The Benefits of Temp Work for College Students

May 10, 2011

When you’re in college, you most likely want to concentrate on your studies, and spending time with friends, both new and old. The last thing that you really want to think about is dealing with temp work. After all, if you have enough money through scholarships, financial aid, or from your parents, then temp work may seem like something of a novelty. Considering that many temp jobs pay around minimum wage or even slightly higher, it may not seem worth it.

Yet temp work during college can do a tremendous amount for the average college student. It not only builds character (yes, character-building is an important facet of college life), but it can also teach you many basic skills that will come in handy when you’re applying for a career position once you have your diploma in hand.

Temp work during college shows that you can handle more than one responsibility at a time

If you begin to think like a hiring manager of a major company, which would you rather have as an employee: a college graduate who only went to classes, or the one who not only went to classes, but also held down a solid temp job to make some extra money. The answer should be quite easy to see, but the details could be disguised a bit.

When looking at temp work history, a hiring manager sees it as an opportunity that you either took or didn’t take to strengthen your resume. Sure, you may not need the money because of one of the reasons listed already, but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from it. Taking on temp work shows that you can manage your time and be able to handle multiple responsibilities, which is important in the working world.

Temp work teaches you new skills

Sure, you may not want to have a career in fast food, especially not once you’ve earned your diploma, but just because there’s a temp job available at the local fast food restaurant doesn’t mean that you’ll have to stay there for life. Even the most seemingly menial jobs have great benefits for many people, not the least of which is that they teach you new skills.

Have you ever dealt with an angry customer? Have you ever needed to keep track of inventory? What about managing a cash drawer? These may seem like basic skills, but you don’t learn them from reading a book. Life experience is often said to be as important as, if not more so in some cases, than book smarts. Temp work gives you that real world experience that is crucial to success in the professional world.

Temp work builds character

When you are forced to work with people you either don’t know, or don’t care for, you learn how to manage your emotions, to put them in check for the greater good of the business itself. This builds character and is one of the main selling points to a company in the future.

While it can be easy to scoff at temp work during your college years, having those small jobs can equal major benefits to your résumé once you’ve earned your degree.

Curt Canada is a Career and Life Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC.


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