Is Temporary Employment Right for You?

Temp Job FAQ

Co-workers in the office communicate, teamwork
Temps may fill in for absent employees or may work on special assignments. poba / E+ / Getty Images

If you are having trouble finding a full time job or if you don't want to commit to something permanent,  you may want to think about temporary employment. A temp position can keep you afloat when you are between jobs either by choice or by circumstance. This FAQ can help you figure out whether temping is a good option for you.

Where Can You Find a Temp Job?

For a long time temporary employment was primarily for workers with clerical skills.

Temps would cover for secretaries and receptionists who were either on vacation or out sick so they needed to know how to type, answer phones and do filing. These days individuals can find temporary jobs in many occupations. There are positions in law, technology, accounting—pretty much any field.

Who Would Benefit from Temporary Employment?

People in a variety of situations would benefit from temporary employment. It can be a good option for job hunters who are having trouble finding permanent work in their fields. Those who don't want to be tied down to a permanent job may also find a temp job appealing. Take, for example, a stay-at-home parent who only wants to work intermittently to allow for more family time or someone who prefers variety instead of going to the same place of employment every day. Recent college graduates who need to gain experience can do that by temping as can career changers.

For Whom is Temping Not a Good Choice?

While a temp job is great for someone who just wants to use his or her skills to earn a living without being tied down to a single employer, it is not a good choice for someone who aspires to climb the corporate ladder at one company. It is also a bad choice for someone who does not like change.

With each assignment comes having to adjust to a new workplace, often for just a very short period of time.

What Skills Do Temps Need?

The skills an individual needs to land temporary work depend on the type of job he or she is seeking. It varies just as it does for permanent employment. There are assignments for office support staff that require word processing and other basic computer skills in addition to the ability to carry out other duties like answering phones and greeting clients. Then there are more specialized assignments that require skills in the appropriate fields, for example finance or accounting, computer programming or editing.

How Long Does a Temp Job Last?

Since many temp jobs involve covering for workers who are on vacation or out sick, assignments may be as short as a day or as long as a week. Other assignments may be long term, for example if one is hired to work on a project. It can last for several months, weeks or even years.

How Can One Find Temporary Employment?

One can find a temp job by registering with a staffing agency that specializes in temporary employment. Use a search engine such as Google to look for ones in your city. There are some that specialize in particular fields of work.

You can also search for temp jobs on sites like Use the word "temp" as one of your search terms.

Who Pays a Temp's Salary?

One's paycheck usually comes from the staffing agency that hires the temp and sends him or her out on assignments.

Can a Temp Get Benefits Such As Health Insurance?

Staffing agencies often provide access to group benefit plans. Temps will usually have to pay their own premiums but since it is a group plan, the amount you will have to pay will generally be lower than it would be for individual coverage.

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