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How to Advance Your Career: Utilizing a Temp Agency

How to Advance Your Career: Utilizing a Temp Agency

Temping is no longer just for college students or for the long-term unemployed who just need something to pay the bills. Temping and, more importantly, working with temporary staffing and/or placement agencies, can be a great way to boost your career and the business you’re trying to start up. How does this work? Here are some examples:

Varying Commitment

Perhaps the best thing about working with temp, staffing, and placement agencies is that the amount of time you commit to the positions you accept is completely under your control. Do you want to dedicate most of your time to the business you’re building? That’s fine. Your placement agent will help you find work that can be fit in around the edges of your startup commitment.

More importantly, placement agencies are great for finding full time work that won’t require you to commit years of your life to an employer. On average, most temp placements last around fourteen weeks. If everything goes well, you might find yourself with the opportunity to join the company permanently, which is fantastic for those who prefer full time employment over entrepreneurship. If the placement isn’t a good fit you simply ride out the existing contract, make a few connections and then move on to the next gig your agent finds for you. No muss, no fuss.

Resume and Reputation Building

Many people believe that, in terms of resume fodder, temp agencies are a blemish. Here is something that you might not know: you do not have to list the temp agency on your resume. Instead, list the companies with whom you had a successful/positive placement. The language you use might have to be very specifically worded (for example, if you helped develop software for a large corporation you might say you worked on that corporation, instead of for it) but each placement is fair use on your resume.

This is great news for people who are new to their industries and who are having trouble even getting a meeting because nobody knows them yet. Working on temporary or specific projects, says Aerotek, a company that specializes in placing administrative professionals, helps you get through the door, make contacts and gather references who can all be listed on your resume and in your cover letters for future employment or in your bio on your new company’s website.


When you’re building a company from scratch or unemployed, you have to pay for your own insurance out of pocket. This is a huge expense that many struggle to afford, even with the tax breaks offered via the Affordable Care Act. If you’re out there on your own, you also don’t get paid when you don’t work, often can’t afford to take days off, etc.

Working with a temporary or staffing placement agency solves these problems. Perhaps the biggest direct benefit is the literal benefits offered by contemporary staffing companies. Most offer some form of health care, paid time off and sick pay to staffers who accumulate a certain number of hours. For example, Southeastern Technology Consulting offers paid time off, health, vision, dental and holiday pay for staffers who have clocked more than eighty hours of work through their agency.

Using Their Clout

Figuring out how to properly market yourself is incredibly difficult. You’re competing against thousands of other hopeful new-hires and entrepreneurs for the same select few companies’ attentions. Working with a temporary or staffing agency helps you bypass this hurdle.

Jamie Norton experienced this advantage directly when she signed up with a temporary agency in New York. The agency worked on her behalf, matching her with recruiters who then promoted her to companies that would be a good match for her personality and skill set. On her own, she got zero response. Via her agency, she landed an interview with a prestigious firm, which led to a temporary placement which, in turn, led to a permanent placement within that same company.

Many agencies will also reach out to companies (and potential clients) you’re dying to work with and make that initial contact on your behalf, saving you the trouble of cold calling and cold emailing. Because they have a history of successful placements, the companies will be more receptive to this “spontaneous” approach than if you were to try to make that contact on your own. Even if you don’t wind up with a placement, you might still get an interview and make some valuable contacts.

There are temporary, staffing, and placement agencies for almost every field and niche. Working with them is a great way to offset unemployment and to maintain financial stability while you work on building a business of your own.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.