Jun3020094:15 pm

Use a temp agency to get your foot in the door

Temp agencies are often viewed as a last resort, the refuge of those who have gone as long as they possibly can without work and now desperately need a paycheck. This might be the case for many (and there’s no shame in it), but temping can also be viewed as a practical way to make some money, gain some experience, and maybe get your foot in the door.

I met this week with a representative from TSI Staffing in DC who told me that their company is seeing more and more recent college graduates and other young professionals seeking temp work as a way to get experience in and gain contacts at international organizations, experience and contacts that they hope might lead to full-time jobs in the near future.

“Young professionals are increasingly seeing temp work as a great way to get their foot in the door,” the TSI rep told me. “You get direct and relevant experience, meet people working in the field, show a potential employer that even when you’re unemployed you’re still willing to work, which looks good, and you get a paycheck on top of it all. What’s not to like?”

And are there possibilities to temp for internationally-focused organizations?

“Oh absolutely,” the rep replied. “Especially in DC, there are lots of international organizations looking for temporary help.”

The TSI rep did emphasize, though, that not all staffing agencies work like they do—that is, trying as best they can to place temps with organizations that match their interests. According to the rep, some staffing agencies won’t go to this trouble. I can’t speak to the veracity of this, but it does seem to me that this is a vital point to consider when searching for a staffing agency to help you find a temp position: will they help you seek, as much as possible, positions in the field you want to pursue professionally? A worthwhile criteria to keep in mind as you also consider the broader idea of temping as a way to get a foot in the door.


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One Response to “Use a temp agency to get your foot in the door”

  1. G says:

    I would recommend taking the temp route to anyone struggling to find a summer job. It worked very well for me.

    The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I went to a temp agency hoping to find an ‘internship’ (summer job) working for a media company…something journalism focused. I figured it was a long shot, but I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I was placed in a position at the headquarters of one of the nation’s largest newspaper/media companies that happened to be located in my hometown. Half of the time was spent doing menial, HR-related things, but the other half was spent actually writing stories for the company’s corporate publication. I went back to school in the fall with a great addition to my resume and some good writing clips to show potential employers in the future. Everyone probably isn’t as lucky as I was, but you never know what they might be out there. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

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