f you’ve been searching for a new job for a while now or feeling burned out at your current job, you may be thinking about quitting and taking a “stop gap” job until you find the job of your dreams.
In our Job Search series we share tips and advice to help you land your dream job.
What is a stop gap job, exactly? It’s a short term job you take until you find the position you really want and is often outside of your current career field or industry.
The pandemic continues to create havoc in segments of the hiring market, with many employers remaining uncertain about the future – hiring decisions may be delayed, salaries may have been reduced or some employees may have been furloughed or laid off altogether.
A common perception is that a stop gap job is an undemanding dead end job not worth investing much time or effort in. However, if you are strategic in targeting certain industries or employers you may find it leads to many different opportunities.
First off, here are some of the benefits to taking a stop gap job.
Benefits of a stop gap job
It gives you time to figure out your next career move.
Not sure what you want to do next? A stop gap gives you time to try new things, which can help you identify your needs and wants for your next position.
Structure keeps you on track
Without the daily structure of a commute, meetings and work projects it can become easy to while away time unproductively. Taking a job keeps your skills sharp and shows employers you can manage time responsibly and make commitments.
It will make you more employable.
Employers are more likely to hire someone who shows initiative, takes on new challenges and is willing to work hard to achieve their goals.
6 ways to make a stop gap job work for you
We have some ideas for how to make a stop gap job work for you and actually help grow your career.
Be strategic – play to your strengths
Many job seekers make the mistake of taking a stop gap job completely unrelated to their field. Seek out positions that are in a related field or a field that uses your transferable skills.
Look for key words in job postings such as organization, research, communication, teamwork, problem solving or adaptability. Most job postings list the soft skills required, seek out positions that have your special skills listed.
Do the Two Step
Depending on how “big” your skills gap is, you may need to do the two-step. That is, take on a role that gets you closer to the one you want. This will add credibility and show your determination. See our post on 37 New Skills To Learn This Week.
Use it as an opportunity to learn new things
Learning something new not only adds new skills to your resume, it gives you fresh topics to talk about in a job interview, making you seem resourceful and interesting.
Check out ways to grow your career while job seeking.
Network, network, network
Use your new job as an opportunity to network. Let people on your team know what your career interests or goals. Make it a point to get to know people in other departments who can help introduce you to new opportunities. Having a network to support you gives a huge boost your career development.
Find a mentor
Seek out a mentor or someone in your company who can help you develop other skills such as communication or who can introduce you to other people to expand your network. Ask your manager for new opportunities to enhance your skills– volunteer to take on new projects and crush them.
Internal opportunities – check internal job postings
Seek out any potential internal opportunities – getting back to a role in your former career path or level can be much easier when you are a known entity. If you have a good reputation for being reliable, hard working, collaborative, agile and flexible you will already have an advantage over an external candidate.
This article is part of our Job Search series; job search and career advice to help you land your dream job.
Arche helps people architect, navigate and advance their career path with expert advice and tools to support your job search, interview preparation, professional branding, salary negotiations, and career advancement.