There are many reasons people choose interim (shorter term) work. Some do so out of necessity, others because it affords them flexibility to mix family life or other interests with working when and where they want. But if you are someone who generally undertakes permanent roles, there may still be some good reasons for considering an interim route – for a little while at least.

You may have worked hard to maintain a career in permanent roles, but you’re struggling to take the right next step on the career ladder. Should you look at interim work and what might be the risks or advantages of doing so?

A different way of working


The odd shorter time in a role can be beneficial.  Interim positions can be a great opportunity to pick up greater experience of a sector you don’t have much exposure to, or take on tasks that you haven’t done before as much as you would like.

Undertaking an interim placement will often require you to hit the ground running in more ways than might be expected in a permanent role.  You will need to exhibit top influencing and communication skills from day one, as you have a finite time to fulfil your tasks or to get from A to B on a project.  You will need to make the right impact and quickly establish effective working relationships and internal networks.

All this can be great for personal development, allowing you to test out your abilities in ways that might not have been possible in your previous permanent roles. You may also be able to acquire new skills and experience, adding components to your career that will enable you to apply for that permanent role that seemed too senior before.

So undertaking interim roles amongst permanent work can be a valuable learning and development experience.  Just make sure that you put thought and consideration into the role you take:

  • Ensure you can justify to a future employer the benefits of an interim role, especially if it might appear on paper (or rather your CV) to be slightly bizarre in the midst of your other career choices; ensure you are able to articulate coherently why you took that role.
  • With regards to personal development make sure any role you take, but especially a shorter term one, adds to your skills set and CV.
  • When considering a short term role, be honest with yourself with regards to the skills you have to do the role.  You will need to make an immediate impact and have a finite time to succeed.  Do you believe you can in the time frame given?

Successful interim roles can enhance a CV, make you a more attractive candidate to a future employer and allow you to quickly showcase the skills you have.  But you need to think through your choice of interim role. Ensure it forms part of a planned strategy and it could well help you to achieve your future career goals.

HB

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