Mastering your CV for temporary jobs: a comprehensive guide

In today’s ever-evolving job market, temporary positions have emerged as an attractive proposition for a number of people, across the country, looking...

Nicholas Kira

14 February 2024

12 min read

In today’s ever-evolving job market, temporary positions have emerged as an attractive proposition for a number of people, across the country, looking for flexibility (jobs that they can fit around their busy schedule) and those looking to quickly gain new skills and experience in the workplace.

Temporary roles not only provide candidates with the chance to explore various industries, but also give the opportunity to learn things that are transferable to a multitude of other roles, and even turn a temp role permanent. But to secure these sought-after opportunities, it’s essential to have an up-to-date CV for temporary jobs, to know how to list temp work on that CV so that it’s attractive to prospective employers, and to tailor your temp CV to highlight your relevant experience effectively.

This comprehensive guide will cover:

The ultimate aim is to position yourself as an ideal candidate for these in-demand roles.   At Indeed Flex we have all manner of temp jobs available, so you may want to take a look at these once you’ve had a read through.  

Why you need a different approach for temp jobs

You can’t simply apply the permanent job market mindset to the world of temporary employment and hope it’ll work. Temporary jobs, and CVs in respect of them, require a distinctive approach – due to their short-term nature, diverse skill demands, and immediate impact expectations. Employers want to know that you’ve got the necessary skills from day one (as there’ll be little time to learn on the job), that you can adapt to new environments/technology/colleagues quickly, and that you can make an immediate impact when it comes to their business.

A female looking for jobs on her laptop

So, crafting CV for a temporary job entails focusing on relevant skills, tangible experiences in the workplace, and tailoring that key document to the specific job description; demonstrating your flexibility, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to quickly integrate into various work settings and understand new systems and processes.  

Tailoring your CV for each temp job

  A tailored CV: How to get started

Optimising your CV for temporary jobs begins with gaining a deep understanding of each position’s unique requirements. Study the job description to identify the key skills (both technical skills and soft skills), qualifications, responsibilities, and level of experience the employer is looking for. This information will serve as the foundation for customising your CV to align seamlessly with that employer’s exact requirements. Know what they’re looking for and you’ll know just what to showcase on your CV, to land the role.

The power of a customised temp CV: Crafting one for each application

Yes, it’s much easier to have a one-size-fits-all, generic CV, but most employers (temp or otherwise) can spot these a mile off. Personalisation is the key to opening up opportunities and getting the temp role you want.

Create a distinctive CV for each temporary role you go for, weaving in keywords and phrases taken directly from the job description, and even answering some of the points in that job description e.g ‘I’m good at adapting to new technology, as shown in my previous logistics role, where I learnt how to use X software within a day.’

This diligent and thorough approach not only underlines your genuine enthusiasm for the role (and shows that you really paid attention to the job description) but also increases the likelihood of catching the employer’s attention, making you the standout candidate.

In turn, this should almost guarantee you an interview – something we’ve gathered a fair few tips on, including how best to prepare for one.

Don’t be afraid to crow about your achievements: add some numbers

For your temporary job CV to truly stand out, and appear tailored for a specific employer, it’s a good idea to add some achievements – quantifiable ones i.e those you can stick a number or a value on. Numbers serve to illustrate the value you brought to past roles – the impact you’ve had (and, therefore, the impact you’re likely to have in this new temporary role).

Think about specific projects where you exceeded targets, increased efficiency, or saved resources. Use metrics such as percentages, monetary amounts, or timeframes as proof of your accomplishments.

For instance, highlight how you boosted sales by 20% or streamlined processes in an industrial setting, resulting in a 30% reduction in turnaround time, or how, alongside your team, you achieved a 95% guest satisfaction score over a 6-month period, based on online surveys.

Or you could talk about smaller wins: for example, what you achieved at your summer job, working in a retail setting and helping 60 customers per hour on a hot day, when everyone was coming into the store for barbecue items/food. It all depends who the employer is that you’re talking to and what they would consider to be success in relation to the role on offer.

Ultimately, including quantifiable achievements proves your capabilities and gives potential employers tangible evidence of your contributions in previous temp roles.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the role

Temporary roles often require swift transitions into a new working environment and immediate contributions. So, show, on your temp CV, how you’ve embraced new challenges in the past and how you’d do so again for this role. And highlight your dedication to continual growth – how you learnt new skills from past roles and are looking to further those skills in this new role, by taking on certain responsibilities. By highlighting your habit of making meaningful contributions wherever you go, you’ll show yourself as a dynamic candidate ready to take on this new role and absolutely nail it.  

Structuring your CV for temporary jobs

  Start off with an engaging personal summary: Give an overview of yourself The opening lines of your CV – that initial short paragraph summarising your career to date – can have a huge influence on whether you land a role or not. Try to be succinct yet captivating, with a professional summary that charts your working journey, highlighting the skills you’ve picked up along the way and your key strengths – the things you excel at.

For example, maybe you started as a replenishment assistant, in retail, and have worked your way up to store manager, learning leadership skills and different management styles along the way, and your key skill is in creating team cohesion – getting staff to work as one, solid unit.

Add a personal touch to this section by underlining specific skills and attributes that are directly relevant to the temporary role you’re going for. This is also a good place to mention accomplishments or projects you’ve worked on that highlight your adaptability, rapid learning capabilities, and potential to make an immediate impact.

Construct a carefully considered ‘relevant experience’ section When crafting a CV for temporary jobs, the experience section should take centre stage. This is your chance to show off your work history – your career to date – and why it should help you land this next role. Structure this section with great care, to emphasise past roles, projects, and responsibilities that align with the requirements of the temporary job you want, including the following key information:

  • Job titles and companies: give clear details about your employers and the positions you held across your temporary roles.
  • Duration: Specify precise start and end dates for each temporary role. This will showcase your ability to transition seamlessly from one working environment to the next. If there are any gaps in your career history, just be honest and explain why to your prospective employer.
  • Responsibilities: Highlight tasks and responsibilities you were asked to undertake, in past roles, that align directly with the temporary position you’re now going for. Emphasise transferable skills, like effective communication, analytical problem-solving, and project management, as well as technical skills or equipment/software you learnt to use.
  • Achievements: Showcase significant achievements that prove your worth in past temporary roles. Did you contribute to the successful completion of a project ahead of time? Did you implement a new way of working that benefited all those around you? Were you acknowledged by supervisors or clients for your exceptional performance?These concrete examples will all help to show you in a positive light.


Hone your education section

When writing a CV for temporary jobs, your educational background should, where possible, complement the temporary position you’re pursuing. Tailor your education section by throwing the spotlight on qualifications, coursework, projects, or research that align with the skills expected for that role. If you’ve gained any additional education, taken on vocational courses, or obtained relevant certifications, make sure they stand out in this section.

Minimise the clutter: make your temp CV easy to read

A clean and organised CV layout says a lot about you – not least that you’re an organised person yourself – and will greatly enhance your job prospects.

Firstly, it ensures that your information is presented in a visually appealing way that’s easy to digest, allowing any employer to quickly see all of the key details without wading through clutter. A well-structured CV says a lot about your level of professionalism and attention to detail.

Not only that, it guides the reader’s eye, taking them, step by step, through your experiences, skills, and achievements, allowing them to build a picture of you, as a suitable candidate, very quickly. How can you create a clean and organised layout in practice?

Use clear headings, bullet points, and consistent formatting (don’t switch between different fonts, use different font sizes, or have some text left aligned and some centred) – and don’t use fancy design templates with fussy borders. Keep it simple. By doing this, you enable employers to focus on your strengths and match them with the job requirements.  

Showcasing your temp skills

Two women serving plates of food in a restaurant Emphasise your transferable skills

Employers for temp roles are constantly on the lookout for those with transferable skills. So, dedicate a section in your CV to throw the spotlight on these skills. Transferable skills are those that you can take with you from job to job (often referred to as ‘soft skills’), such as time management, teamwork, leadership qualities, adaptability, and critical thinking. Back up your claims, by providing real-life examples of situations where you used these skills to overcome challenges or achieve results in the workplace.

For example, you might say, in respect of time management; ‘In my last role, working as a warehouse operative, I completed all orders ahead of schedule, consistently meeting, and often exceeding, daily production targets.’  

Highlighting relevant experiences

  Show what you’ve learnt from previous temp roles

Temporary positions are as much about learning as anything else, so it makes sense on any good temp role CV to give examples of how you’ve adapted to new environments, industries, or jobs in the past. This will give a good indication to a prospective temp employer that you’ll be able to repeat the same trick and adapt well to this new role.

In this instance, you may want to mention something like; ‘I improved customer service in my last role, by actively looking out for problems that were consistently arising, reporting them to my supervisor, then drawing up a plan of action with them.’

It’s not just about learning on the job though – you can use a section of your CV to show off any training, certifications, or workshops you’ve undertaken to add to your knowledge in relevant fields. This proactive pursuit of self-improvement shows your commitment to continuous growth and career development, and your resolve to add value in any temporary role you take on.  

How to create the ideal CV for temporary jobs, in summary

Crafting an exceptional CV tailored to temporary positions demands concentration, precision, a little creativity, a sprinkling of logic, strategic thinking, and an awareness of your unique value to employer – why they should pick you over and above any other candidate.

By carefully matching the details on your CV with each job’s prerequisites, highlighting your achievements, underlining your transferable skills, and showing your on-the-job experience in certain scenarios, you can unlock all manner of opportunities.

Temporary roles offer the prospect of fast career growth, giving you numerous relevant workplace experiences in a relatively short space of time; making them an attractive prospect for career advancement.

By taking the time to carefully tailor your CV for each temp job, and structure it properly, you could find yourself standing head and shoulders above other candidates, as the standout contender for a whole spectrum of temporary roles. Good luck on your journey.    

While it’s important to have a temp work CV that you can adapt at a moment’s notice, if you work through Indeed Flex you won’t need one. Nor will you need a covering letter or any lengthy forms that require filling in.

You just need to download the app, then add the information to your profile: your skills, experience, a profile picture, and a brief summary of previous roles you’ve held and your responsibilities.

Once you’re verified on the app, employers will then be able to see this profile, rate you (out of five stars) for your work with them. Other employers can then see this and, all being well, book you for further shifts.


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