College students can learn from temporary roles


It’s that time again — the semester is wrapping up and time for college students to search for summer employment. Working for a temporary agency and getting sent out on different jobs, and to perhaps do a range of things, can be a way to make good money and learn new skills at the same time.

“Working temporary jobs in the summer is a fantastic way to learn about different industries. I always recommend that college students gain exposure to as many types of jobs and industries as they can,” said Keith Wolf, managing director of Murray Resources. “While you’re still in college, it’s a great opportunity to learn about what you like about different jobs — and maybe more importantly, what you don’t like. The realities of your ‘dream job’ could be much different than you think. It’s better to learn that in a few weeks than to spend a few years finding out after graduation.”

Wolf said that while a job as a temporary employee is likely going to be very different than a full-time staffer, you can learn about the industry, the type of work they do and the different types of roles that may be available — maybe some you weren’t yet aware of and might be interested in pursuing.
If you can’t picture yourself one day doing the job of any of the full-time employees in the office where you are “temping,” that’s a pretty good indication that the industry and/or company may not be a good fit for you after graduation.
In addition, when doing temporary work, you will no doubt experience different office environments, leadership styles and people.
“Traditional summer jobs can help prepare young people for their post-college careers. These jobs often produce valuable experiences and can help you gain critical skills that employers will prize,” said Brandi Clark, regional vice president for Robert Half. “Throughout one’s career, there will be many managers with different leadership styles, and learning how to work for a variety of leadership approaches is key to one’s success.”
Clark said their staffing firm, Accountemps, conducted a survey on this topic and found that 98 percent of professionals say that these jobs, more than anything, have helped them learn valuable soft skills that translate across many careers.
“Staffing firms often have assignments for which students or recent college graduates may be a match. It’s another way to obtain work experience, meet prospective employers and learn about different companies.
“Even if the job is outside your chosen area of study, the soft skills you learn — like customer service, communication and teamwork — can all help prepare you for future jobs after graduation,” Clark said.

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