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8 Ways to Find and Keep a Temporary Job

Temporary employees make up 3 million members of the total American workforce. Explore how you can land and retain a temporary job in an increasingly competitive hiring market.

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Find and Keep a Temporary Job | Shutterstock

Almost 3 million members of the American workforce are involved in temporary jobs. Temp positions are significantly common among a wide range of industries. From construction workers to medical staff to financial professionals, people are involved in temporary employment across different industries. Most temporary employees often find themselves out of a job after a while. But a certain percentage manages to retain their temporary employment in the long-run. This blog explores how you can do the same.

Finding and Keeping a Temporary Job

Temporary staffing agencies used to be the domain of people looking for flexible, part-time employment or new entrants in the job market. However, these days, such agencies cater more to a growing number of unemployed professionals and skilled workers. With companies all over the world laying off employees to cut costs and improve their bottom line, there is a fairly large segment of the workforce that is ready to work temporary jobs. If you’re a member of that segment, you have to realize the competition is tough out there. With dozens, if not hundreds, of candidates applying for the same temporary position, the following tips can help you land and retain a paying temp position:

  1. Use the Right Agency
  2. Improve Your Resume
  3. Have Realistic Salary Expectations
  4. Deal With Being Overqualified
  5. Don’t Be a Slacker
  6. Opt-In For Training Programs
  7. Don’t Undervalue Perks
  8. Reach Out To Multiple Agencies  

Let’s take a brief look at each tip below and see how it can help you get and keep a temporary position.

Use the Right Agency

One of the first things you need to do is ensure that you’re using the right agency that targets your skills or expertise. With thousands of staffing offices all across the country, you will need to do your homework before committing to one. A good method is to look up all the top-ranking agencies that show when you run a Google search for staffing firms located near you. But don’t stop there.

Reach out to temp communities with people who have worked for the agency you’re thinking of going with. If they say they have been treated well, chances are you will be too. The right agency can offer you job listings in line with your skillset, and help you connect with employers that have openings that may suit you.

Improve Your Resume

No, that three-page MS Word document you call a resume is not going to work in the modern job market. Most temp positions come with specific goals and timelines. That means neither the agency nor the employer holds too much interest in reading detailed accounts of your work experience.

Instead, use an online template to generate a fresh, one-page resume that outlines your skills, accomplishments, and projects. This information demonstrates your ability to handle the responsibilities of a staffing position depending on if you have the right skills for the job, something recruiters are far more interested in.

Have Realistic Salary Expectations

A lot of factors determine the compensation you are likely to receive from a temporary gig. Your job experience, your location, and the market’s condition all play a role in the prevailing temp job wages. You need to be honest and realistic about what compensation you expect from your temporary role.

If the salary seems too low to meet your needs, don’t take the job. Otherwise, you’ll only end up snubbing it or quitting, leaving a poor impression on the employer as well as the agency that hired you. Instead, clearly communicate the salary you expect, and leave it up to the staffing agency to find you a job that fits it.

Deal With Being Overqualified

If you’re overqualified for a specific temporary position, you can be sure the interview will bring it up. However, being overqualified does not always have to hamper your efforts to land a temporary gig. Yes, most agencies and employers are hesitant to hire overqualified personnel, because they feel a step-down will cause too much friction. But there are ways to overcome that.

Make it clear to your recruiter that even though you have a higher skill level than required, you leave your ego at the door. Convey to them that having employment supersedes what you feel would be a more deserved position based on your skills and experience. Pitch yourself as offering your expertise at a far lower cost than a full-time professional.

Don’t Be a Slacker

Whatever you do, once you land a temporary job, don’t coast through it. Being a slacker, or having a reputation of being one, is going to seriously impair your chances of keeping the job longer than a few months. No employer is going to tolerate laziness or ineptitude for more than a certain duration of time. After that, they will probably show you the door.

So if you are lucky enough to get appointed to a temporary position, respect it and show your appreciation by giving it your all. Chances are your employer will notice your dedication and offer you a full-time position. After all, good resources are hard to find these days.

Opt-In For Training Programs

A temporary job at a company can serve as your foot in the door to a better position. Even if you lack expertise or skills, a temporary position at a company that offers training programs to employees can be just the leg-up you need. If your employer offers training for or related to your skillset, you should always opt-in. It is a no-brainer! Most training programs for employees are free, and you can learn valuable skills and information to pad out your professional expertise. If you’re lucky, your employer may even take note of your efforts and give you priority for a suitable position that opens up.

Don’t Undervalue Perks

Of course, we all want a fat paycheck at the end of the day, which is something that doesn’t always happen with temporary staffing positions. But there are other things that you should also give due consideration. The perks and benefits that come with your temporary employment are nothing to be scoffed at. Good agencies take care of things like worker’s compensation coverage, 401k accounts, and medical coverage. Value them, and add them to the compensation you receive, instead of just focusing on the cold cash aspect.

Reach Out To Multiple Agencies  

Ever heard the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? It applies to when you’re searching for temporary jobs as well. You do not want to work with a single agency, hanging on to whatever job listings they send your way. You want to do your research and work with several agencies at the same time. For example, if you’re an IT professional, you want to work with at least two or three agencies that specifically handle IT staffing. That way, you increase the probability of landing a job that suits your skills and lifestyle. At the very least, you will have options and won’t be tempted to take the first job you interviewed for out of desperation.

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