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5 Great Short-Term Jobs

Temporary work can bulk up your résumé and your wallet

4. Sales representative

The nitty-gritty: Marketing and sales are the heartbeat of a small business. But as the company expands, it gets tricky. If the owner's time is spread too thin, he or she may have trouble devoting enough time to continually pump up new business and follow up on leads. An energetic and skilled salesperson who's adept at cold-calling, networking for new clients and keeping existing accounts happy can keep things rolling while the owner focuses on big-picture strategies. This can be grueling work if you're thin-skinned, especially when it comes to cold-calling. So slip on your persuasive shoes, and polish up your confidence and composure. It's meet-and-greet time.

Median pay: $35.83 per hour base. Base pay, however, can range up to $70.06 per hour or more. Many positions are structured with base pay plus commission.

Qualifications: Business owners look for candidates who know their market, have experience in their industry and have established relationships and contacts. Experience with "customer relationship management" software such as Salesforce may help. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people in this occupation have either the certified professional manufacturers representative (CPMR) certification or the certified sales professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation. Obtaining these credentials typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam.

See also: Great part-time jobs for retirees

5. Web strategist

The nitty-gritty: A website is the public face of a firm and a prime marketing tool for most businesses these days. Potential customers want to be able to find a company on the Web and conduct business online — without ever picking up a phone. A savvy small-business operator will want to bring on board an expert who can pinpoint the best ways to leverage the Web and social media to grow the business. That's where you come in. You may be hired to do one piece of a plan, but many start-ups need someone who can do it all. You may be a techie and create applications like a retail checkout tool or write software code. Your creative side may be called on to design the layout of the website and incorporate audio, graphics and video. The job might entail monitoring website traffic, answering comments, updating content and fixing broken links.

Median pay: $35 to over $75 per hour, according to, a salary comparison website. With overtime, that can rise to over $100 an hour. Web designers and developers, depending on technical skills, can command around $45 an hour. Social media pros can earn around $25 per hour.

Qualifications: Graphic design experience and a computer degree. For design, you'll need expertise in the Adobe Creative Suite of design tools, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For programming, coding experience in HTML, CSS and JavaScript is important, as well as familiarity with content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, ExpressionEngine and Drupal. If it's social media they're after, you must know how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to reach target markets, and you must be a good writer.

Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her books include What's Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties and Beyond and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

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