Are ‘Bridge Jobs’ a Good Idea to Cover Career Gaps?

As more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed across the United States, businesses are starting to reopen and bring back employees. In the week ending April 29, weekly unemployment claims fell to 553,000 — a significant decrease from the height of the pandemic.

See: How to Approach Your Job Hunt After a Long Stretch of Unemployment
Find: The ‘YOLO Economy’ — How Millennials are Reimagining Life Post-Pandemic

However, the reduced number of unemployment claims doesn’t mean that workers are returning to their careers of choice. Many have considered taking a “bridge job” to keep the cash flowing in. Are bridge jobs a good way to learn new skills and make ends meet, or can they do more harm than good to your resume?

Why Bridge Jobs Can Help Your Career Trajectory

As a matter of career development, bridge jobs can help individuals add skills to their resume and drive increased value for a future potential employer. Working in an area that stretches your comfort zone and allows you to develop new skills — like public speaking, sales or new computer programs — could help you land an upward career position.

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“If you’re lucky, you may…find a bridge job that helps you develop a skill you’ve been wanting to hone or network with people who could help with your dream job search,” writes life coach Kristen Walker on her blog, Clarity on Fire. But Walker adds, “While those things are nice to have, they’re not necessary to getting the full benefit of a bridge job.”

See: 10 Times Taking a Pay Cut Can Make You Richer
Find: 22 Side Gigs That Can Make You Richer Than a Full-Time Job

In other situations, a bridge job can be a means towards a certain goal, like launching a business or getting onto a new career path. The profits from a bridge job can help you save the extra cash to go in a new direction.

“A bridge job is a job that gets you from point A to point C,” writes accountability and business coach Amanda Boleyn. “If point A is your current job and point C is the point in which you become your own boss [then] point B is your bridge job. It is the transitional point in your journey that helps you get closer to reaching your goal of becoming your own boss.”

See: What to Do When You Hit a ‘Work Wall,’ According to Experts
Find: The Top Company Hiring Now in Each State

Should I Get a Bridge Job?

Before agreeing to take on a bridge job, it’s important to consider your goals and strategy for what likely is a temporary career move. “Know exactly why you’ve chosen the bridge job in the first place and what you hope to get out of it,” writes Jennifer Faherty, founder of Financial Wealth-being, LLC. “If it’s solely for income, be specific about how much you’ll need to save until you can transition fully. If it’s skills or certain experience you need, define exactly what that means.”

Bridge jobs can be a great way to keep money coming in, while learning new skills. As you begin your search, it’s critical to determine what’s most important to get out of the job and the key ways it will ultimately drive your career trajectory forward.

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About the Author

Joe Cortez is a personal finance writer for GoBankingRates. With over a decade of experience in financial journalism, Joe brings an insider knowledge of all things consumer finance, including credit cards, mortgages, and banking accounts. His work has appeared at NerdWallet, Business Insider and NextAdvisor. He is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Radio-Television-Digital News Association.

Are ‘Bridge Jobs’ a Good Idea to Cover Career Gaps?
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