As more businesses are turning to temporary staffing, more workers are joining the ranks of contingent workers. The highly qualified professionals who are joining such extended workforces may be wondering how to best express temporary assignments on their resumes. .
Having a job in hand is always a good thing. There is clear evidence of unpleasant discrimination that some employers practice against an applicant who is unemployed. Unfortunately, a gap in the resume is considered by some hiring managers as an indication of blunted skills, lower capability, and unwillingness to work. Even if they do not jump to any such conclusions, they may just use it as a qualifying parameter, to whittle down a dauntingly huge pile of applications to a more manageable size. Legislative efforts to end this discrimination were discussed in an earlier blog.
Work experience, on the other hand, puts you at a higher level on the learning curve. It shows the world that you are not only capable of contributing value to a business, but that businesses have acknowledged that fact by giving you work. A temporary job also allows you to increase your skills and experience, and to ‘test the waters’ by getting a feel for the work environment and the skills required to become an effective contributor on the job.
So, there is no need at all for you to feel sensitive about listing a temporary work experience on your CV. For the right-minded hiring manager, this would demonstrate a strong work ethic, and a competitive spirit and a tenacious nature on your part. So, go ahead and include that temporary gig on your resume; because enterprise and hard work are always appreciated.
One challenge faced when including contract assignments on a resume is the possibility that the reader will not recognize that each assignment was – by design – temporary. In these cases, the candidate is viewed as someone who cannot or will not hold a job for any reasonable period of time. Format the resume to make this clear. A series of short assignments done as a contractor should be bundled up in a section labeled “Contract Engagements”. Alternatively, if you are attempting to showcase that you were on assignment at a prestigious company, or trying to demonstrate specific industry experience, then state the name of the company followed by “(Contract)”.
Remember that your resume is intended to market you to a prospective employer. You do not have to list every engagement you have ever had. Highlight those that demonstrate the skills that pertain to the type of position you’re currently seeking. Briefly state what you did, what you learned, and how you contributed. For completeness, at the end of the descriptions of highlighted positions, you may want to include a listing of other companies where you were on contractual assignments. Any gaps would then be clearly seen for what they are: breaks between projects and not time spent in complete idleness by choice.
Make sure the work you have done is also listed on LinkedIn and don’t hesitate to ask someone from the client company (your supervisor or a colleague) to endorse your efforts and abilities as that would add further credibility.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the resume can’t secure a job, but it can prevent you from being considered. Recruiters spend very little time scanning a resume. Be sure that your resume highlights your qualifications, and presents your work history in a clear and positive manner.
If you have devised an innovative approach to the matter and do things differently and better, please share them with us.
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