Lots of job seekers are conflicted about taking on temporary work, thinking it will jeopardize their permanent job search. It’s a dilemma we coach a lot on, so our own  Lily Brewer shared her thoughts on the matter.

With summer now over, the number of new opportunities are more prevalent this time of year, both contract and permanent. As a job seeker, you may be confronted with the same dilemma – do I take a temp job and risk missing out on my dream opportunity? Or do I miss out on a great temp opportunity to wait for my dream job that may or may not be right around the corner?

To answer this, I would like to highlight the benefits of being proactive and taking on temporary opportunities, and how this can actually help you find that permanent dream job!

1. Avoid Gaps in Your Resume

There can a misunderstanding between a “jumpy” resume, and one that is strategically filled with contract roles.  As long as you clearly identify your contract jobs as temporary assignments, having temporary assignments shows your adaptability, ability to learn new things quickly, and your initiative to work.  I haven’t had a client voice concern over a resume with a lot of contract roles, but I have heard concern regarding resumes with large gaps.

2. Money of Course!

Temping is a wonderful way to keep a pay check coming in week after week. You get paid your hourly wage plus vacation pay paid out weekly so your life doesn’t need to be put on hold just because your job search has been.

3. Temp-to-Perm Assignments

If you have considered temp work in the past, I am sure you have heard your recruiter say the phrase, “of course there is always the opportunity for the role to become permanent.” These are called ‘Temp-to-Perm’ or Temporary-to-Permanent assignments. Hiring managers knowingly approach roles with the expectation that they become permanent. But they may or may not choose to have this disclosed to the candidate up front. That way they can see the truest working nature of the temp before making a permanent hiring decision.

4. Opportunity to Turn Every Temp Assignment Into a Permanent Role

This is another example of why your recruiter will typically avoid saying there is 0% chance that a role will become permanent. I have had clients tell me they have no room or need for a permanent person on their team, and after only a few weeks of a stellar temp, they make the space available. Often this decision is made because the temp brings a skill set to the table they didn’t now they even needed, or is such a perfect fit in their culture that they just have to hire them. Every temp assignment is an opportunity to prove yourself invaluable to and positively influence a team.

5. Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Having a temporary assignment doesn’t have to mean your permanent job search stops. I always ask my contract employees to commit to the entire length of the contract and to structure their permanent search in a way that will not conflict with their temp assignment. But sometimes your dream job does present itself in the middle of an assignment; and hopefully you have chosen to work with a recruiter who supports your goals and can guide you through accepting your exciting new opportunity without burning any bridges!

Here are a few tips on how to do that:

  • The first thing to remember is that your new employer expects you’ll need to give two weeks’ notice, and would be very nervous about hiring a candidate who is willing to leave a contract with no notice – this could even be a deal breaker!
  • The second thing to remember is that start dates can be negotiated.  In this hot market, employers choose a start date as soon as possible to make sure they don’t lose great candidates, but if they know you need extra time to wrap up an assignment, they will probably be equally willing to push the date as well.
  • The last thing is that when you partner with a firm, and more importantly a recruiter, who understands and buys into your goals, they will work with you and celebrate your permanent job offer and help you negotiate the acceptance and notice period.


Lily specializes in recognizing top accounting professionals, understanding the motivation behind their search, and linking these top players to Edmonton’s most respected employers. She is truly passionate about finding the right fit for her clients and candidates and building long lasting relationships. Lily works solely in temporary and contract recruitment in the Edmonton area, bringing valuable experience in building and managing teams and businesses to her clients. In a previous role with a multibillion dollar global company, she proved to be an accomplished business builder and problem solver. In a short period of five years, Lily rose to lead a team of fifty individuals, opening a new business sector for the company.