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As a temp, how do you effectively use time in between contracts to progress your skills?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

In the past, critics have called Temporary work precarious and uncertain. However, recent developments to the industry and to the workforce have allowed Candidates and Employers to source value from the flexible nature of the industry.

There are now more than 1.5 million temporary workers in the UK, which makes up around 5.7 per cent of the country’s working population, and it shows no sign of slowing.

The main difference between Permanent and Temporary roles are the potential breaks in Employment between one job and the next. However, breaks are not necessarily a negative thing and there are many constructive pursuits you can take up during this spare time to propel you to further career success:

Broaden your horizons with courses:

Free time is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in education. It has never been easier to find flexible courses that will suit your interests.

You may find that your local college offers a great range of part-time courses that can generally be completed online, rather than in-person. Conveniently, this allows you to participate in the course of your choice, even if it’s not near your home town. You can even pick up that degree that you have been striving for, part-time and in a flexible way. The ability to combine your Temporary work with your adaptable studies is more achievable than ever.

Of course, degrees and higher level qualifications can be pricey. If you are keen to save money, think local, as it is likely that low-price courses are offered near you. From language lessons to business management workshops; remember every new skill is a potential asset to an Employer.

If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, check out LinkedIn Learning. They offer online virtual classes from industry experts who are passionate about teaching. The best part is that the first month is free, and you are under no obligation to continue your subscription thereafter. Classes range from a variety of topics, such as time-management to project management and whatever your choice, your next Employer will be blown away by your commitment to self-improvement.

Give your CV a makeover:

A career break will also offer you the opportunity to perform a CV update. Not only will you need to add your last role to it, but it gives you the opportunity to iron out any creases, and revise the language you use.

Remember, gaps in Employment for Temporary workers are quite common, and are not frowned upon. Just be sure to emphasise productive measures you are making in this time off. Are you writing a blog, volunteering, aiding a project? Filling in the gaps will show resourcefulness and a strong sense of productivity.

Whilst you’re at it, don’t forget that cover letter. Recruiters will skim through hundreds of cover letters a day, and it’s unlikely they will read on if it doesn’t grab their attention. Length, form and language are all important considerations. For more extensive advice on cover letters, our Managing Director, Kate Allen, had her say in SheerLuxe Magazine.

Re-evaluate your five year plan

While you’re sat at the computer beautifying your CV and cover letter, it may also be the perfect time to revisit that extensive five year plan of yours. If you don’t have one, there couldn’t be a better time to initiate it.

Not only do five year plans encourage independent thinking and creativity, but research shows that people who write down goals are 33% more likely to achieve them. On top of that, these people reportedly will earn up to nine times as much in their lifetimes as people who don’t.

A break in work can be a blessing not a hindrance for Temporary workers. Not only does taking these tips show initiative and assertion, it indicates that you are willing to invest into your professional future. And if you will, your next Employer may want to as well.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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