So, here you are. You’ve recently finished school or, you’ve recently decided to make a huge change in your life, and you find yourself looking for an entry-level job. It’s confusing and intimidating. What do you do? Where do you start?
Why not start as an entry-level temp for an employment agency?
“Yeah, right,” I hear you say. “Employment agencies and temp jobs are only for people who already have job experience. They’re not going to be interested in me!”
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Employment agencies work with people of all levels, from fresh graduates to C-level executives. They work across all industries and all job descriptions. Think of a job, and there’s an employment agency trying to fill that opening. You just have to know how to find it.
Are temp employment agencies right for someone without a lot of job experience?
Finding a job isn’t easy. For people who are new to the workforce, or who are changing industries or returning to the workforce after an extended absence, it can seem impossible. What you need is someone on your side who knows how to find opportunities and who knows how to get you in the door.
Employment agencies can provide exactly the kind of guidance you need. They know of job openings or potential job openings that aren’t advertised and they know what kind of employers and positions will appreciate your talent and your potential.
And that’s really what it comes down to. Whether you have only a little experience or you have work experience that is no longer applicable to the job you want, you have a lot of potential. You just need someone who can help you bring it out.
Do I want to work with an employment agency?
In a word, yes. Working with an employment agency is a great way to find a job, especially when you’re new or returning to the job market. You’ll get an expert to review your resume, someone who knows what will appeal to an employer. And you’ll get interviewing advice.
Employment agencies work for the employers, but they’re only paid when they find someone who fills the job. It’s in the agency’s best interest to help you find a position, and it’s in your best interest, too. Partnering with an employment agency, especially when you’re looking for an entry-level job, just makes sense.
Why should I be a temp?
Your first job is a big deal. You’ll learn more about the business world from your first six months in a job than you could ever have learned from going to school or talking with employees. More importantly, you’ll learn more about yourself and what you want, and what you don’t want, out of a job.
Working as a temp gets you valuable working experience, as well as a paycheck while you’re learning. Most temp employment agencies provide training, which improves your skills while making you a more marketable employee, giving you the opportunity for more work. It’s an investment that pays back both the temp agency and you.
What do I need to know before working with a temp agency?
Temp agencies often specialize in certain fields, such as healthcare, human resources, customer service and IT. There are also temp agencies that are true generalists. If you have special training or education in a particular field, like accounting, working with an agency that is dedicated to that field is a great starting point, but don’t limit yourself.
Temp agencies can and do help candidates find full-time jobs. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes a client may want to hire you to work for them. If that’s your ultimate goal, let the agency know. Some clients, and some positions, are more open to this possibility than others, so you’ll want to make sure that your interest in a permanent position is clear in case any become available.
It’s important to develop a rapport with the agency. Talk to their recruiters and let them know what you want to do. If you have good communication with your agency, it will be faster and easier for them to place you, and the jobs they present to you will be better aligned with your preferences and goals. Part of this rapport is to make sure they know where you are in your job search. They’ll need to know where you’re sending your resume and where you’re interviewing so they don’t duplicate your efforts or waste their time. If you’re close to getting a job offer, be sure to let them know that as well, and if you’re on an assignment when you get that offer, be sure to resign as professionally as possible.
You will need to meet with the agency at the start of your relationship, whether online by remote interview or in-person. They’ll want to know who they’re presenting to their client. Treat that meeting just like you would a job interview – show up on time, with a copy of your resume, and dress professionally. You have a much greater chance at success if the agency feels comfortable representing you.
How do I be a good temp?
So, you did it. You polished your resume, wore your best suit, and got an opportunity to start a temporary position. What do you now? How do you become a successful temp, get placed in more positions, and possibly get a permanent job?
Make sure you have all the details before you start the job
Be sure to ask a lot of questions when you are first advised of the assignment, but also, do some research on the client. Take the time to review the company website and any recent stories about them in the business press. Coming to work prepared will make a great impression.
Arrive five to ten minutes early every day
Make sure you know where you’re going, and if you have the time, drive to the client site before your start date so you won’t be late and/or stressed on your first day. Once you know where you’re going, be sure to arrive at least a little early every day that you work. The goal should be to look and feel as put together as possible when you’re at the client site.
Ask intelligent, pertinent questions
When you’re asked to complete a task or shown a new function as part of the job, be sure to pay attention, take notes, and ask smart questions. You want to make sure you understand what’s required, but you also want to make it obvious that you’re fully engaged and capable of completing the job well.
Complete every task you’re assigned and ask for more
When you’re given a job, make sure you understand it, then complete it thoroughly, accurately and as quickly as possible. Once you’ve completed the task, make sure you ask for more to do. Nothing is as frustrating to a client as an idle temp, so be sure to keep busy.
Be friendly and approachable while at work
Being a temp is weird. You’re new at work, and you may very well not be around for long. So, it’s a natural inclination to not go out of your way to talk to anyone. But that’s not really a good idea.
When you’re friendly and approachable at work, you make other people feel comfortable, which adds to the positive impression you’re hoping to create. But more than that, when you’re friendly with people, it’s easier to learn the quirks of the office. For instance, one of the copy machines might not be able to collate more than five pages before becoming jammed, or the coffee machine may frequently turn itself off. Those are the types of things that probably won’t be covered in training, but if you know them, they can help you not create any more chaos or negative feelings than are already there in every office.
When you’re at the start (or re-start) of your career, approaching an employment agency for an entry-level temp position can be intimidating. But it can also be a great start to your career.