If you're an entry-level or mid-career job seeker with specialized skill sets in tech, healthcare, sales or management, should you consider enlisting the help of a temporary staffing agency?
A few generations ago, temp agencies helped clerical workers find positions in typing pools, but those days are long gone. And at this point, highly skilled employees turn to these agencies to find advanced temporary positions that often become permanent within a few months. The recession left educated, experienced job seekers combing the streets in search of work, and in the current recovery, employers are now scrambling to fill specialized positions with workers that can handle complex tasks. Staffing agencies are stepping in to provide services on both sides, and if you could use a little professional assistance with your job search, a staffing agency might be just what you need.
Reach out to a local agency in your area and find out that they might have available for a job seeker with your unique qualifications. And as you do so, keep these dos and don'ts in mind.
1. Do be assertive. Be very clear with the agency about what you're looking for. Don't passively wait to be offered a list of available positions you can peruse through like a menu. The process doesn't work this way. The more specific you are about the kind of work you'll accept, the easier it will be for the agency to match you with an appropriate employer.
2. Do treat the staffing agency interview like a real interview—because it is a real interview. The staffing agency places its reputation on the line every time it presents an employee to a client, so you'll need to inspire confidence and trust. Dress well, show up five minutes early for your appointment, and watch your non-verbal body language. Spit out your gum, hang your coat neatly, and ditch your coffee cup before you walk in the door. (Don't leave the cup on the recruiter's desk.)
3. Don't just walk out when the session ends. Follow up. Staffing agencies aren't paid by you, they're paid by their employers clients. So they pay more attention to these clients than to you. If you don't actively reach out, you may slip through the cracks.
4. Don't pay anything. Reputable staffing agencies take money from employers, not job seekers.
5. Do work hard to impress your temporary employer if you hope to make a short contract permanent. Put down roots and learn everything you can about the company.
6. Do create a brilliant resume. Invest effort, time, and attention in the resume and cover letter that you present to the staffing agency. These documents will be very helpful tools for your recruiter or liaison, and they'll allow her to accurately pitch or present you to specialized employers who are looking to take on temporary, part-time, or full-time staff. Turn to MyPerfectResume for the tools you'll need to demonstrate your experience and skills to potential employers.