Finishing School and Starting a Career

Dear Joni,

I was thinking of looking applying to a temp agency to as a way to find work now that I am finishing school (graduated with a Masters Degree) and starting a career. After an initial search, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the different options and wondered how to choose an appropriate temp agency, what kind of job you should look for, etc. I’m wondering if you might be able to offer any advice?



Dear KM,

Happy to help!  A temp agency can be a great option if you are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what direction to go. Similar to a co-op, you can be introduced to a variety of employers and sectors and if they like you, it can often lead to a permanent opportunity.  The way it works is that you apply to the temp agency and they often require you to take technical tests – typing speed, Microsoft Excel and Word usually. Here are some links to online tests to practice. More can be found via google.  But really, if you are comfortable on the computer, you will be fine.  It is really to weed out people who may not be tech savvy.

As far as which agency to pick, if you want to get into a union environment, call the organization (educational institution or government Human Resources department) and ask what temp agencies they use.  Also, some larger organizations hire there own temp pool so they may suggest you apply to their pool if they are hiring.

Some temp agencies will post who their clients are as well on their websites.  If the temp agency is also a head hunter for permanent jobs, that is a good thing as they can learn about your abilities through your temp work (and the feedback from employers) and then recommend you for permanent openings. So look for temp agencies that post their clients and/or opportunities available on their websites.

You also want to make sure you feel a report with the temp agency rep that you are working with as they will be talking about you to employers so you want someone who you feel comfortable with and you think will give you a good reference i.e. be your cheerleader.

The temp agency will offer you work and you can say yes or no but be careful.  Too many “no” responses and they’ll stop presenting opportunities.  It is best to take whatever comes with a smile and work hard and wow even the employers you would never want to work for full time as it can lead to better placements and even permanent opportunities.

I hope that helps!

Good luck with starting a career,
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