Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

The Temp Diaries: How a Temp Agency Can Help You

I accidentally signed up with a temp agency in January. I applied for a job I found online, and didn’t realize that it was an assignment posted through the agency. The good news is that I got a call faster than I ever have before, and I did end up getting some work out of it. The bad news is…there actually didn’t turn out to be a whole lot of bad news.

Doing temporary work through a staffing agency isn’t as stable or lucrative as a full-time position, but it does have some advantages. As a recent graduate, I was able to find something to pay my bills, gain some new experiences and even have access to benefits, had I wanted them. Here are some surprising things I learned from my experience as a temporary worker, and some tips for trying it yourself.

I was employed full-time for a little more than half of the five months I worked for the agency. My first job lasted for seven weeks. Then I was out of work for about four, and then my second assignment would have continued indefinitely. I chose to end it after about six weeks because it was pretty miserable. One major advantage to temporary work is that you choose which assignments you accept. And, as long as you keep a healthy relationship with the agency staff, you don’t really have to feel too bad about being choosey. Everyone at my agency was very nice and would call to make sure everything was going okay about once a week. New opportunities would also come up about once a week, give or take. Depending on how healthy your wallet is looking, you can accept or decline at your discretion.

A few tips for working with an agency:

Do choose a reputable agency. The bigger, better agencies will be able to offer you free professional development courses— never learned to work Excel? No problem! And health and retirement benefits are offered. While smaller agencies might also do well, why not take advantage of these perks?

Do always call your recruiter back ASAP. They might like you, but their job is to fill openings for their clients right away. I once missed a call at 1 p.m. and when I called back at 3 p.m. it was gone.

Do check into specialized staffing agencies. They cater to specialized fields, which will make the jobs you get more pertinent to your career advancement.

Don’t expect to have awesome assignments all the time. You might file papers, answer phones or make outbound phone calls. These are valuable skills that you might not otherwise have had…but it probably won’t be your dream job.

That being said, do enjoy yourself. One of the unspoken advantages of a temporary position is that your stress level should be pretty low. You should always do your best, as you might meet someone you’ll want to network with later. But it’s also nice to know you can always duck out in a few weeks.

Questions? Want to share your own experiences? Send me a tweet, @ithinkther4iamb, or leave a comment below. #tempdiaries

IMAGE: Courtesy of Brain Track

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.