Why Temping is Good for Your Career

With the U.S. economic recovery still facing headwinds, insecurity still hangs over many business owners as they worry about how the ongoing fiscal uncertainty will impact their bottom lines.

For this reason, a growing number of employers have shied away from adding full-time workers to their payroll and instead favor hiring temporary or freelance workers to fulfill a short-term need or to work on pending projects. Recent data shows an estimated 17 million Americans are currently employed on a temporary or contract basis, making up 12% of all employed people in the U.S.

Many Americans favor full-time employment because of the benefit packages and the steady workflow, but if approached correctly temporary or freelancing work can be a valuable asset to a career. Here's why:

It shows that you are resourceful. Employers like to see a strong work history, and freelancing can prevent labor gaps after a termination. If your LinkedIn profile or resume shows that you are freelancing while seeking a full-time position, it proves you're capable of working skillfully through difficult situations. It also displays adaptability, perseverance and tenacity when faced with adversity.

It keeps you up to date and relevant. Long-term unemployment can make employers worry about a candidate losing a foothold on trends, technology and the evolution of the industry. While you're unemployed, engaging in temporary or freelance work keeps your foot in the door of the workforce and keeps your finger on the pulse your field.

It exhibits your willingness to learn something new. Freelancing or temporary work could provide new job training, experience and skills that could be applicable later in your career. Taking on a new projects, subjects and work experience shows potential employers that you are open and willing to learn.

It shows that you're a self-starter. Employers want to hire efficient and productive workers; finding temporary or contractual work can highlight your work ethic and ability to overcome challenges.

In the end, you could find freelancing to be more profitable, fulfilling and enjoyable than a full time position. Then the benefits of keeping that business going could outweigh that which initially felt uncomfortable and risky, but until you give it a chance--you will never know.

Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder (on twitter: @keycoaching) is a certified professional coach and president of Key Coaching LLC, a New York firm specializing in career and employment consulting for individuals and companies.