Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Temp Job: A Temporary Strategy

Finding and doing temp work is an excellent strategy for job seekers to use while continuing to search for on-staff employment. A temp job can help a job seeker build and strengthen skills and work experience, which can then be added to a resume. Plus, temp work is an excellent way to explore different types of jobs and companies and build a professional network. Temporary jobs can range from administrative work to highly skilled managerial tasks, and temp assignments can last a day, months, or even up to a year—although year-long assignments are rare.

Temporary employment agencies, also known as staffing agencies, are hired by companies needing to fill temporary jobs. As such, the hiring company pays a finder’s fee to the staffing agency. Beware of temp agencies that charge the temporary employee a placement fee; it could likely turn out to be a scam. A good place to start looking at the numerous temp employment agencies out there is through the American Staffing Association web site www.americanstaffing.net. Use the site to search for a temp agency by geographic location, occupations, and type of work (e.g. permanent placement, temp-to-hire, temp assignment, and long-term staffing).

Just as you would apply to many open job postings, you should consider registering with more than one temp employment agency. Some agencies specialize in placing workers in specific industries and/or occupations. You can inquire about an agency’s clients to help you assess whether a particular agency may be more suitable. Temp agencies typically request that you submit a resume before they set up an in-person meeting. Be aware that temp agencies typically charge client companies as much as double per hour over what the agency will be paying you—this is common practice.

You should fully commit to doing an excellent job on every temporary work assignment. Treat it as seriously as you would an on-staff position. Temporary work can be a great opportunity to prove yourself and underscore your many skills. And although it’s not typical, occasionally, a temporary position can turn into a permanent staff position. At a minimum, there’s a good chance that, by being professional and reliable and doing a great job, you will come away from a temp position with a good reference, a broader professional network, and personal pride in a job well-done.

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