Need a Job? Skilled Professionals, Low-Wage Workers Needed to Temp

Skilled professionals and low-wage workers are being sought for temp jobs.

April 5, 2010— -- When the U.S. Department of Labor released its jobless report on Friday, the numbers showed that 162,000 jobs had been created.

About 40,000 of those jobs were temporary positions.

For the past six months, there's been a growth in the hiring of temp workers, said Tory Johnson, the CEO of Women for Hire and "Good Morning America's" workplace contributor.

Temp work is by no means limited to the outdated view of clerical assignments, added Johnson, who visited the show this morning.

Nowadays, temp work can run the range from low-level workers to highly skilled professionals. And people earn more per hour – about 15 percent more – in temp jobs than they do in traditional ones, Johnson said.

Where the Jobs Are

Johnson talked to several hiring firms, and she said the biggest demand is for lower-level workers, such as food handlers, call center staffers, and mailroom and assembly line workers. These are the kinds of jobs that tend to come back first in an economic recovery.

But staffing firms are seeing more demand for highly skilled workers, such as lawyers, accountants, scientists, business analysts, computer programmers and others who may fall into the technical and professional category, she noted.

Best Way to Get a Temp Job

There are two ways to go about getting a temp job. Job seekers can either go directly to an employer or approach a staffing firm.

The job seeker who approaches a staffing firm will have access to a much wider array of opportunities, she said, adding that everybody who is looking for work now should include temporary staffing firms as part of their strategy.

People should be aware that temp agencies -- just like human resources departments -- will have more applicants than job opportunities, so approach them carefully, Johnson said.

Tory's Tips:

Find reputable staffing firms. Don't register with just one.

Treat those firms with the same seriousness you would a regular employer.

If you get assigned to a company, have them tell you everything you need to know about that company. Some firms offer free tutorials, so you should test your skill level.

Web-extra Tips:

Tory Johnson offered these Web-extra tips for job seekers:

Every jobseeker should be pursuing temp work, even those who would really prefer a full-time staff position.

Just as you'd apply to many different companies, you should register with multiple staffing firms. Visit the American Staffing Association's Web site. Their member firms account for 85 percent of the staffing industry, and you can search by location and specialty. Don't assume the staffing firm works for you. They work for the employer that pays the fees. That means job seekers must interact with staffing firms as professionally as they would with a direct employer. Be focused and don't over share personal information.

Instead of submitting a resume and hoping someone finds it, cold call the firms in your area to ask their preferred method of submissions. Ask if they accept walk-in candidates or if you can meet with a recruiter who specializes in placements in your field. Ask friends who temp for contacts to the recruiters who placed them.

Take full advantage of the free tutorials (usually self-paced and/or timed online modules) offered by staffing firms to enable their candidates to remain up to date on the best technologies.

Recognize that temp work can lead to a permanent position if that's your ultimate goal. Temp work has great appeal to workers (freedom to choose assignments, exposure to more employers, and the possibility of better pay) and employers (the availability of top talent when needed). Embrace the idea of being a temp, freelancer, independent contractor.

Temp work can be a paid audition, allowing you to get your foot in the door at a great organization. It's also a way to wow a staffing firm to send you out for more and better assignments. And it offers current experience for your resume which can ultimately lead to a full-time role elsewhere.

In addition to staffing firms, pursue temp work through direct employers as well. (Employers hire even more temp workers directly than through staffing firms.) Use keywords "temp," "part-time" and "contract" to generate results in your online search inquiries.

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