February appears to have been a good month for job seekers. The private sector added 192,000 jobs last month, with all sectors adding workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One area that has been steadily adding jobs and will continue to do so through 2011 is the temporary staffing industry, according to Bob Kovalsky, senior vice president of Adecco Staffing U.S., a division of the world's largest employment agency.
"While permanent jobs are being created more slowly than anyone expected, temporary jobs have increased month over month," he told WalletPop in a telephone interview. "Companies are trying to be more productive. As a result, temporary work may be a way to demonstrate to a potential employer your capabilities and help you gain new skill sets for the future."When looking for temporary work, here are four things to keep in mind:
1) Where are the Temp Jobs?
Kovalsky said that he's seeing growth in many industries and for many positions, not just for your Girl or Guy Fridays. Demand has increased in IT, health care, sales, customer service, accounting, administrative support, and marketing.
Some companies need to fill personnel holes, when a team member is on maternity leave or vacation. Other businesses are turning to temp workers to staff up for special projects. Still others are using the temp post as a way to test out specific skills in the hopes of finding future full-time staff.
2) Treat it like a Job Interview
As soon as you make that phone call to meet with a recruiter, you are being evaluated. Besides behaving in a professional manner, handle the appointment as if you are meeting with the actual employer.
"Employers are looking for us to screen candidates for them," explained Kovalsky. "Tell your story in the way that we can tell the employer on your behalf. Demonstrate how you achieved those things you might have on your resume. References are important too."
3) What They're Looking For?
Just like any employer, recruiters want you to be able to quantify the qualities you would bring to one of their clients. What makes you different? How are you better than other candidates? If you acquired new skills, how does it connect with and augment what's already on your resume?
"Reinvestment in yourself, whether it's going back to school or taking an online seminar, needs to be serious to demonstrate that you are of higher quality than the next candidate," he advised. "So just saying you took a course or an online seminar isn't enough. It's not about how you took the course but how you apply it."
4) The Interview Goes Both Ways
Just as the temp agencies are interviewing you, you should be questioning them about their ties to the industries or companies you want to work for. It's those relationships that determine the kinds of jobs these agencies can offer candidates. Don't even bother scheduling a meeting if they ask you for a fee, warned Kovalsky. Legitimate temp firms are paid by their corporate clients, not by you, the average job seeker.
Staffing agencies tend to specialize in certain industries, markets, even companies. Check out the American Staffing Association to learn more.
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