Writing a CV for temporary jobs is just as important as it is for permanent roles. A targeted, tailored CV that shows off your most relevant skills will help you stand out from the competition and secure the roles you want.
Employers may be looking for different qualities and skills in temp candidates – so whilst the usual presentation rules apply, some parts of your CV will need adjusting.
Here are a few things to consider when writing a CV for temporary jobs…
Keep your experience targeted and relevant
The experience you include on your CV should be relevant to the roles you’re applying for. Read the job description for each role carefully, and tailor your CV accordingly. If you don’t have any directly relevant experience, find crossover in previous roles you’ve had, and emphasise it.
For example, if you’re applying for receptionist roles and you’ve previously worked in customer-facing settings like hospitality or retail, highlight the transferable skills and qualities – like good communication skills and a personable manner – you developed in those roles.
If you have lots of temp experience, consider grouping similar roles under headings (like ‘admin roles’ or ‘customer service roles’) and put your best assignments first. And there’s no need to include every assignment you’ve ever done – just include enough to show the breadth of your experience.
Show off your temp-friendly skills and qualities
Temporary roles can last anywhere from a few days to six months – and as such there are certain qualities that are particularly desirable in candidates for these roles. Traits like adaptability and an ability to learn quickly will stand you in good stead, so highlight any examples that demonstrate you have them.
The examples you choose should be concrete evidence from your previous experience. Be wary of falling into the trap of listing buzzwords – don’t just say you’re quick to learn – prove it! For example, you might say something like, ‘mastered [X software] within a day in order to [implement X system/complete X project]’.
Place these examples prominently on your CV so that hiring managers see them straight away.
Choose an appropriate layout
Whilst there are no hard and fast rules on choosing a layout when writing a CV for temporary jobs, there are certain things you can do to optimise it for the temp market.
Consider opening your CV with a short personal profile that briefly sums up your experience and career aims. Check out this blog post for some tips on how to write a great profile.
Follow this up with a ‘relevant experience’ section. As we mentioned before, make your most relevant experience most prominent. If you lack paid experience, you could include relevant work placements, volunteering or academic projects.
For each role you include, highlight any particular achievements, using numbers if you can – you could do this with bullet points.
End with a brief education section, listing institutions, dates and qualifications achieved.
Include a cover letter
Your cover letter should draw attention to the most relevant and important parts of your CV, but you can also use it to explain why you’re interested in the role. Employers are likely to want to know your reasons for applying, and they’ll want to be reassured that you aren’t looking for temp work as a stop-gap that you’ll drop as soon as something better comes along.
The reasons you give will obviously depend on your personal circumstances. You might be looking for temporary work because you want more flexibility, or to fit around other commitments. You could also give more generic reasons like you’re interested in the company or sector, or you want to develop particular skills or gain specific experience.
Whatever your reasons, try to express them in a positive way that shows how you’ll benefit the company.
Writing a CV for temporary jobs: a summary
If you’re looking for temporary work, making sure you’ve got a top-quality CV is crucial. A strong CV will give you a much better chance of being a competitive candidate for the best roles.
Our guide should help you write a standout CV, but if you want to make things even easier for yourself, why not let us write one for you? Our bespoke CVs show you at your best and highlight all your most relevant skills and experience. Find out more.
Whether you’re moving into a temporary role or starting a first job, we suggest you read our guide on how to write a great CV even if you lack relevant experience.
“This article was originally published in PurpleCV”