Will this interim job damage my career?

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It’s a huge investment of your time and money to qualify as an accountant so once you’ve made it, the last thing you want is to cause damage to your career.
As a Senior Recruitment Consultant and an expert in the senior interim market, I work with a variety of senior candidates with a varying amount of experience in the interim market. One of the most common and most important questions I am asked by my candidates is “Will accepting an interim role damage my career?”

The rise of the senior interim…

5 years ago we often heard feedback from our clients which seemed to criticise interim roles; “that CV is too tempy”, “they have had too many jobs”, “can’t they secure a permanent role?” (yes, even when recruiting interim and contract roles!). There was a perception that you would only take on a temporary role to keep you going whilst they were looking for something permanent.

Today I was speaking with one of my senior interim candidates about how things have changed!

There are more and more senior finance professionals who are making a hugely successful career (not to mention an awful lot of money!) by taking on professional interim assignments. These professionals are able to enjoy the benefits of working through their own limited company and having the freedom to organise their own diary. In fact, the gentleman I was speaking with had just returned from a 4 week holiday in New Zealand! Being an interim professional also gives you the opportunity to complete a range of interesting projects and avoid those day to day tasks that can make life tedious!

Increasingly, my clients are also buying into the idea of professional interims; candidates who can pick up systems quickly, have very wide and varied experience from different types of companies and (most importantly it seems at the minute) can prove commitment to a contract role. Clients are no longer leaning towards CV’s that are full of permanent roles but looking for a range of successfully completed interim projects. Now, when a client spots a gap on a CV or a candidate who is immediately available they ask me “Why didn’t they take an interim role at that point?”. They want someone who can hit the ground running and can handle change and nothing demonstrates this better then a range of successful interim projects on a CV.

Are interim roles suitable for everyone?

Whether you want to pursue a career as a professional interim or not, successfully completing an interim assignment can undoubtedly add value to your career and CV. It will;
– Allow you to enter a new sector
– Demonstrate you can hit the ground running
– Add new experience and systems to your CV
– Allow you to ‘trial’ different sizes and types of companies enabling you to make an informed decision about the type of company you would like to work for in the future
– Potentially lead to a permanent opportunity
– Open up initiations to networking events and allow you to build up contacts
– Avoid a questionable gap on your CV
– And (of course) put some money into your bank account!

I would never suggest leaving a permanent role for an interim assignment – but yes, I firmly believe that interim roles can be suitable for everyone at some point in their career and add real long term value.

So, in response to the question “Will this interim job damage my career?”, my answer is clear. No! It may harm your career to not take the interim role!

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