Temporary and temporary-to-hire work is a great way for job seekers to gain experience while allowing them access to a local employer.  However, many do not even consider this option because of (what turns out to be) misconceptions about temporary work.  Misconceptions (or myths or whatever you want to call them) can keep you from nabbing a new job, and it would be a shame to have a myth keep you from a promising future.

So let me take a moment to address the 5 most common myths around temporary work.

Myth #1 – Working as a temporary worker will pigeon-hole me as a temporary worker.

On average, there were 2.91 million temporary and contract workers employed by human capital management firms every day from April to June of 2012 (Source:  American Staffing Association).   This is 5.4% higher than during the same period last year and the 10th consecutive quarter of year-to-year growth since the recession ended.

The old rules no longer apply.   As the economy slowly (ever so slowly) continues to improve, companies are leveraging temporary workers for the flexibility they need and as a recruiting tool. So if your ultimate goal is to find a full-time position, taking on a temporary role will help you avoid long periods of unemployment and circumvent those gaps in your resume.  It will also allow you to keep your current skills up-to-date, learn new skills, broaden your professional network, and cement your reputation as a valuable worker.

Myth #2 – Temporary work is low-level, low-paying work.

This is not the case.  According to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), professional temporary staffing is expected to grow at a faster rate than commercial staffing (which includes office/clerical and industrial work) through 2013.  The professional fields that are expected to grow fastest?  They are engineering/design, clinical/scientific, IT and marketing/creative.

Human capital management firms want and need highly skilled individuals to meet their clients’ expectations.  That means that they will offer competitive wages and benefits that are in line with full-time employees.

Myth #3 – I won’t have access to benefits.

That is not necessarily true.  Depending on the human capital management firm, temporary workers have access to a variety of “real” benefits.  These include direct deposit, medical/dental insurance, 401(k), life insurance and vision insurance.

For example, temporary associates at Snelling have the option of having their paycheck either direct deposited to their bank account or deposited onto a prepaid cash card, which allows access your funds at nearly 1 million ATMs worldwide.  We also provide a 401(K) plan, which associates are able to participate in after approximately 30 days of employment.  Finally, we provide medical/dental/vision/ health insurance as well as being one of the few firms that offers holiday pay.

Myth #4 – Having temporary work on my resume will make it unattractive to employers.

Showing how you have gained and developed skills can only strengthen your resume.  You have to remember that temporary work and contract assignments are becoming more and more common.  In many cases, the experience that is gained in temporary work is transferrable and relevant to other companies and industries.  There are several benefits to working with a human capital management firm that will show well on a resume if it is done correctly.  Check out our Candidate Connection Blog, titled “Showcasing Temporary Experience on Your Resume” for some tips and tricks to successfully accomplish this.

Myth #5 – Taking temporary assignments will interfere with my search for a full-time job.

It could actually enhance it.  Today, searching for a full-time position takes a multi-pronged approach, and leveraging temporary employment needs to be one of those approaches.   Many businesses are using temporary-to-hire positions as a way to evaluate possible new hires in order to avoid the costly mistake of making a bad hire. The economy is recovering, but it is recovering slowly, and employers are still leery of hiring full-time employees.  These employers work with human capital management firms as an effective way to meet their needs in today’s economy.   So embrace it, for it is also a way for you to find out if you would really like to work in a particular industry, for a particular company or with a particular group of people.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.