Graduate Jobs: Why you might want to try before you buy

For graduates and final year students, the search to secure a dream role straight from university can often prove to be a stressful one. With multiple exams and coursework to complete, lengthy job applications add to a long list of competing priorities.

Faced with this, panic and anxiety can creep in. It doesn’t have to, though, because a graduate scheme with a large multinational is not the only option available.

Temporary employment is a viable and useful route, particularly for those with little experience and not sure of their desired career direction. For graduates, the five key benefits of temporary employment include

1. Your interests

As a graduate it can be difficult to know which position, or even sector, you wish to work in. Temporary positions give you the opportunity to try out different areas and roles. Unlike a typical graduate role, you don’t have to commit yourself to something for two years or more that you might end up regretting.

It gives you the chance to learn a range of new commercial skills and further your career prospects. After completing a few assignments you may want to change your career plan completely. It is not uncommon for graduates to discover opportunities they never anticipated or thought existed.

Temporary work allows you to ‘test-drive’ a potential role or sector and discover if it’s something you’re truly interested in.

2. Experience

During university, part-time positions can prove useful for developing your soft skills, such as teamwork and reliability. However, having relevant industry experience — in our case within the financial, accounting and legal sectors — will prove invaluable when applying for future positions.

Securing a temporary position within these sectors will get your “foot in the door” of some successful organisations and offer you the chance to really make a positive impression — and in companies you might have been unsuccessful with through the graduate scheme route.

Here it is important to focus on the experience and not the remuneration. Although temporary positions are competitive for entry level roles, the experience is the most important thing at this stage. The knowledge and exposure a temporary position can offer will compensate in the long term for a modest hourly rate.

3. Flexibility

The flexibility of temporary work can often be used to your advantage. Before applying make sure you are clear in your own mind about the hours, location and the type of work you would like to be involved in, as roles can vary from weeks to months. Ask yourself:

  • Are you looking for a stopgap purely to raise funds for a trip overseas?
  • Maybe you are trying to gain relevant experience within a specific field?

Provided you have a strong work ethic and positive attitude, there is a possibility that you can return to the employer.

4. Temp-to-perm route

A more and more common method of recruitment for employers, the temp-to-perm route can have benefits for both parties. You can get a feel for the roles available within the company and also your colleagues and company culture. This gives you the opportunity to see whether the position is right for you in the long term.

The average length of a temporary position is around six months but can frequently be extended to over a year, and there can often be the prospect of a permanent position in the future. But make yourself indispensable if you wish to join the company on this basis.

The temp-to-perm route is also a good option if you are attempting to break into a highly competitive field, especially in finance. A temporary position in a relevant organisation could give you the extra edge you need to achieve the job you are aiming for.

Ultimately, you’re trying before you buy — allowing you to experience the role and company first hand rather than reading about its values and ethos on the company website.

5. Continue your search

While temping you can continue to look for permanent opportunities and can also apply for internal vacancies. Rather than settling for something unappealing taken out of desperation, you can continue to search the market and gain valuable experience at the same time.

Not all roles will necessarily be five days a week. This can free up your time for intensive job hunting or for further studying towards qualifications such as the CFA, ACCA or a diploma in law for example.

Explore your options

If the benefits of temporary employment appeal to you, do have a look at the number of opportunities we have across the financial, accounting and legal sectors. Our consultants also provide CV and interview guidance for graduates which can prove to be particularly useful if you have been unsuccessful in finding a role.

The year which follows over a decade of education is perhaps the one in which you learn the most. Just make sure you explore all your options.

Julia Patience, Associate Consultant, Core-Asset Solutions