Are you an Information Technology expert who needs to walk away from the job from time to time? Are you dealing with a disability that allows you to work some or most of the time, but would cripple a mission-critical team if you were the only person on duty? Temp agencies are a great way to find short term positions that don't require an awkward resignation after more than a year or two, but not all temps know how to make their career move forward and upward. Here are a few ways to keep your skills honed while climbing the skill and income ladder as a temp.
Certifications Are Your Goal
Depending on where you are in your career, the types of temp jobs available will greatly depend on certifications. Although experience can command a higher wage in many areas, you may be limited to either technical support, help desk, or working with a known installation crew. If you're not well-known in contractor circuits, certifications are your friend.
Aim for certifications that will keep you in a large pool of available work, then look for the higher-paying certifications. It's better to have options after your project ends than to work for a specific, high-paying position that may not hire you. This is especially true if the position isn't available on a regular basis.
There are times where the risk may be worth your time, but unless you've already worked in a specialized position and already have general certifications such as the CompTIA A+ cert in your records, it's a gamble.
The ideal temp job will pay for one cert per year. Look for certifications that are both in demand by other jobs and with long expiration dates. Two or 3 years before renewal is fine, but if you're dealing with 1-year renewal requirements, make sure that the pay is worth your time. You should have bills covered for months and a car in perfect condition before relying on a yearly renewal.
Opportunity For Full-Time
Some positions use temp jobs as a trial period for potential employees. In some cases, a company may not want to keep workers who lack the skills for working at an acceptable quality and pace. Companies also realize that some of their positions can be staffed by people who don't want to show up every day, such retirees and disabled professionals.
If you want a full-time job but can only find temp work, this is your chance--and you may even have multiple chances. Take your time to learn not only the job, but the company culture and what they expect from a future employee.
If you're not hired, find out why. Administrative problems can't be helped, and you can stay in good graces by returning for another contract or simply being understanding of budget or general staffing concerns. If it's your performance, ask for feedback and work on your negative areas.
Even if you're hired, remember the temp worker situation that you came from. You may be in a full-time job now, but any company closures or workforce downsizing plans could send you back to the temp pool. Stay on good terms with the temp agency and keep an eye out the certifications being requested by new, different companies. If not to keep your options open, then just to see how the industry is managing.
Contact a temp agency professional to discuss available IT positions and companies that can help with your education and career.