Temporary work, whether it's contract positions, freelance assignment, or temp-to-perm roles, plays a crucial role in your professional journey. These experiences can bring valuable skills, diverse perspectives, and adaptability to your skill set. In this blog, we'll explore how to effectively include temporary work on your resume. Whether you’re looking for another temporary role or a permanent position, it’s important to make it easy for a prospective employer or recruitment partner to identify your skills and experience that meet the requirements for an advertised job; maximising the likelihood of being shortlisted for interview.
What is the objective of your resume?
It is always best practice to align your resume with the job you are applying for, emphasising the experience and skills that are most relevant to the role. Take some time to run through the job description you are considering and align your skills and experience, whether through temporary or permanent contracts, to those requirements first so you are across what you need to highlight most.
How will you structure your resume?
Before diving into the specifics, it's essential to have a well-structured resume. Your career history will determine whether you run with a chronological or functional format, but even if you’re splitting it up by function make sure that those functions are ordered with the most recent experience first. If you have completed a number of temporary assignments through the same recruitment agency it can help to curate your list of roles under the banner of working for that agency, almost grouping those smaller assignments into one bigger period of employment.
Being specific about your tasks is key. Ensure that each temporary role's entry directly aligns with the position you're targeting. If you worked for a short period of time within a larger project, list your specific mini-projects instead and the areas you handled, rather than the overall project. This specificity not only provides clarity to prospective employers but also maximises your chances of being shortlisted for interviews.
If you are a career contractor who has done many temp roles throughout your professional life, consider condensing your experience into a career summary if it's too lengthy. Employers can view the career summary (listing just companies, role titles, and date ranges) for an overview of your history, and then read further in detail in the full experience section if they choose. In the world of resume crafting, brevity is often valued.
Contracting is not a dirty word!
Don't shy away from labeling roles as temporary or contract positions. Explicitly note why these are short-term tenures, showcasing the specialised nature of your work. This transparency can be an asset, illustrating your adaptability and ability to excel in diverse environments.
In the realm of permanent roles, people typically transition every 2-3 years. Any tenure shorter than that may be perceived as negative. However, it's essential to convey that temp work holds equal importance. Highlight the niche expertise it brings, showcasing that the immediateness of temporary availability is a benefit. Temporary work often allows for a more focused and specialised skill set, making it just as valuable as permanent positions.
Expand on the Most Relevant Temporary Work
Not all temporary work experiences are equally significant to a specific opportunity. Focus in more detail on the temporary roles that most closely align with the position you're applying for. Emphasise the skills, achievements, and responsibilities from these experiences that are directly related to the job requirements.
Describe Achievements and Responsibilities
Under each temporary work entry, use strong action verbs to start bullet points. Highlight key accomplishments and responsibilities, making sure to quantify your achievements with numbers or metrics whenever possible. This will help demonstrate the impact you had in these roles and provide tangible evidence of your skills.
Address Employment Gaps Transparently
If you have employment gaps in your permanent work history due to temporary work or any other reasons, address them transparently in your resume. Explain the gaps, mentioning how you utilized this time for parental leave, professional development, freelancing, or temporary work. This shows potential employers that you are upfront about your entire career history and are proactive and committed to continuous growth.
Showcase Transferable Skills
Temporary work often provides opportunities to acquire a diverse set of skills, including adaptability, time management, and the ability to work in different team dynamics. Be sure to highlight these transferable skills in your resume, as they are highly valuable to employers looking for versatile candidates.
Include Any Completed Training
Career contractors often value growth and development over stability and security. Emphasise your commitment to continuous learning and improvement. If you've undertaken training during your temporary roles, include it in your resume to validate your skills and demonstrate your dedication to staying current in your field.
By incorporating these nuances into your resume strategy, you not only align with the overarching objective of tailoring your resume to the specific job but also enhance the narrative around your temporary work, showcasing its significance and specialisation. This approach positions you as a well-rounded and adaptable candidate, emphasising both the immediate impact and long-term growth in your professional journey. Don't underestimate the power of temporary work in shaping your professional journey; it's a valuable asset that can make your resume stand out.
Written in tandem with Reo Group Temp Specialist Megan Timmins