Taking on temp gigs now and then can be great for your career. Maybe you’re deliberately temping for a short period of time to try out a new industry , or maybe your short-term job is paying the bills as you’re searching for a full-time position.
Either way, you’re making some cash, gaining some new skills and contacts—and probably wondering how to shine a positive light on the whole experience on your resume.
It’s common knowledge that employers don’t want to hire someone who is a flight risk. So, how do you put all this short-term experience on your resume without looking like you jumped ship after just a few months? Here are a couple strategies for handling this.
1. Label It
It’s incredibly unlikely for any hiring manager to not be aware of the tough job market since 2008. With this in mind, it’s perfectly fine to just label your work as temporary in your resume, especially if you only have one or two temp experiences. Counterintuitively, it may even signal to your hiring manager that you’re more than ready to settle down.
Just remember, as with the rest of the resume, make sure you are consistent. Choose whether you want to call the experience “temporary,” “temp,” or “contract” and stick with it.
The Smith Company,
Office Receptionist; Temporary (Feb – May 2014)
• Oversaw reception area…
• Greeted new clients…
The Jones Company,
Front Desk Assistant; Contract (Mar – Dec 2013)
• Managed schedule of…
• Redirected phone calls…
2. Group it Together
Alternatively, if you have more than a couple of temp experiences, you may want to group them together. This is particularly true if your temp work involved very short-term projects and had more of a freelance vibe to it .
You can either list all your experiences under the temp company you’re working with (especially if it’s well-known for a strong vetting process) or under your own consulting business. To tie all your experiences together, try including a short, descriptive paragraph that connects all your work under a common theme.
Liz Allen Marketing,
Greater Boston Area, MA
Assisted with multiple marketing-related projects for a diverse range of companies with a particular emphasis on further developing nascent social media outreach efforts and online community building.
Marketing Assistant, Package Shipping Company
(Apr – May 2014)
- Increased efforts for…
- Assisted with social media…
Social Media Specialist, Independent Coffee House
(Feb – Mar 2014)
- Revamped existing strategy…
- Spearheaded new initiative…
Marketing Coordinator, Local Bank
- Coordinated logistics for…
- Collaborated with…
No matter how you decide to do it, don’t forget to follow the basic principles of good resume writing ! Quantify your bullet points ; focus on achievement and impact rather than responsibilities; and keep all your formatting consistent, especially if your career path has wandered a bit. Temp experiences can be confusing for recruiters, so make sure they’re explained in a way that makes sense and is easy to read. And remember: Done right, temp experiences aren’t obstacles—they’re serious assets for your career.
Photo of notebook courtesy of Shutterstock .
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author