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The Growing Popularity of Temporary Work

Temporary employment is gaining real traction in the employment landscape. More companies are using temporary workers, and more people are working as temporary employees. Today, nearly three million individuals in the United States work as temporary workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—a record share of the nation’s workforce at about two percent.
And this figure doesn’t even include people who classify themselves as “freelance” or “contingent workers.”

Not long ago, temporary workers were predominately clerical or hospitality workers, but that’s no longer the case. Today, the largest faction of temporary workers—about 42 percent—is hired by light industry as factory and warehouse workers.

There’s also been a seismic shift in attitudes about temporary workers. In the past, companies would hire temporary workers rather than add full-time positions when the economy was performing poorly. Once economic indicators started looking up, they’d fill those full-time posts. But with the economic recovery still on shaky ground and the impact of the Affordable Care Act, payroll tax hikes, unemployment taxes and workers compensation now hitting full force, many businesses are rethinking their manpower strategies and leveraging temporary workers for longer periods of time—sometimes indefinitely. That doesn’t mean a temp position will never transition into a full-time job. The American Staffing Association reports that nearly 18 percent of them do each year. Still, that means the majority that won’t.

Given the current landscape, it’s a good idea to embrace temporary work, if you can.
Temporary employment can offer tremendous flexibility—making it possible to address other interests or concerns, such as elder and childcare issues, school schedules and other daily aspects of life.

It also helps you stay relevant in the workforce while you look for a full-time position, build contacts and access to individuals who are in a position to hire you for a full-time position.
Temporary work is a powerful tool you can leverage in your search for full-time employment. Just make sure you are focused, conscientious and do a good job—whatever your temporary role may be.

Here are some tips about ways you can make yourself more marketable as a temporary worker.

Don’t think of yourself as a lowly temp. Don’t let negative self-talk put you in a funk. Temporary workers aren’t second-class citizens. Even if it isn’t your dream job, always do your best work. Connections and a positive reputation with your employer—even a temporary one—is the currency that will land you a full-time position down the road.

Realize that no task is beneath you. When asked by USA Today what she looks for in a candidate, Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, said it is a willingness to do whatever is needed. Is the candidate willing to take out the trash? No one wants to be seen as the lowly temp, but a high-and-mighty attitude doesn’t get people very far. Be a team player who is observant and helpful. Approach every project and task with a positive outlook. A great attitude never goes unnoticed. It will set you apart from others, earn you the respect of your employer, and consideration when other job opportunities come up.

Go above and beyond. If you’ve finished your assigned tasks for the day, ask what else you can do to help. Arrive on time for work every day, and don’t be overly eager to rush out at quitting time. Exceed expectations and demonstrate an outstanding work ethic. Show how dependable you can be.

Be nice. The old adage “it’s all about who you know” isn’t really true. It is all about who likes and respects you. Temporary work allows you to truly network. This is different than sitting at your computer and “connecting” with strangers on LinkedIn or “friending” acquaintances on Facebook who really can’t endorse your work ethic, ability to work well with others, capabilities or capacity to meet deadlines. People who like and respect you will be better advocates for you. Every day, show your temporary employer that you are eager to get to work.

Consider Snelling as part of your job search. We have offices across the nation and a talented staff that is ready to help you find your best-fit opportunity. Find your local Snelling office and begin your online job search today!

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