Are you looking for that perfect balance between work and play? Short-term contract jobs can be a convenient option if you’re looking for a role with greater flexibility, autonomy, and variety.

To help get you thinking about how a short-term contract job could work for you, we’ve come up with 11 popular ideas.

1. Hospitality roles

hospitality roles

The hospitality industry tends to operate seven days a week and is there to support people at some of the most momentous occasions in their lives including birthdays, weddings, and funerals. So, it’s unsurprising that bars and restaurants especially may need extra hands during busier times or when permanent staff are unavailable.

For example, many bars and restaurants in university towns will take on staff on short-term contracts during graduation seasons (which is typically July and November), over Christmas, or during the summer months when people are making the most of the lighter evenings and going out more.

Hospitality roles are ideal for individuals who enjoy meeting new people, feel strongly about providing high-quality customer service, and are happy to be on their feet for long periods of time.

If this appeals to you and you’re wondering where to start, why not take a look at what jobs are on offer this summer with the UK’s leading holiday operator, Haven?

From chefs and restaurant team leaders to bakery assistants and ice cream van drivers, Haven has a whole host of roles on offer. These come with plenty of perks (including up to 50% off at their food outlets and use of the park’s facilities), full training, and flexible shifts to suit your needs.

It’s also worth asking your local bars, restaurants, and hotels whether they have any short-term roles, as well as keeping an eye on online job boards.

Interested in working at a Haven resort?

Explore other hospitality roles

2. Supply teacher

supply teacher

Supply teachers fill temporary teaching positions that open up when a permanent in-house teacher at a school or college is off sick, has a personal emergency, or is away on holiday. They’re often called in at short notice to cover a lesson and will usually be given ‘cover work’ to complete with students whilst their regular teacher is away.

As a supply teacher, you’ll have the same role and responsibilities as a permanent in-house teacher, but you’ll be able to choose how much or how little work you decide to take on, work in different schools, and have less involvement with some of the more onerous tasks like paperwork, meetings, and planning.

You’ll still need to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to work as a supply teacher. We have a career change guide on becoming a teacher that’ll give you plenty of information and advice on how to get started.

Interested in supply teaching?

3. Exam invigilator

exam invigilator

If you’re looking for a part-time job where you may only be offered work during certain months of the year, then it’s worth looking into the role of the exam invigilator. They work for schools, colleges, and universities – supervising students whilst they sit their exams.

Typical tasks include making sure that students have all the equipment that they need, distributing and collecting exam papers, and making sure that students are following the rules set out by the exam board.

Exam invigilators will usually work for up to three hours at a time (the length of an exam) during exam or mock exam seasons, which tend to be January, March, and June. This makes the role ideal for someone looking to top up their income, but will not usually be suitable for someone who’s looking for an opportunity they can solely rely on for their finances.

The role doesn’t require too much physical effort – you may be walking up and down and sitting for periods of time. But you’ll be required to stay focused and alert throughout the entire exam to make sure that it runs smoothly. It’ll also help if you can stay patient and calm, so you can reassure anxious or panicked students when necessary.

You don’t often need any previous skills or experience to become an exam invigilator as you’ll be given full training on the job. It’s worth contacting your local schools, colleges, and/or universities to find out whether they have any positions available. You can also keep an eye on online job boards, as many institutions will advertise online.

Ready to get started?

4. NHS bank/fixed-term staff

NHS bank/fixed-term staff

Bank staff play a crucial role in the NHS because they’re there to step in when permanent staff members are unable to be at work or when an area of the hospital is especially busy. They may be temporary, but they have the potential to change and save lives every day that they’re at work.

Bank staff may work a one-off shift in a hospital or clinic, or they may be called into work for a longer fixed period – for example, a week or a month.

There are bank staff in a range of areas including nursing and midwifery, admin and clerical, and healthcare science (for example, audiology, phlebotomy, and optometry). If you’re already a trained healthcare professional, then you may be able to join the bank straight away and start signing up for shifts.

If you’re new to the healthcare sector, then you’ll often be asked to complete six months of relevant work experience before you can join the bank. This might include working on a voluntary basis in a healthcare setting or training/working as an employee first.

To find out more about the NHS bank and how to apply, you can visit the NHS Professionals website.

Keen to make a difference?

5. Delivery driver

delivery driver

The demand for delivery drivers is growing as more people are enjoying the convenience of online shopping.

There isn’t much that you can’t buy online these days (food, flowers, clothes – the list goes on). But it all has to be delivered and it’s commonplace for companies who deliver to take on short-term staff at busier times or when they need urgent cover for permanent staff.

With delivery services becoming more time-sensitive and offering options such as next-day and even same-day delivery, most companies cannot afford to have a staffing shortfall, even for a short time. This makes delivery driving a popular option for people seeking a short or fixed-term contract.

You usually don’t need any experience to apply – you just need to be a safe and confident driver with a full UK driving licence (and sometimes your own car, although this will depend on the company you choose to work for).

If you enjoy being behind the wheel and like the idea of being a friendly face in your community, then a delivery role could be the right fit for you. You can browse hundreds of roles with all kinds of delivery services, such as Yodel, using the button below.

Ready to buckle up?

6. Project manager

project manager

If you’re looking to make a career change to a role that would allow you to work short-term contracts on a project-by-project basis, then project management may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Project managers work in a vast and varied field where each project can present a new adventure and a new set of circumstances to challenge you, so boredom is unlikely.

In a nutshell, project managers are leaders who oversee the running of a project from start to finish – making sure that they’re delivered on time, to a high standard, and within budget.

There are no specific qualifications needed to be a project manager, but it can help if you have a project management or business management degree. Some employers will be willing to take on candidates who are working towards these, providing that they have the skills and knowledge needed to run the project.

However, a degree or diploma in any field can be useful when applying for project management roles, depending on what type of project area you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to manage a software development project, then a degree in computer science or software engineering may give you an advantage.

The first thing to do if you’re thinking about going into project management is to identify your strengths, as this can help you decide what sort of project to apply for.

Apply for temporary projects

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7. Consultant


For the experienced professional who has spent years developing expert knowledge and experience in a specific field, consulting can be a fantastic way to put it to use when you decide that you’re ready for a career change.

A consultant will usually work with a company for short periods of time to help them develop a specific area of their business, such as a marketing or financial strategy. They may work for one company for a fixed period of time or on a freelance basis for several regular clients.

Plenty of employers hire consultants for short-term contracts directly. Or, if you want to work on a freelance basis, you could try signing up for sites like Guru and Upwork, where you can list your services and build up a client base.

You could also try creating your own professional website on sites like Wix or WordPress to promote your services. This is a great place to include client testimonials once you have a few happy clients.

Interested in becoming a consultant?

8. Admin roles

admin roles

Pretty much every sector will have a need for someone to do temporary administration for them at some point. This is usually because a staff member goes on maternity or long-term sick leave, or a company is simply trying to cope during a busy time of year.

The good news about choosing to work in admin is that you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to deciding which industry you want to work in. It’s a good idea to choose an industry that you have a genuine interest in because you’ll get the chance to keep up to date with the latest industry news and network with like-minded individuals.

You’ll also be the first to know if any other short-term contracts come up elsewhere in the company, and it could also lead to an exciting more permanent career change later on.

Most employers who hire people for short-term/fixed-term contracts will prefer applicants to have some relevant experience so that they can get stuck in straight away and help to keep things running smoothly – although this isn’t always the case.

If you’d like to brush up on your admin skills before you apply for a role, then you could consider volunteering in an office support role first. You can also search for temporary admin roles using the button below.

Ready to get started in an admin role?

9. Event planner

event planner

If you’d like to help others plan events that they’ll remember forever, then you could consider taking steps towards a new career as an event planner. They plan all sorts of events; from personal events such as weddings, baby showers, and birthdays, to corporate events and exhibitions.

This often means taking care of every single detail from booking the venue and sending invitations to guests, to choosing what colour tablecloths to have at a wedding reception. Most event planners work on a self-employed basis and may have previously found pleasure in event planning in their personal lives – usually for friends and family.

As an event planner, you’ll be able to plan as few or as many events as you can manage at one time. Each event can be seen as a short-term project that you’ll work on for a fixed period of time – and each will come with a deadline, after which you know you’ll be able to move on to something else.

There are no formal qualifications needed to get started, but you’ll need to establish your credibility if you want to be able to land clients. The best way to do this is to create a website where you can showcase any events that you’ve planned for friends, family, or local community groups.

You may also find it helpful to get in touch with local event planners to ask if you can spend some time shadowing them – or to join the Association of Event Organisers, which will connect you with like-minded individuals through networking events.

Although qualifications aren’t essential for becoming an event planner, it can still be useful to take an event management course online if you want to boost your credibility and skillset, and find out more about how to set up your own business.

Start your journey to becoming an event planner

10. Retail roles

retail roles

When it comes to short-term contracts in retail, Christmas is undoubtedly the most popular time of year for these to crop up. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of fixed-term contracts offered year-round.

Shops will still take on staff under short/fixed-term contracts to cover for absent staff or when they need extra hands on deck during the release of a new product or during an end-of-season sale.

Many of our members have told us that the thing they enjoy most about working in retail is the opportunity to meet new people and build community links.

So if you’re a sociable character, with a passion for delivering a great service, then why not have a look at which retail roles might be available near you? Or, if you want to expand your search, why not browse other customer service roles too?

Start your search…

11. Software engineer

software engineer

Interested in working in a thriving industry, with an unemployment rate of 1.9%? Then it could be a great time to retrain as a software engineer!

Each time you visit a web page or use an app on your smartphone, you’re actually interacting with the work of a software engineer. Their strong foundation in computer science allows them to build, develop, maintain, and test computer software for clients.

People can retrain as software engineers at any age and there’s no set route to doing so. Some people teach themselves the basics or take an intensive course over a few weeks and then work on a freelance basis taking on short projects.

One of the benefits of working as a software engineer is that it can offer a remote and flexible way of working. It’s not uncommon for businesses to employ engineers on short/fixed-term contracts to help them develop a particular aspect of their software.

Take steps towards software engineering

Final thoughts...

Hopefully, the roles in this list will offer you a helpful place to start when thinking about whether short or fixed-term contract roles are the right fit for you. However, it’s important to remember that this list is not exhaustive and that there are plenty of other roles that have the potential to be undertaken on a short or fixed-term basis.

So, if you have a particular role in mind that isn’t typically considered temporary, it’s still worth searching for short-term opportunities in this field. Nearly all businesses will have people that need to take long-term sick leave or maternity cover at some point, which is where you may be able to step in.

A role may be short-term, but this doesn’t mean it’ll fall short in delivering huge benefits such as flexibility, a healthy work-life balance, and the chance to regularly change up your working environment, which can stop you from getting bored.

It’s also worth considering that temporary work can be an effective way to ease yourself back into permanent work. Some people feel more comfortable taking on something with a short-term commitment to test the waters in a new role type or industry or to remove some of the performance pressure that can be attached to a longer-term, more permanent position. 

And finally, if you’d like to explore temporary work-from-home jobs, you can browse over thousands of remote jobs on Rest Less from age-diverse employers who see the value that age diversity can bring to the workplace.

Have you recently taken on a short or fixed-term contract role? We’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation over on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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