If your job history includes temporary positions, figuring out how to list them on your resume can be a challenge. Whether these were direct hires or through a staffing agency, or even short-term consulting roles, listing them like permanent jobs could make you seem like a job-hopper, while excluding them could leave considerable gaps in your employment history. Both scenarios could raise red flags to employers. Hence, this guide will help you decide what to include and how to do so effectively.
Leverage Temporary Work to Your Benefit
Temporary jobs, when listed correctly on your resume, can enhance your work history and demonstrate your adaptable skills. The key lies in presenting them to work in your favor.
Highlight your accomplishments
Ensure your temporary work details emphasize your achievements, not just an account of your time. Make sure your achievements are measurable, results-oriented, and pertinent to the positions you're targeting.
No need to list all temporary jobs
If a specific job does not boost your candidacy, omit it! This is particularly crucial if you have a vast list of temp jobs. Include only the roles that are most relevant or that best exhibit your skills.
Here's a step-by-step guide for listing temp jobs on your resume.
How to list temporary work on your resume
- List an employer. This could be the temp agency (if applicable) or your name.
- Use a standard job title.
- Add "temporary worker" or "temp" at the end of your title.
- Include the dates of your temp job (month and year are adequate).
- Provide a brief description of your job nature.
- Include 3-6 bullet points detailing your most relevant accomplishments.
- Start with an action verb and include quantifiable figures and metrics.
- Include relevant skills and keywords to ensure your resume passes through ATS and reaches the hiring manager's desk.
- Use a free resume checker for instant feedback on how to enhance your resume.
If you're unsure about listing temporary work correctly, upload your resume to the tool below — it will let you know if your temp work effectively highlights measurable achievements and valuable skills.
Here's a sample template for listing temporary work on your resume:
YOUR NAME TEMP SERVICES, Columbus, OH
Social Media Marketing and SEO Temp (Jun 2017 – Present)
• Generated strategic insights for seven medium-large companies ($5M+/year) to enhance SEO, web traffic, and conversions. Revamped and implemented new websites for four companies.
Name of project
• 1-3 bullet points in the format [Action Verb] [Achievement] [Metric], e.g., SEO project for an American pet store
• Analyzed data from 25000 monthly active users, guiding marketing and product strategies, which doubled average app engagement time and decreased the drop-off rate by 30%.
Website Redesign for Top 5 Hospital in USA
• Spearheaded redevelopment of internal tracking system for 125 employees, leading to new features, a reduction of 20% in save/load time, and 15% operation time.
• Overhauled the obsolete legacy source code of two production applications, increasing usability, and reducing run time performance by 50%.
What temp work should look like on your resume
If you worked through a temp agency
If all your temp roles were sourced through a single agency, list that agency as your employer. This allows you to consolidate numerous jobs under a single heading, providing your job history with a more uniform look and keeping your resume straightforward.
You can also include the company you worked for — while this is optional, it can provide extra context. Just ensure you're accurately representing the nature of your employment.
Group your experiences
If you've held multiple positions with various companies or agencies, consider grouping these together. Identify the commonalities — such as a similar industry or type of role — and list them accordingly.
If you were a temporary worker
If you've done extensive temporary or contract work directly, rather than through an agency, consider creating your own business title and listing your experiences under that.
Using a grouped business title — even if it's your own — looks more professional than a collection of unrelated temp jobs. It avoids the impression of employment gaps and gives you the opportunity to emphasize the most relevant skills you’ve acquired. It also signals to recruiters that you have a focus in a specific discipline or industry.
Tag your experiences appropriately
If most of your job experience is full-time and you’ve only held one or two temporary positions, the simplest way to list temporary jobs on your resume is to label them. List these jobs as you would any other, but clearly label them with ‘temporary,’ ‘temp,’ or ‘contract.’ Consistency is key, so use the same format throughout your resume.
Highlight specific experiences
Under the employer section — which could be a temp agency or your own temporary work firm — write a short description that contextualizes your experience. This works best if you’ve held numerous temporary positions with similar titles or duties. However, if this is not the case, strive to identify a unifying theme across your work. Aim to present a meaningful and consistent job history by emphasizing your most relevant accomplishments from each assignment.
List specific dates
Having numerous temporary jobs is a situation where it's useful to list specific months — not just years — on your resume. If you have a lot of these, it’s best to group them under a single heading, like a temp agency. Below that, you can list each company or position and the exact dates you worked for them.
Segregate temporary jobs in their own section
If none of the above strategies work for you — for instance, if you’ve held different temp positions in between full-time jobs — consider creating a separate section on your resume for temporary jobs.
This might be appropriate if the temp work you’ve done isn’t related to your current field but fills what would otherwise be large gaps in your employment history. List your relevant work experience as usual, with a ‘Temporary Work’ section below.