Temporary Employment, Internships, Good Idea or Not?

Why should you consider a temp job?
Two reasons:

  1. Because today there is a hiring mentality of “try before you buy”. Offering temporary employment allows a company to test the suitability of a potential employee and reduce the risk of hiring someone that won’t work out—which is expensive on many levels.
  2. Studies show that people who stop working are less likely to go back to work. No matter what, you should keep working. Even if it’s not a job you want. A client and recent grad worked at an eatery. He asked the manager to work most of his entire 40-hour week on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays, so his weekdays were open for his job search.

Most grads know to look for internships. If they haven’t graduated yet, then they may land an unpaid internship. Once they have their diploma, a paid internship is often the way to permanent employment.


  • Apply early!
  • Apply for opportunities that appeal to you and emphasize the aspects of your degree that you enjoy the most.
  • Check the company website for required application forms that are not mentioned on the job postings.
  • Be enthusiastic about the potential.
  • Use the opportunity wisely: Network, ask for referrals, build your LinkedIn profile with recommendations and connections.
  • If you don’t get permanent employment, leave well and stay connected.
  • See the tips below as well.

For the mid-career job-seeker, temporary work may be called project work, consultant opportunities, or contract work. The pay is not likely to be as good as permanent employment. However, if you interview for a position and are offered a temporary assignment, realize you are likely being scrutinized for future employment.


  • Consider it an extended interview, an audition, a proving ground.
  • Show flexibility and initiative.
  • Be a team player.
  • Be enthusiastic about the potential.
  • Use the opportunity to network, find references, build up your LinkedIn profile.
  • If you don’t get permanent employment, leave well and stay connected.

Additional Links

Need help? Consider a Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop, where you will learn how to carefully assess and respond to the Job Requirements section using the Forward Motion Template.

Check out the Forward Motion Blog: Ernest Answers

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