Temporary, also known as “temp” agencies, often specialize in short-term clerical or support work. But they may also have opportunities in other areas, such as accounting or information technology.
Contract services firms receive job orders from clients and assign individuals to fulfill the terms of the contract. These assignments may last until the work order expires, which could be from several weeks to a year or more.
Permanent employment agencies, known as recruiters, are hired by employers to identify and recommend candidates for permanent employment positions. Recruiters are often used for specific, hard-to-fill executive or technical roles.
Kelly Services and Manpower are well known, but a Google search brings up many others, including agencies with specialties ranging from nursing to accounting to pipeline workers. Some are national and others fill a niche local market, but all are potential resources in your job search.
There are several advantages to working with professional staffing services:
- Earn income while you continue your job search.
- Gain work experience, skills, training, or increase networking contacts.
- It's easier to get a job when you have a job.
- More flexible hours or working conditions.
- Employers may offer permanent positions to temporary workers who do a good job.
- You can assess an employer or an occupation before making a commitment to training, a particular career, or a particular employer.
Employment agencies can provide valuable, honest feedback on how to approach your job search. As experienced practitioners in their fields, they can tell what jobs you are and are not qualified for, what salary level to expect, and how to sell yourself. Through their long-standing relationships with employers, they may also be aware of job opportunities that are not advertised on public job listings.
If you do decide to work with a staffing agency, it is important to always be professional and treat the agency as you would an employer. In the case of temp agencies, they will be your employer. It is important to be available when the agency has a job opportunity for you. If you turn down offers, they may not provide new opportunities in the future In addition, keep in mind that short-term wages may reduce and/or extend your unemployment insurance benefits.
As always, in approaching any organization you hope to cultivate in your professional network, it is important to be prepared and put your best self forward. Research the organizations you want to approach so that you have a basic knowledge of what they do and how they can help. Plan ahead of time what you hope to achieve, who to speak with and what questions to ask. Dress appropriately and present yourself professionally. In short, all the information outlined here regarding resumes, job applications, networking, and interviews applies to temp agencies as much as it does to a “regular employer.”