Junior Job Hunter: why I took a temp job (and didn't regret it)

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In the latest of his "Junior Job Hunter" series, our columnist tells us about his time as a Big Four temp. If you haven't read his other articles, click here and


I've been employed in a temporary position with a Big Four Bank for two months now. While my role could best be described as a cog in the 'white collar production line', temping has actually been of some benefit to me.

When I took the job, I got a call from a friend who knew of a similar, but permanent, position with a small private firm. I did not pursue this opportunity. Although it provided better security than a three-month contract, I figured that experience in the Big Four would be more valuable, especially since I am trying to grow my career from the bottom up.

With the benefit of hindsight, I made the right decision. I have spent the majority of my post-university career travelling and temping, but taking this latest temp role has not been as bad as I expected.

My aim was to gain a positive reference for future positions. By pro-actively providing input, offering solutions to problems, asking questions, and being enthusiastic about mundane tasks, I was rewarded last week with an extended contract until March 2010.

Another attraction of the role is having access to the firm's internal vacancies site. It gives me a good idea of the bank's divisions and helps me roughly determine what other skill sets I need to acquire within the bank. Of course it also lets me apply for internal jobs and potentially build experience with the one employer - all good for my CV.

Sydney calling

Temping has also given me the flexibility to consider moving to Sydney after my contract ends. I'm interested in doing masters at a Sydney university. There's greater employment opportunity within investment banking there, and my own sanity will get a boost because living in a small city has been a struggle.

I plan to contact my local recruitment agency about my plans for next year and ask them to recommend contacts in Sydney who could put the feelers out for me in the meantime.

Articles on eFinancialCareers have discussed the value of getting recruiters to work for you. Well, I am trying to reach the stage where a recruiter feels rewarded for recommending me. I took two extremely short jobs with the same recruiter prior to my current position, in an attempt to keep my name at the front of their minds for other positions.

To study or not to study

The downside to my current working life is that I am too busy'! I work in a restaurant on weekends and have poorly managed my time looking for other opportunities. As I mentioned, I have been looking at postgraduate study to gain a competitive edge, but I am still unsure and need to explore the cost/benefit before making a definite decision.

I recently attended an information session for a leading MBA program to get a better idea of the benefits, but until I'm in a managerial position and can integrate the lessons learnt from an MBA, I don't think it will suit me.

I'm also considering a masters, particularly in an investment banking stream because the back-office experience I have doesn't fit the profile of someone with extensive product knowledge. But $20k is still $20k!

Another potential drawback is being overtrained, getting to a level where I have excellent theoretical knowledge, but not enough working experience to justify a position at a higher level than analyst.

For now, however, I have some job security. I am able to gain Big Four experience and hopefully build decent references. The most useful benefit temping has provided me is flexibility.

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