Why Temp Work Might Be the Right Fit for Your First Job

A professional considering temp work as his first job stands at a starting line

Let’s face it. When you’re right out of school, you need a job that will start putting food on the table and help you pay off that student loan. Problem is, not everybody knows right off the bat exactly which jobs or even which types of jobs to pursue. That’s why temp work may be the best first step for a newcomer to the workforce.

A temp job allows you to sample different jobs and industries without the risk of your first job being one you end up wishing you hadn’t accepted. Just as important, you begin making money right away while honing key skills that could help you eventually get a full-time job.

What it’s like to have a temp job

A temp job can last a few days, a few weeks, several months or even longer.



It’s true that, in some ways, temp work is not that different from full-time work. You go to the office, you do your job, you get paid.

The difference is in the duration of employment and the number and types of companies you work for. A temp job can last a few days, a few weeks, several months or even longer. Each assignment you accept is likely to be with a different organization. You could even hold different job titles as you take on temp work.

Over time, you can be exposed to a large variety of work environments, industries and career paths. Because of this, a temp job or interim position can be likened to doing paid “field research” as you weigh the pros and cons of various career directions and possibilities. 

You’ll likely be tasked with variations in duties in each new work environment, which can be demanding at first but will ultimately serve you well as you learn different ways of meeting key objectives.

With temp work, you’ll also get a chance to reflect on what you enjoyed about the role, and what you didn't, after you complete each engagement. That can help inform the temp job you accept next and gradually allow you to focus the direction your career takes.

If you’re working with a staffing firm as you move from one temp job to another, you’ll have someone in your corner looking to match you with jobs that are the best fit with your skills and preferences, saving you the time and trouble of finding temp jobs on your own.

Considering temp work for your first job? Browse the SlideShare below to see how an employment agency can help you find a temp job and the truth behind working with these firms.



The benefits of temp work

Taking on a temp job is a great way to widen your job search network, as you’ll meet more people than you would working for just one organization.

Temp work can also become a satisfying path in its own right, especially if you’re someone who pursues outside interests that require a lot of time, such as taking classes, travel, getting in more family time or training for an athletic event. If you want flexibility in scheduling while still getting steady work, a temp job can be just what the doctor ordered.

If you want flexibility in scheduling while still getting steady work, a temp job can be just what the doctor ordered.



Other benefits of temp work include:

  • Putting yourself on the inside track for a full-time role if one opens up. Many employers bring in workers on a temporary basis initially to see how they perform on the job and fit with the team, then consider these individuals first if there is a full-time need.
  • Enjoying the rewards of working without the stress that can come from having your fortunes tied to just one company.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to a series of temp jobs is getting the chance to prove yourself in multiple settings. That sort of consistency in reliable job performance can greatly increase your confidence when it comes to facing new and unfamiliar challenges over the course of your career.

Get more tips for finding your first job after college.

A good choice for a first job

A first job should prepare you for bigger and better things to come, be it a full-time offer from one of the companies where you were assigned or simply providing you with the experience needed to move on to greener pastures. And once you’ve put in a few stints for successful companies, your resume can look pretty impressive — both to other organizations in need of temporary employees and companies looking to hire a proven candidate for a full-time position.

If you find yourself less than certain about your next step, need greater flexibility than a full-time job may offer or just want to experience more than one workplace early in your career, don’t rule out temp work. After all, there’s a lot to be said for gaining experience and getting paid while deciding just where it is you want to go in the long run.

Start exploring your temp work options with Robert Half.


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