Looking for Temporary Payroll Jobs? How to Prepare Yourself

By Robert Half December 13, 2019 at 9:30am

There are myriad benefits of taking on a temporary payroll job in accounting and finance.

Perhaps you’ve recently left a job and would like to take some time before settling into something new and full time. Maybe you’re in college, looking for part-time work. Perhaps you’ve retired but itching to re-enter the workforce, just for a short while. Or maybe a colleague is taking leave, and filling in would allow you to test drive the role, putting you in a prime hiring spot should the colleague choose not to return.

Temporary payroll jobs offer valuable flexibility, allowing you to maintain employment during a career or lifestyle shift. They can empower you to network and explore new roles, technologies and practices, all of which add benefit to your resume and professional trajectory.

Payroll professionals are good communicators and perfectionists. They’re willing to embrace new technology and platforms. They’re also self-motivated, keeping up with industry trends and always-changing legislation related to compliance, withholdings and taxes.

If any of the above sounds like you, and you’re eager to move forward in the world of accounting and finance but are in transition, a temporary payroll job may be worthwhile.

Benefits of temporary payroll jobs

For some people, the word "temporary" is met with a sense of uneasiness, leaving job seekers feeling unsettled, unmoored. But in reality, a temporary position provides surprising benefits for those who wish to learn and move forward while also getting paid.

Taking a temporary position can offer many advantages, both short and long-term. There's the free training opportunities and career advice. You’re also able to test-drive new positions, new-to-you technology, new employers and projects, all of which will be key when seeking full-time work in the future.

Also, temporary does not equal less pay. Most employers offer competitive pay, on a par with full-time employment, and sometimes access to employee benefits, especially if you’ve signed with a staffing firm.

How to prepare for what's out there

Here are five tips to help you search for temporary payroll jobs and use a staffing agency to ensure an ideal fit.

1. Know the lingo. What are the different positions in the payroll departments of companies?

  • Payroll clerks, assistants or specialists are often entry-level positions with a focus on distributing paychecks, data entry and reconciling timecards.
  • Payroll administrators and coordinators, having a bit more experience and technical skills, process and reconcile payroll, remit taxes, and prepare statements.
  • Payroll managers and supervisors typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, and are responsible for payroll staff.

2. Map out your future. What length of time are you looking to fill and where are you willing to go, geographically? What new skills would you like to learn while working in a temporary payroll job? Is there an employer you’d like to eventually work for full-time? What kind of connections at a particular company will help you achieve your long-term goals?

3. Get organized. Research companies. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you’ve been away from the workforce for some time, find out what’s happening in the industry. Read articles and blogs, and schedule coffee chats with former colleagues or friends in the field.

4. Network. If you know any managers, talk with them. They may know of a payroll employee who is expected to take leave, opening up a temporary position that’s not even posted yet. Perhaps a former colleague may reveal a project that could use just some extra help for a few months. Let people know — even those not in finance or accounting — that you’re looking for temporary work. You may be surprised by opportunities you didn’t know existed.

5. Connect with a recruiter. After you reach out to them, staffing professionals will take the time to not only learn about you but also your situation. People sometimes seek temporary jobs for very explicit reasons. A staffing agency can take those reasons into consideration, resulting in better possibilities than those found scrolling through job boards. Recruiters also can take into consideration your future goals, helping you land a temporary payroll job that not only benefits you now, but also beefs up your resume for the future.

Temporary jobs often indicate a time of transition — for both employers and job seekers. A staffing firm that specializes in placing temporary accounting and finance professionals is able to look at the needs of both sides of the equation and come up with a list of jobs that not only match your current skill set but also allow you learning opportunities — all while getting paid.


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