Why Taking a Second Job is a Good Career Move

Oregon Unemployment

Good Reasons to Take on More Work

Whether you are looking for extra cash or to make new friends, getting a second job can help you reach those goals. Many people consider taking a second job to pay off bills, but there are other reasons to take on more work.

"People find they need second jobs to bump up their income, stay active in a target industry and build skills," says Charles Purdy, a senior editor at Monster Worldwide, an online job site based in New York. While it's tough to find even a primary job in a struggling economy, experts say landing a second job may be a easier if you are flexible.

"Part-time jobs are easier to come by, particularly if you are willing to work off hours, weekend evenings and early morning," says Rick Parker, senior vice president of marketing for Snagajob, an online job website in Richmond, Va.

From earning extra income to boosting your resume, here are five reasons to get a second job.

Reason No. 1: Earn Extra Income

The primary reason most people get a second job is to earn extra income, whether it's to pay off debt, cover vacation or seasonal expenses, or add to their current income. "We hear frequently from job seekers that they take a second job with a specific purchase in mind," Parker says.

However, for many others, taking the second job will mean making the mortgage payment that month. A study in August by Chicago-based CareerBuilder.com found 42% of full-time workers usually or always live paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet. "A steady job often isn't enough to get by, prompting people to find additional work," say Ryan Hunt, a career adviser for CareerBuilder.com.

Reason No. 2: Beef up Your Resume

For college graduates who can't find work or for people thinking of switching careers, taking a second job is a surefire way to add experience to their resume. The trick: finding a part-time job in an industry where you want to work.

Let's say you want to work in a customer-facing industry, but don't have much experience. Taking a part-time job in the retail or service industries can help, Parker says. The job doesn't necessarily have to be a paid gig. Purdy says taking an unpaid internship or donating your time is worthwhile if it gives you the experience you need.

"Many employers are having trouble recruiting candidates with the right skills," says CareerBuilder's Hunt. "If the second job allows you to learn something that could land you a better position down the road, then that is a major incentive to pursue it."

Reason No. 3: Test-Drive a New Industry

Looking to open your own business or move into an entirely different industry? Taking a second job may be a great way to test-drive the field. Purdy says it's also a viable way to network with people in the field.

Many people looking to start their own business will do a side job in that industry before making the leap to doing it full time, he says.

"For people starting their own business, it makes tons of sense to work in that industry to not only learn what it takes to be successful but also to determine whether or not it's the industry you really want to be in," Parker says.

Reason No. 4: Lower Risk of Primary Job Loss

Let's face it; the job market is less than stellar these days, and workers have a real fear of losing their jobs, especially since many full-time employees are living paycheck to paycheck. To mitigate that risk, people are taking second jobs.

"A lot of workers are still leery about job security, making a second job a popular safety net," says Hunt. "However, workers who take this path need to make sure their performance doesn't deteriorate due to the increased workload."

According to Parker, taking a second job especially makes sense if layoffs are happening or the future of the primary employer is in doubt. It will not only increase your nest egg, but it may be a way to get in the door at a company since many employers look for workers who are willing to move from part-time to full-time employees, Parker says. He also points out that most states will let you work part-time and still collect some unemployment benefits.

Reason No. 5: Enhance Your Social Life

New to a city or town or have little social interaction in your primary job? Taking a second job may be an ideal way to meet new people.

Getting part-time work to improve a social life "probably happens more than you can imagine," Parker says. He says a great place to meet friends is in the hospitality industry, whether it's waiting tables or serving drinks. A second job also can be a way to connect with people who share similar interests. For instance, if you take a seasonal job at a ski resort, it's a great way to socialize with other skiers and get perks such as free lift tickets.

But if socializing is the goal, make sure you take a job in an industry you perceive as fun. "You probably aren't going to join a job to sweep streets in order to meet friends," Parker says.