How to Succeed as a Temp

As we have previously mentioned, temporary work is a great way to get your foot in the door with an organization and potentially find a permanent job with them. For that reason, you should treat each and every temporary assignment as part of a long interview process. Everything you do and say (and even the things you don’t do or say) will make a positive or negative impression on your temporary supervisor. Going into a temp assignment with a great attitude and the desire to succeed will result in you making a great impression on the company you are temping for, and could possibly lead to a full-time job offer. Follow our tips below and you will be sure to succeed as a temporary employee:

  • Always act professionally
  • Take initiative whenever it seems appropriate
  • Express interest in the organization and what you are doing
  • Don’t use the computers or office machinery for personal use
  • Don’t text or make calls while on the clock
  • Avoid being late or missing work
  • Offer to take on additional responsibilities
  • Ask thoughtful and insightful questions
  • Make suggestions for improvement if appropriate
  • Build professional connections with your colleagues
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for additional clarification whenever necessary
  • Make sure your work is properly prioritized
  • Keep your workspace tidy and organized
  • Use a professional vocabulary and avoid any slang usage

 

How to Land a Job with Little (or No) Experience

College graduates and entry-level workers continually face this age old dilemma: you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Don’t worry; we are here to tell you how you can spin your lack of professional experience in a positive way in order to help you land your first job.

First off, networking is currently a very popular way to get your foot in the door with a company in your desired field. While your resume might not have much to show in terms of experience, a networking contact who knows you well can vouch for you to a hiring manager. Rather than send your resume blindly to job postings, build your professional network and see if there is anyone you know who is hiring, or knows someone who is! A lot of times, a good personality fit is just as important as relevant experience, so you should try to make friends in the right places!

Next, it’s important to highlight the skills you’ve gained outside of a professional work environment. This includes skills you’ve picked up from group projects at schools, part-time jobs, etc. Think of situational examples you can share with a hiring manager in which you used valuable skills such as team work, problem solving, or organization.

Another great way to boost your resume before applying to permanent jobs is to try temping. Temp agencies frequently hire recent college grads with little experience, and temp jobs provide job seekers with the opportunity to work in a professional setting and gain much-needed experience. Temping is also a great option for recent grads that are not sure what field they want to jump into. You can temp around at different offices in different industries to figure out what you like best before committing to a permanent job.

Tips for Re-Entering the Workforce

If you have taken significant time away from work – whether by choice or by chance – re-entering the workforce can be a daunting challenge. Learn how to make your transition back into the working world a little easier by reading our advice below:

  1. Try Temping:
  • Temping is a great option for re-entry workers. Working temporary assignments is a great way to sharpen your skills and transition back into a work routine.
  • Temp agencies commonly work with re-entry workers, so they won’t be as wary of the gaps in your resume as a hiring manager looking to fill a permanent opportunity would be.
  1. Network:
  • Re-entry workers typically have a lot more networking opportunities than a recent graduate or young professional.
  • They have already spent several years working, so they have developed business contacts within their industry. These contacts are great networking tools and can be used to help them get their foot in the door with a great organization.
  1. Freshen Up Your Resume:
  • The rules of resume writing have probably changed since the last time you were looking for work, so make sure you update your resume accordingly.
  • If necessary, speak with a job counselor or career center for assistance. Make sure your resume best presents your developed skills and experiences, and also adheres to modern resume rules.
  1. Put Together a Portfolio:
  • Before you even have a job interview, you should create a portfolio showcasing some major projects or presentations you completed earlier in your career.
  • Providing a visual representation of what you have to offer a potential employer can help you show them the value you could bring to their company.
  1. Update Your Knowledge:
  • Re-entry workers should make sure that their technical skills and industry knowledge is up to date before applying for new positions.
  • If necessary, seek technical classes in order to update your computer or software skills. Also, research your desired industry to make sure you are up to date with current events and changes.
  1. Gather References:
  • If possible, try to get recommendations and references from your former supervisors and coworkers.
  • Submitting great references and letters of recommendation with your resume can help prove to potential employers that you are worth interviewing.

How to Dress Business Casual

The majority of offices in Washington adhere to a business casual dress code, but many professionals have trouble discerning exactly what that means. We have provided some basic standards below to help you learn how to dress business casual without breaking the company dress code:

What is appropriate?

  • Dress pants
  • Blouses
  • Skirts or dresses that reach the knee, paired with stockings in the winter
  • Polo shirts
  • Button down shirts
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Khakis or slacks
  • Sweaters

What is not appropriate?

  • Jeans
  • Sneakers
  • Hats of any kind
  • Open toe shoes or sandals/flip flops
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Cargo pants
  • Athletic wear
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirts
  • Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
  • Revealing clothing
  • Tights/leggings

Many offices do have exceptions to these rules. For example, your company might adhere to a business casual dress code, but allow their employees to wear jeans on Fridays or sandals in the summer. You should definitely confirm these exceptions with HR before dressing inappropriately without knowing. Don’t assume that you’re allowed to wear jeans since you see someone else wearing them. Before starting a new position, you should ask your HR department what the appropriate dress code is, and if you work for a staffing agency, you should ask a recruiter about their dress code policies to make sure you are aware of any exceptions and rules. As a temporary employee, you should treat every assignment as an interview, since it could potentially turn into a permanent job. Dress for success and you will be sure to not only impress your employer, but also boost your own self confidence in the workplace!

Who’s Getting Hired?

Have you ever gone on a job interview where you feel like things went well, but then you don’t receive an offer? Instead, the hiring manager tells you, “You are a strong candidate, but unfortunately we chose someone who was a little more qualified for the position.” In this situation, you are probably dying to know who that other candidate was and what they had to offer that you didn’t. Below, we have created the “perfect candidate” – the person who walks into a job interview and wins over the hiring manager every time. Here is what the perfect candidate has to offer:

The perfect candidate:

  • … is always dressed appropriately for an interview. They look polished and professional, and they wear a confident smile.
  • … brings their resume with them to every interview. On their resume, they have few to zero gaps in their employment history and a clear progression of growth throughout their career.
  • … is always on time and prepared for their interview.
  • … seems eager, excited, and interested in the open position.
  • … answers the interviewer’s questions with thoughtful, clear, and articulate responses. They do not say “um” or “uh” to fill in gaps in their thought process.
  • … can clearly explain why they are interested in the open position and why they are qualified.
  • … has received great references from their former supervisors supporting their claimed experience and qualifications.
  • … is easily reachable for potential employers. They answer their phone, respond quickly to emails, and/or return missed calls promptly.

 

No matter what position you interview for, you should always aspire to be the fabled “perfect candidate.”  You will definitely have competition for every job you seek, so make sure you are presenting yourself as the best candidate out there!

Job Search Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths and antiquated ideas about job searching that job seekers acknowledge as hard fast rules. We have chosen to highlight a few of these myths that we find particularly irksome below:

  1. Your resume should only be one page.
    • The one-page resume rule seems to have been around forever, but reducing your work history to one page can be a critical mistake for job seekers.
    • Hiring managers would much rather see your entire work history laid out on three pages worth of resume than have you exclude relevant work experience in order to fit everything on one page.
  2. Your college major will determine your entire career.
    • While there are certain career paths that require particular majors, such as engineering or mathematics, your college major does not have to dictate your entire career.
    • When choosing the perfect applicant for a job, hiring managers consider a whole lot more than what your major was in college. Relevant experience, applicable skills, and personality are all additional factors in a hiring manager’s decision.
  3. You should apply for every single job posting that you are interested in.
    •  If you are not fully qualified for a job posting you see, don’t waste your time applying for it. Job postings typically list qualities or experiences that applicants must have, but a lot of job seekers seem to ignore them. Being interested in a job and believing you can do it does not make you a qualified applicant.
    • Wasting your time applying for jobs you will never get is a big mistake for job seekers. Focus your attention and effort on jobs that you feel you are honestly qualified for and believe you can get. This will eventually lead to a much more successful job search in the end.
  4. You need to have an objective or mission statement on your resume.
    • Listing a specific objective statement on your resume can lead hiring managers to believe you are only looking for one particular kind of job and won’t consider you for other opportunities.
    • On the other hand, having a broad, generic objective statement on your resume is basically useless. Objective statements serve no real purpose and are therefore unnecessary to include on your resume.
    • Instead of an objective statement, use your cover letter to let hiring managers know what you are looking for and why you feel qualified.
  5. Companies and hiring managers will never be able to see my social media profiles.
    • Many professionals believe that their social media pages are hidden from the eyes of hiring managers. They change their names on Facebook or change their privacy settings assuming that no potential employer will ever be able to see their pictures and posts.
    • The truth is, it’s not that hard for a potential employer to see some, if not all, of your pictures and posts on social media.
    • Changing your name on Facebook to a combination of your first and middle name or even replacing it with a completely made-up name will not deter an employer who wants to find your profile. If the email address that you use to sign onto Facebook is the same email that you put on your resume, all employers have to do is search that email address on Facebook instead of your name. The profile linked with your email address will come up no matter what you’ve changed the name on your profile to.
    • Also, with constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy for old photos or posts to suddenly become visible again if you haven’t taken the time to update all of your privacy settings.

 

What do Employers Expect from Recent Graduates?

When an employer is looking to hire a recent graduate to fill an open position, certain qualities can outweigh others. Typically, the most important thing a recent graduate can offer an employer is relevant experience, but there are other qualities that come into consideration.

First off, relevant experience typically outweighs relevant knowledge. For example, having three marketing internships under your belt and an English degree can be more beneficial than having a marketing degree and no relevant work experience.

Next, having a relevant degree can outweigh your place of education. For example, having a marketing degree from a state school would make you more qualified for a marketing position than a Political Science degree from an Ivy League school.

Another factor that a potential employer will consider is whether or not a recent graduate would be a cultural fit with their organization. Some companies seek job seekers who have a lot of independence and are able to work autonomously, while others want team players who are able to work collaboratively and share the credit of a job well done.

Lastly, an employer will want to see that a recent graduate has demonstrated growth and the ability to learn throughout their academic and professional careers. For example, they want to see that you were promoted in your job at the library from Front Desk Clerk to Catalogue Manager. Or that your internship in freshman year asked you back to work for consecutive summers.

Keep these factors in mind as you start to apply for jobs post-graduation, and make sure potential employers are aware of all your best qualities and experiences.

How to Stay Fit at the Office

Sitting at a desk behind a computer for eight or more hours a day can be hard on your body. Learn how to stay active and keep fit while maintaining your office job by following our tips below:

  1. Take a walk
    • Use your lunch break or coffee break to go for a stroll around the block. The fresh air and exercise will do your body good.
  2. Use the stairs
    • So what if your office is on the 10th floor? Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator can help you burn extra calories every day.
  3. Sit on an exercise ball
    • Sitting on an exercise ball will engage your core muscles and also help to straighten your posture.
  4. Stretch regularly
    • Set an alarm as a reminder to stretch at regular intervals throughout the day. Stretching is a great way to loosen your muscles and help with blood flow.
  5. Sit up straight
    • Maintaining good posture is an easy way to relieve back pain and keep your core muscles engaged throughout the day.

It’s Not Always Easy

Finding a job is not always easy, but it’s especially difficult today considering how tough the job market is. Prepare yourself for the challenges ahead by accepting the basic truths we have listed below:

  • You’re not guaranteed to get a position because you think the job description is a “perfect fit” with your background.
  • The cover letter you spent hours slaving over might never be read by a hiring manager.
  • Every hiring manager or recruiter you deal with during your job search might not be as nice, understanding, or polite as you are.
  • Even if you are the perfect fit for a job opportunity, there is always the possibility that someone else out there is an even better fit.
  • You may never hear back from the hiring manager who told you he would let you know whether or not you got the job by the end of the week.
  • You might to have to send out dozens or even hundreds of resumes/applications before landing a job offer.
  • The job postings you apply to (and get excited about) might already be filled.
  • There are hundreds, even thousands of people out there competing to get the same jobs that you are applying for.

Finding a job is definitely hard work, and you are probably going to face a lot of rejection before successfully landing an offer, but you shouldn’t let these realities dampen your spirit. The ultimate keys to a successful job search are a positive attitude, confidence, and determination. As long as you accept the challenges that lie ahead of you and face them head on, you will surely be successful in the end. Check out some of our previous Employment Tips for more advice on how to improve your chances of successfully landing a job in a difficult market.

Transitioning Your Work Wardrobe for Spring

As the weather gets warmer, professionals are ditching their winter wardrobes in favor of cooler clothing. While it’s important to dress appropriately for the season, you also need to adhere to your workplace’s dress code. If your office adheres to a business casual dress code, we have made lists of what is and is not appropriate to wear to help you prepare your spring wardrobe:

 

What is appropriate?

  • Dress pants
  • Blouses
  • Skirts or dresses that reach the knee
  • Polo shirts
  • Button down shirts
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Khakis or slacks
  • Sweaters

What is not appropriate?

  • Jeans
  • Sneakers
  • Hats of any kind
  • Open toe shoes or sandals/flip flops
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Cargo pants
  • Athletic wear
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirts
  • Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
  • Revealing clothing
  • Tights/leggings