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When you’re at a career transition point – say, just starting out in your career, struggling to find a job, or needing to “get a foot in the door” after a move to a new community – working a temporary job, or “temping,” can be your best friend.

It can also be a great solution for those who simply prefer the variety of temporary or project work to the predictability of a permanent position.

Temping Can Help Build Your LIS Career Options
In terms of career benefits, temporary LIS work provides you with opportunities to:

  1. try out different types of work to get a first-hand sense of pros and cons.
  2. get to know potential employers, and have an opportunity to dazzle them as a temp before you approach them for a permanent position – essentially positioning yourself as a known, and valuable, commodity.
  3. start building a professional network of references, contacts, and sources of potential job openings if you’re either just starting out in your career or have recently moved to a new community.
  4. start building your professional reputation and brand among multiple groups of colleagues.
  5. start building a portfolio of projects and accomplishments.
  6. potentially position yourself for permanent employment if that’s what you seek.

In addition, temping can be a great way to try out a specific career path before you make too big of a commitment to or investment in it. (For example, many students pursuing an archives specialization have realized that they’d much rather be around people than archival material after doing temporary work in an archives, although others found that it was exactly their right spot….)

How to Locate Temporary Jobs
There are four ways to approach finding temporary jobs: 1) sign up with temporary staffing/project agencies in the LIS field; 2) sign up with general staffing/project agencies in your region with a focus on information-skills jobs; and/or 3) for companies of interest, scan their website job sections for announcements of project or temporary work.

Although temporary work probably isn’t your career goal, as a career-building tool while you’re trying to create other full-time, permanent opportunities, it’s a terrific option.