplished interim professionals they can find using a temp-to-hire strategy. They evaluate the skills and workplace-culture fit of these individuals with an eye toward making them full-time employees.

Myth 3: Temporary work is short term, sporadic and low paying

Reality: Although project consulting frequently offers the option of working fewer hours than a full-time role might require, highly skilled professionals usually find they can work as much as they want. In fact, many temporary professionals and contractors work the equivalent of full time hours. Also, temporary assignments can last from a few days to more than a year.

As for wages, many temporary positions pay on par with salaried ones, and individuals with the most sought-after skills can often command a premium. To attract top temporary talent, staffing firms offer competitive wages and benefits, which can even include access to health insurance, vacation and holiday pay, and retirement plans.

Myth 4: You can’t include temporary work on a resume

Reality: As the temporary industry has grown and expanded, interim assignments have come to be viewed more as high-level consulting projects and less like entry-level positions. Hiring managers understand that project work provides valuable experience that enhance a candidate’s abilities.

Read more about how to reference temporary work on your resume.

Myth 5: You can’t develop new skills this way

Reality: Accounting and finance professionals who work on a temporary basis are often involved in projects that are as interesting and challenging as those they might encounter in full-time positions. In addition, a staffing firm specializing in accounting and finance positions stays abreast of the latest industry developments and offers complimentary training opportunities to help project professionals upgrade their skills — and even earn accreditations.

Myth 6: If you're working, you can’t continue your job search

Reality: Depending on how much you choose to work, you may need to make some adjustments as to how and when you conduct your job search, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. It may involve simply shifting your networking and research activities into the early morning or evening hours, or possibly during your lunch break.

Also, keep in mind that your temporary assignment can help you advance your job search. You never know when a position might open at the company where you’re working. Or you might meet people during the course of your assignment who are willing to recommend you for a position in their network.

So now you know: You can do rewarding work, make a major impact in companies and build your career as a temporary worker. So get started!

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