Using a Temp Agency
By Eric Hammer
If you can't find a job right now or you simply don't want
to take on a full time job, it may be time to consider working
with a temp agency. While temps and the agencies they work with
often have a bad name, the reality is that being a temp can often
lead to full time employment and or more interesting work options.
Basically, when you sign up with a temp agency, you'll be
asked to take tests to show off the skills you already have.
You may also be allowed to take some training courses to get
you up to speed on additional skills, such as using Microsoft
Office or other basic tasks.
Then, when a job comes in, the temp agency will call you to
ask if you are available. If you are, you get sent to the job
for a specified period of time. It may be as little as a single
day of work or it may be as much as several months of work, depending
on why the temp agency has been brought in by the new employer.
Your job description will often vary widely from one day to
the next. You may be working on filing paper work one day while
the next day, you could be out helping a surveyor to take measurements
of land. There are also options to work with a temp agency that
offers specialized skills, such as engineers and even lawyers,
though most still work with more basic jobs such as secretarial
and reception skills.
How Much Can You Make?
Work at a temp agency is never particularly well paid. However,
expect to be earning at least a little above minimum wage and
possibly significantly more depending on your particular skills.
It's really impossible to quantify beyond that because temp jobs
tend to vary so widely.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Always be prepared to work hard and be ready for new experiences.
Working with a temp agency means either owning a car or being
very familiar with public transportation since you'll often need
to find your way to an office that you've never been to and you
must be on time (the gravest sin a temp can make is being late
since often, you are expected mostly to be a warm body to fill
in while the regular person is out sick or on vacation or leave).
Expect to be called on to perform a wide variety of tasks,
from arranging to book airline tickets to data entry to filing.
If you want to maximize your hours, be sure to mention that you
are willing to take on jobs that are "non standard,"
such as the aforementioned surveyor's assistant.
Qualifications / Requirements
While theoretically the only requirement for getting hired
by a temp agency is that you are still breathing, in reality
most temp agencies also look for a clean employment record (if
you were fired for cause at one job, it may not be so bad, however
being fired from multiple jobs could make a temp agency hesitant
to work with you). You'll also do better at a temp agency if
you have some useful skills, such as typing and knowledge of
office programs, including Microsoft Office (you will be tested
on your skills, so simply claiming you know Microsoft Word because
you know how to start it up and start typing won't necessarily
Start by looking in the yellow pages for temp agencies in
your area. Call all of them and arrange for an interview. Make
sure to dress professionally and to bring a copy of your resume.
Be prepared to spend a few hours at the temp agency for testing
purposes as well.
Check out these helpful resources to learn more about working
with temp agencies:
- One of the largest temp agencies in the United States, Manpower
has offices all over the country and is always hiring.
Temps - Another well known temp agency, they also have offices
in almost every city in the country.
About.com: Temp Jobs - A good examination of
what temp jobs entail and what it might be like to work with
a temp agency.