The Benefits of Going to Work For a Temporary Agency.

There are many benefits of going to work as a temporary employee.  From making money NOW to full-time placement but usually it’s on the list of possibilities at the very bottom because it is deemed so negative by most jobseekers.  However, if you have been looking around for any length of time, you may be tiring of unemployment status, exhausting your financial resources and considering going to work for a placement firm like a temp agency or staffing company.  Like most of us, you have probably saved this option as a last resort, but it may be that working for a temporary placement agency might be just the thing to get you back to work full-time.  Certainly, it might help solve some of your financial needs in the short term.  Here are a some things to consider about the decision to go to work for a temp agency.

  1. As previously pointed out, you can make money. Now. Sometimes, you can garner a little higher pay than if you were a permanent placement.
  2. Many times a company will employ a temp with a “temp-to-hire” situation.  If they like you, they will keep you.
  3. You can try out many companies, jumping around from company to company and that is part of your temp contract with the placement firm and as such not a negative reflection on your resume. If you want to try new industries or gain new skills, this might be just the way to accomplish that without a lot of risk. Try it before YOU buy it, so to speak. (This also helps resume and Linkedin skills building and explains your gap in unemployment.)
  4. Building bridges.  You make friends at temp places and you get to keep those contacts in the event that you need to reconnect in the future. Networking. It’s a must in today’s job market.
  5. Remaining relevant. There are temp agencies that are in niche industries too so if you think you can be employed sooner in your previously known industry, definitely consider going that route.

Finally, there are lots of places you can find temp agencies online and some are national chains and could help place you regionally instead if your local economy is really not supporting new job creation.  Some online job boards actually post temp-to-hire positions and this could benefit you in the short term too especially if it is a mutual agreement that the culture, pay and the work are a fit for both parties.

So, if you have been avoiding this employment option because it was only a temporary position and you thought it could not serve you, think again.  The temp agency or placement firm option may be just the ticket to allow you to pick up a few needed skills or keep some of those you already have keenly honed, allow you to potentially be picked up as a full-time employee, provide connections to others who can help you in the future and at a minimum you can make some money.  Give it a try.

 

What have you got to gain by going the temporary employment route?

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Success Factors of Top Job Seekers

Many times I get the question: “What does it take to land a job?” Such a difficult question since the answers vary by jobseeker, location, objectives and quite simply sheer luck. Here, we will share some of the success factors of job seekers we have seen.

Luck.
We all know the old adage “Lucky people are good and good people are lucky”. So a successful jobseeker can be lucky, but don’t sit around waiting for luck to come to you, make your own luck. We’ve seen very successful job seekers meet people though Twitter.  One notable example is a jobseeker who rather than always tweeting items about being desperate for a job, Tweeted facts and knowledge about her field – marketing and PR. Several socially-savy companies noticed her witty Tweets, and  opportunities began arriving on her desk. What’s specifically interesting about this example is that she actually began realizing her skills were needed in a broader way adn she turned down the jobs offered and started a social media business! Luck has something to do with this success, but she put herself in a position to be lucky. Certainly, everyone cannot start his or her own business, but by putting her name out there, this job seeker put herself in a position to be successful.

Flexibility.
Too many job seekers lock themselves into a specific career path or industry. If you have been looking for a while, time to think about doing something different, or, how about a twist on what you have been doing? Break down your qualifications into very generic skill sets – to do this, try to explain what you do in plain English vs. your former employer’s terms. Search for these skills in your favorite job search engine. If you haven’t tried ours yet, please try it: www.JackalopeJobs.com. When you look for these skills, you may find different companies and/or job descriptions, which can take you into new directions.

Stress Management.
This is an interesting situation which happened to me years ago: I spent the month of June stressing out over my job search, hitting my network, trying to grab openings and figuring out what I wanted to do next. I did nail an interview early in my job search, but the feedback was that I was really nervous during this interview (STRESS!). One good friend of mine set me up with another interview after the Fourth of July weekend, but under one condition: “Just have a great long weekend with your family and try to not to stress too much over this job search.” Two weeks after the holiday, got the interview…and passed the test. The job offer was a little slow to come, but while waiting to hear from them, another interview came along followed by another job offer! I was actually able to turn down the first offer. I guess I had a great Fourth of July weekend!

A Little Giving.
Certainly the priority is focusing on getting the job. Check that. It’s getting YOU the job. However, try to occasionally help someone else. Helping another job seeker has some good residual benefits to you; (1) you can always learn from looking at someone else’s job search and sometimes the advice you provide can be also used in your search; (2) hopefully someone you help can reciprocate the favor; (3) it’s just a good thing to do and good things happen to those who give.

Are these the three most important factors? For some perhaps, for others, probably not. But, these are three factors where we have seen success in a job search.

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Who Wants to Be A….? Lifelines And Real Answers!

 

You haven’t updated your LinkedIn status to show you were let go from your previous position.  You haven’t even told most of your friends that you are looking for work.  So, how do you reel in your pride and get back to doing whatever it is you do best?

Stop Hiding The Fact That You Need Assistance With Finding A Job!

The iconic television game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” asks “Is That Your Final Answer?” when a contestant answers a question.

Here, in the real game of life, when you lose your job, the big MONEY questions are “What Do You Want To Do Next?” and “Who Can Help You Get There?”

Millionaire” had it right before January 2010, the show offered “The Phone-A-Friend lifeline“. According to About.com, “It was one of four different lifelines contestants can use to help them answer a question. After the question and four possible answers are revealed, the contestant can then choose to use a lifeline to aid him or her in getting the correct answer.”

At the moment, there are any number of job boards, online listings and specialized recruiting firms to engage and that can seem pretty overwhelming.  I recommend doing what contestants used to do on “Millionaire“, Phone-A Friend.

Better still…get online, connect with them in LinkedIn and Facebook (do this privately if you still hope to keep your unemployment private) if you haven’t already.  Try unleashing your social network through a tool like: JackalopeJobs.com.

JackalopeJobs.com co-Founder Sudy Bharadwaj says it like this: “Find jobs and relevant connections for each job! Log in with your favorite social network and start looking for a job, then quickly know who can help.”

Sounds easy right?  It is.  Each of us know people who work or have worked previously at companies that are hiring for a position we may be suited to fill.  It only takes JackalopeJobs.com a few clicks to determine who you should reach out to and who can help you potentially make a quicker introduction to the Human Resources Manager or Hiring Manager at that company.  Chances are, even if that person’s been gone from a company a while, they’ll still have contacts on the “inside” who can guide you.

Still wondering how that can help you get a job faster?

This means you might not have to send your resume through the online entry mill and could potentially land it on the right desk the first try! What have you got to lose?  Only the opportunity to find a rewarding job that you want, where you will find your work meaningful and worthwhile.  And, isn’t that all any of us really want?

Have you used the JackalopeJobs.com tool?  How JJ help you streamline your jobseeking efforts? Have you already recommended it to friends? Post below if you want to leave a comment.

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Explaining a Gap in Your Work History

It’s happened to most of us…a gap in work.  Either from a choice to leave early to plan or prepare for your next career move or maybe it took longer than expected to find that perfect new job.  Now that you are applying for a position again, you realize you don’t know exactly how to explain your gap in employment.  I think this blog is going to clear up some of those nagging questions for you!

On Paper
Most people rely heavily on chronological resume formats and while this format is probably the most common, it can have an unintended drawback whenever you have a gap in work history. When you use strictly a chronological format, it draws attention to timelines and can of course call unnecessary attention to a gap.  In some cases even ending a position in the previous month and starting a new one in the following month can create questions you will have to answer from the interviewer, even if you left on the last day of the month and started the following day.  How do you fix that?  You could consider leaving out the month and only include the year(s) if you were in a position that spanned a considerable amount of time, say…2006 to 2010 instead of February 2006 to March 2010.  You may want to also change the formatting so that it’s not drawing attention away from the other aspects of your work such as the company, your title or your direct responsibilities. Finally, I would go heavy on the WHAT you did rather than the WHEN you did it.

Instead try alternately using a format which allows you to list other experiences. Here you could include any part-time paid and volunteer unpaid or freelance consulting work.  Be sure you don’t leave out your title, the company name, location, direct responsibilities and dates if deemed necessary.  It is also very common now to provide a “RESULTS” resume format which showcases experiences and other “key accomplishments”.

In some cases it’s more about the What than the When and if you examine closely your resume you might find there’s a lot of old chronological “stuff” you can potentially rid yourself of including especially if it’s older than 10 or 15 years. (This obviously depends dramatically upon your work history and its relevance to your current career and future career searches.)

Cover Yourself with a Compelling Cover Letter
There are a myriad of personal reasons for taking a hiatus from the workforce from staying home to raise children, care for aging or ailing parents or spouse, even personal health issues, etc.  Your cover letter can smooth over a few gaps with a little soft explanation about your absence and finish with why you desire to jump back into the exact career you are seeking with their company and how you plan to make an immediate contribution.

In the Interview
Today, with the recession, you could certainly find hiring managers who are sensible and aware of trends in the employment market.  You may well be able to turn this to your advantage while interviewing if you were laid off or workforce was dimished due to budgetary cuts or corporate restructuring.

If you were fired or let go, you may well want explain the gap in work as your attempt to make a conscious decision about your next employer, their culture and your fit within that environment.

Finally, if you were out of the workforce due to personal situations as previously noted, be thoughtful in your use of that information as you don’t want to create the impression that you have a great deal of personal “stuff” that will interfere with your work if they should decide to hire you.

What recommendations do you have for job seekers looking to explain gaps in work history?

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What’s in a Title?

Over the past several years I have been guiding jobseekers to online sources to find job postings, I’ve often been struck by the vast variations in titles and responsibilities that exist today.

I’ve begun coaching jobseekers through the inevitable search for the elusive titles they currently hold in many cases. I almost cringe when someone says “I would ideally like to make a lateral move with the same title I have now.”

I was once allowed to create my own title and I chose: Logistical Marketing Manager. Wow. What does that even mean? I have to look back and think it was logistics and marketing management, but I know the roles and responsibilities were much more than that. That’s precisely why people have such a difficult time looking for the work they want to perform by searching by title only.

In some search engines you really have to be very precise in your search. To poke fun at just how precise, I’ll use a humorous example, perhaps someone looking for work as a “rodeo clown.” One quick search in a couple of places online turns up nothing at all until I change the search to “western entertainer.” A Western Entertainer’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Protecting a fallen rider from the bull;
  • Distracting the bull; and
  • Providing an alternative target for the bull to attack.

Individuals must willingly expose themselves to great danger in order to protect the cowboy and must wear bright, loose-fitting clothes that are designed to tear away; protective gear is provided. (Thank goodness!)

Position requires speed, agility and ability to predetermine a bull’s next move when possible, and job is very dangerous because of the regular exposure to large, powerful bulls which  exposes the entertainer to a range of potential injuries, which are common and can be fatal. (I suppose that could be a concern!)

Depending on venue, clown makeup may be worn and entertainer may also be asked to provide traditional clowning entertainment for the crowd between rodeo events. American-style bullfighter  is preferred; however, we are also interested in a barrelman and comic, or traditional clown.

This posting sounds a lot like a rodeo clown. The word “clown” is even mentioned. However, until one fully reads the posting and sees the responsibilities and duties, it will be difficult to determine solely on title whether this position is right for the rodeo clown job seeker.

Obviously, this is just a funny example of how important titles are and AREN’T in your job search.

A more serious search for Marketing identifies titles that can be as varied as:

  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • Communications and Media
  • Marketing and Media Associate
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Advertising Production Coordinator
  • Online Marketing Manager
  • Branding Manager
  • Online Content Manager
  • Marketing Operations Specialist
  • Public Relations
  • Channel Marketing
  • And the list goes on, and on, and on….

My point is, when doing an online search, be open to positions equal to, just below and just above your most recent position and then really read the posting’s roles and responsibilities closely to determine whether you may be qualified for the position regardless of the exact title.

What are some of the more “interesting” titles you have heard used? Share them with everyone below.

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