The Truth About Temp Agencies
Going to a temp agency is almost like signing up for an online dating site. You make your profile as flattering as possible and you punch in your criteria, and they filter out all the duds and show you some potential matches. It’s actually very effective! There are a lot of benefits to using temp agencies, especially when you need to find a job quickly. However, like anything else, there is a downside, so it’s important to be fully informed to avoid the pitfalls.
Just like with dating sites, it is important to know which temp agencies are going to show you what you’re looking for. Different agencies have different specialties; for many of them it is administrative work, for others it’s legal, and so on. A lot of agencies these days also have a section on their website where you can look at current job opportunities, which is a good way to get a feel for the kind of work the agency could hook you up with. Generally you can submit your resume online and a recruiter from the agency will contact you and bring you in for an interview to get a feel for your work experience and the type of jobs you’re looking for. Many agencies will also test your skills, for example with a typing test or a computer skills assessment. Then, you go home, and wait for them to call you with an opportunity.
Now here comes the tricky part. Just like with online dating, with a temp agency you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Not every pairing will be a perfect match. You may be looking for something long term, and the temp agency might only have a 4-day long assignment for you. The important thing is to keep at it. It never hurts to date around and check out all your options, and it also doesn’t hurt to try short term work arrangements while you’re waiting for something permanent to come along. Not every company you end up temping at will be your dream match, but it’s good experience and definitely a horizon-broadener. Also, as many of us know, these days it’s all about networking, and you just never know what that week-long stint filling in for the receptionist who went on a cruise could lead to in the future. “Oh yea, Sandra, the nice young lady who remembered how I take my coffee! She’d be perfect as a Personal Assistant to my super important CEO friend…” And voila, Sandra just got an in.
Of course, with temp work, you probably won’t be eligible for benefits right away, there may be times when they have no opportunities for you, and you also can’t plan ahead. The important thing is not to depend on the temp agency, and only the temp agency. You should also be continuing your job search on your own. However, it can’t hurt to have more people looking for jobs for you besides just you. Temp agencies can be a really useful tool in your job search, and who knows, maybe you’ll also meet your soul mate and you can finally cancel your match.com subscription, too!
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