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Temporary & Gig Employment

Working as a temporary or gig worker is a rapidly-growing alternative to more traditional employment scenarios. Gig jobs vary widely across skill sets and industries, examples being freelance writing, digital marketing, working as an office temp, developing software as an independent contractor, selling on Etsy, driving for Uber, and many many more.

Why Temporary/Gig Work?

Gig work can provide a viable income as well as be a sound strategy for creating more permanent work. Many new Berkeley graduates use gigs to smooth the transition from school to a career job. Other alum prefer them for the long-term because of the flexibility, independence and entrepreneurial opportunities they offer. Gig work is great for providing:

  • experience during transitional periods such as post-graduation, summers, and gap years
  • a chance to try on a career direction before making a broader commitment
  • the opportunity to utilize or develop more than one professional interest or skill set
  • income while you develop other interests, skills, or your own business

Some job-seekers fear that gig work can undermine their professional status and “look bad” on their resume. On the contrary, working in temporary positions demonstrates to employers your adaptability and commitment to continue growing your experience and skills during times of transition.

Temporary Staffing and Contracting

Temporary staffing agencies and contracting firms have been around for decades. In this arrangement, the agency is your employer and, depending upon your qualifications, offers you limited-term positions varying from one day to several weeks or months in length. These firms often specialize in particular industries (e.g., legal, creative, healthcare, and manufacturing) or jobs (e.g., administrative assistance, bookkeeping, and design).

Staffing Agency Resources

  • American Staffing Association – national database of staffing agencies maintained by the American Staffing Association
  • Yelp – search “temporary staffing agencies” to identify and read about local agencies
  • Parker-Dewey Micro Internships for short-term paid professional opportunities

Tips for Using Staffing Agencies

  • Be clear about what you hope to gain through temp work so you can find the best agency for your goals.
  • Find out about the agency’s specializations, client companies, typical assignments, pay and benefits.
  • Ask about the agency’s interview process and prepare for the meeting as you would for any job interview.
  • Register with more than one agency to increase your chances for steady, well-suited jobs.
  • Check in with your agency frequently when you are not on assignment.

Freelance Work

Why Freelance?

  • More Freedom
  • Flexible Hours
  • Self Management
  • Location Flexibility
  • Compensation & Earnings Control
  • Expanded Skill Set
  • Ability to test a StartUp or Entrepreneurship endeavor

Unlike working for staffing and contracting agencies, working as a freelancer makes you both the employer and the employee. You are solely responsible for creating and finding work projects. This gives you greater control over your work life and along with it a less predictable income, at least when first starting out.

Freelance Resources

  • Upwork – bid on jobs in various areas ranging from customer service and virtual assistance to blog writing and website design
  • Freelancer – largest freelancing marketplace for creative professionals
  • Fiverr – find freelance work projects primarily in graphics/design, data analytics, digital marketing, and music/audio services
  • Hubstaff Talent – your free online profile can attract employers looking for administrative, creative and tech help
  • Flexjobs – offers an extremely broad selection of remote freelance, contract as well as staff positions. A subscription is required.

Side Hustle

This is where an online intermediary such as Uber or Instacart sources and sends you assignments which you are free to accept or reject. Side hustles are great for picking up extra income or filling open time and are a ready option for tough financial times.

Side Hustle Resources

  • Wonolo – available as an app, a virtual agency connecting you to many types of side hustles including administrative
  • Handy – connects people to cleaning and handyman side hustle work
  • 15 Best Side Hustles – article by