How to Pick the Right Part Time Job—After a Layoff

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You’re not one of the unemployed “99ers,” but you’re getting close.  You had a good white collar job,  but you were out-placed with a “D-Day” parachute (no guarantee where or how you’ll land).  You sent out acres of resumes, gone to dozens of interviews, and suffered through more “meet ‘n greets” than a SHAM-WOW salesman.  All with no luck. 

Still, you’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed. You’re ready to join the ranks of the underemployed. And that means a part time job. But which part time job should your take?  Some suggestions to keep your career from spiraling into Limbo:

Executive temp agencies. Sign up with as many as you can.  Be as selective as you can about what jobs you’re willing to accept.  Try to get a temp position that represents a lateral move for you. If you were an engineer,  try to get engineering work or, at the very least, advanced technician assignments. If you were a programmer or systems analyst,  opt for similar positions. Try not to descend too far down the ladder.  It won’t look good on your resume.  Some temp agencies will have you fill out a list of jobs you’re not willing to take. 

Do due diligence. Check out the temp agency and see who they represent.  Do some research and find out as much as you can about the companies they send people to. Google them, see if anyone you know on LinkedIn or other social media sites has worked for them. How do they treat their workers?  Was it just a paycheck to them or did they actually learn something? Were any part time employees offered a full-time job? 

Temp-up your resume. Temp jobs are more goal-oriented and time/task-specific.  So staffing agencies and the companies they represent aren’t looking for a long-winded dissertation of each job you held during your career. They’re more interested in the specific skill sets you bring to the table.  Are you, for example, familiar with popular management programs and reporting systems? Can you “hit the ground running” with today’s sales reporting and forecasting software? 

Longer is better than shorter. Longer-term  temporary jobs are better than a stint of short-run assignments. This is true for a number or reasons. For one, it looks better on your resume after being laid off from your full time post. A single long-term assignment also immerses you more in the business and teaches you about the company. It lets you bring more of your talents to bear on the temp job.  There’s even a slight chance you might get hired full time if you “connect” with the boss and can show him or her your true worth. 


Finding a part time job that matches your career and financial needs isn’t easy. A paycheck is a paycheck. But you should still look before you leap. I've done my share of temp jobs and I can tell you that temp agencies are as different as night and day. Some are good, others are just paycheck mills. 



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