Temporary to Permanent Jobs

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A temp-to-perm job is one that starts out as a temporary position, but turns into a permanent position. The employee could be hired with the possibility of a temporary assignment turning into a permanent job. Or, at some point during the assignment, the company may decide they would like the employee to stay on and offer them a permanent position.

Should you consider a temp-to-perm job? Even though most job seekers would prefer a permanent position right off the bat, a temporary job is a way to help pay the bills and could lead to permanent employment with the company you're temping at.

A Good Option in Competitive Job Markets

Temp jobs can be an excellent foot in the door for job seekers, particularly when the job market is very competitive. In a competitive job market, there are far more people looking for jobs than there are available positions. Employers have an advantage. They can be pickier about who they hire.


Temp-to-perm positions allow companies to "try before they buy," testing out an employee's abilities before making a formal offer with benefits.

An interviewreferences, and a resume can provide a good sense of a candidate's abilities, but nothing beats observing an employee on the job for knowing if they are a good fit for a company.

Often, temp employees are hired through a temp agency. For companies, that means the burden of interviewing and making hiring decisions is reduced. Instead of sorting through hundreds of resumes, they will only review a handful from the temp agency's pre-screened candidates.

Sometimes a temp job is temporary because the need for the position is short-term or seasonal. For instance, many retail jobs hire heavily during the busy holiday season, but no longer need as many employees once January returns and exchanges are complete.

Advantages for Employees

It may seem like employers, who get to test-drive workers, are the big winners when it comes to temp-to-perm positions. But employees have several advantages as well:

1. Assess Job Fit

It can be hard for employers to know if a potential candidate is a good fit for the company. But the reverse is true as well: often it can be hard to tell if a job is right for you. Temp-to-perm positions allow you to get insight into the responsibilities involved in a position.

2. Learn New Skills

Temp jobs are a great way to learn new skills. From using cash register systems to discovering new phone techniques, even a short-lived position can provide a great deal of training.

3. Easily Try New Careers

When you're not sure what you want to do next, a temp job can be an excellent way to explore a potential new career path. Since the position is temporary, employers may show a greater willingness to take on a candidate without much direct experience.

4. Expand Your Resume

Even if you only work a temp position for a few months, you will probably learn a lot and be able to expand the skills section on your resume, as well as adding new jobs. During a holiday season stint at a retail store, you'll learn to use the cash register, help customers (even difficult ones), and track inventory.

Another Type of Temp-to-Perm: Seasonal Jobs

Think seasonal jobs are just for lifeguards or Macy’s elves? Think again. While some of these gigs do have limited spans, others can provide a valuable entry into a new industry. For example, UPS says that over the last three years, 35% of their seasonal package handlers went on to permanent positions at the organization.

"Seasonal work can be a valuable opportunity for job seekers to not only gain new skills and experience but to also land full-time permanent positions," said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America, in a statement. "Job seekers looking for seasonal work should prepare their resumes and look into open positions sooner rather than later, as a significant number of employers start hiring for seasonal positions in October."

Tips for Getting Temp Positions

Apply Early to Seasonal Jobs.The best time to apply for seasonal work is earlier than you think. Per CoolWorks, January through March is the busiest time for recruiting for summer jobs, and the winter recruiting season generally begins in July or August.

Be Professional. Especially if you’re hoping to turn a temporary job into a permanent position, it’s important to bring your A-game to the interview. Research the organization, come prepared to answer (and ask!) the right questions, and dress appropriately for the company culture. In short: act as you would if you were interviewing for a full-time, permanent job.

Don’t Focus on the Fringe Benefits. It’s fine if you’re secretly excited about free concert tickets or access to the pool, but don’t mention it in the interview. The hiring manager will want to see that you care about the work, not just the fun parts of the job.

How to Turn Temp Into Perm

Some employees may value the temp nature of a position, but if you're looking to get hired full-time, try these tips to make yourself an attractive permanent hire:

1. Follow Company Culture

Some companies have a work-through-lunch culture, while others support employees gathering in the kitchen for group lunches. Follow the culture of the company you're at, in terms of hours, socializing, meeting behavior, etc.

2. Be Responsible

Think of your temp time as an audition. Show up on time, avoid leaving early or taking excessive days off, and in general, be a dependable employee.

3. Do Your Best Work

As well as showing up when you're supposed to, be the best possible employee for the position. Define in your head what would be good work, whether it's filing all papers by the end of the day, upselling sweaters, or serving customers with consistent good cheer, and then always provide it.

4. Go the Extra Mile

Volunteer for extra work and help co-workers when they need a hand. Your enthusiasm and commitment will show the employer that you're the right candidate for a long-term, permanent position.

5. Network

Doing a good job discretely may not be enough to get you noticed and hired on full-time. Make an effort to interact with co-workers, to showcase your work, and to ensure that those with hiring power are aware of your value as an employee.

6. Ask for an Opportunity

Of course, it's important to make your desire for the permanent position known. Set up a time to meet with your manager and state that you'd like to work full-time. Ask for feedback on your work, and establish a timeline for a decision if possible. During this conversation, you'll want to avoid being pushy, while still making your intentions clear.

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  1. CareerOneStop. "Temp Agencies." Accessed Jan. 19, 2020.

  2. Wonolo. "Advantages of Temp-to-Perm Hiring: Benefits, Best Practices, and More." Accessed Jan. 19, 2020.

  3. UPS. "UPS To Hire About 100,000 For Holiday Season." Accessed Jan. 19, 2020.

  4. CareerBuilder. "CareerBuilder Survey Reveals Top Areas for Seasonal Jobs." Accessed Jan. 19, 2020.

  5. CoolWorks. "Best Time to Apply for Different Seasons." Accessed Jan. 19, 2020.

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