Tame the Résumé Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Tiger and Boost Your Job Interview Chances

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Have you ever found that perfect job opportunity and then uploaded your résumé to the employer’s website, fully expecting to achieve a job interview? Well, who hasn’t, right?

While it is possible that other applicants were more qualified than you for the job, it is also likely that the employer scanned your resume into their ATS and it was not written and formatted for optimal interpretation by the system. More than a few highly qualified people have not made the cut for this reason.

Employers use ATS to search for keywords and basic job qualifications that can help them identify applicants best suited for a position. These systems use algorithms to help employers standardize their résumé searches and pinpoint information that is most relevant. When a large number of résumé are being received, this can be a huge time saver and also help to demonstrate the fairness of the application process.

Here are three tips to keep in mind when submitting résumés online for employment opportunities.

Keywords are king in beating the ATS.

ATS will search résumés for keywords based on specific position announcements. Applicants who meet the keyword challenge get noticed, while the others will miss out. Before applying for a position online, search the position announcement and identify the keywords that really seem to stand out. Make sure your résumé narrative includes these keywords. However, do not over use them because that can seem manipulative. It is best to keep the use of each keyword phrase to under 2% or so of the total narrative.

Avoid fancy fonts, columns, text boxes, and tables.

Getting creative with your résumé is usually the kiss of death in ATS. These systems cannot interpret non-mainstream fonts, complex formats, and graphics, so the material contained in them will be omitted. Instead, provide a consistent and clean format that is easily scannable and readable by ATS.

Remember to place your name at the top of the document and include the position title. Also, use standard section headings such as “Professional Education” or “Career Highlights” and place the dates of employment to the right of the company name.

Upload the resume as a MS Word doc. or Txt file.

It is never advisable to upload your résumé as a Mac, PDF, or other formatted file. You will be throwing the dice in regard to the readability of these and other formats by ATS. With all of its flaws, MS Word is the standard within business environments.

Sometimes it can be fun to buck the system and do something different. However, certainly not when submitting your resume online for the job of your dreams! The txt. format is probably the safest to use because it is missing all fonts and most formatting. However, it is difficult to read for most other purposes.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that you do not have to bow totally to the will of ATS. You do not have to give up your fancy resume with plenty of plenty of bells and whistles. Instead, create a resume that is usable as a hard copy, something that you can distribute and be proud of. Convert the document to a much simpler, more scannable formatted MS Word doc. or txt. file that can be uploaded for online job opportunities.

The Skype Interview: Treat this 21st Century Interview Technique with a Little Old School Savvy

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The digital world is changing everything from how we communicate to how we consume news, and it is even changing how we interview.

The job world is becoming more and more comfortable with adopting virtual tools to vet candidates, conduct interviews, have meetings, and share information. The digital age can make communication a little stale though, which is why employing some “old-school” tricks can make you stand out against other candidates during a Skype interview.

Here are a few ways you can add some charm and finesse to your Skype interview.

Dress as though you’re meeting your interviewer in person

Believe it or not, sprucing up your appearance makes a difference. Maybe you put on a tie or a string of pearls. Maybe you put on a little makeup or comb and set your hair. If these are things you’d normally do for an in-person interview, do them for your Skype interview as well.

Your appearance, even over the web, is your first impression and should be taken seriously.

Take account of your surroundings

You also want to make sure your surroundings look good on camera. You don’t want to take your Skype interview with your unmade bed in the background. You also don’t want to have that neutral wall in the background washing you out.

Turn your camera on and experiment with a few different locations in your house. Make sure you look your best on camera. Choose a location that isn’t too revealing (no bathrooms please) where the lighting is good and there’s not too much going on.

Do your research

A virtual interview can make us feel like preparation is not as necessary as it would be for an in person interview. This is not true.

You will want to prepare for your Skype interview just as you would if you were meeting the hiring manager in their office. Figure out how long it would take you to get to the office. Make sure the company’s values align with your own. Learn as much as you can about the position you’re being interviewed for.

Decide which approach—email or snail mail—will work for a thank you

Generally, you’ll follow up with an email, thanking the hiring manager for considering you for the position. But in some cases, it’s best to opt for snail mail. You’ll want to put some thought into figuring out which thank you style fits best.

Pull out a physical, folded, paper thank you card and hand-write a note to send off. Find that book of stamps you bought last year and take a trip to the post office (or just stick the letter in your mailbox for the postal worker to pick up).

Physical thank you letters are a pleasant surprise nowadays, especially since hiring managers are typically inundated with emails.

If you’ve applied for a tech position or some other fast-paced industry position, sending snail mail might make you seem dated so sending an email is best.

Either way, make sure to send a thank you. It shows you appreciated the hiring manager’s time and are sincere about wanting the position.

Though these tips might seem like no-brainers, you’d be surprised how many interviewees don’t abide by them. These little measures could mean the difference between making an impression and being just another applicant.

What tips do you have for someone preparing for his or her Skype interview?

Boost Your Job Search Networking Prowess with a Personal Marketing Plan

Businessman drawing Marketing Plan concept on blurred abstract background

There has been a lot written online and elsewhere about the importance of networking in creating a successful job search campaign that lays the groundwork for finding a great job. This blog has touched on the issue in the past with several posts.

When attending a job search networking opportunity or just speaking individually with people who may be able to help you, the usual approach is to pass out your résumé and related materials to give people an idea of your background and accomplishments. However, these materials are not necessarily crafted to provide optimal information for the purpose of networking.

A more targeted approach to communicating with networking partners is to provide a personal marketing plan. Like a résumé, this document provides information regarding current or previous employment and skills, abilities, and accomplishments. But, unlike a resume, a personal marketing plan can help others understand a lot more about your offerings and priorities that can help them promote you with their contacts.

Here are five ways a personal marketing plan can outshine a résumé when networking.

Flexibility in providing a much broader range of information.

The focus of a résumé is on persuading prospective employers to interview you for available positions. This requires you to direct the narrative much more on qualifications that match specific positions. However, this is not necessarily conducive to successful networking opportunities which often require a much broader representation of your background and interests.

Better visual representation of your background, skills, accomplishments, and career goals.

A personal marketing plan can truly provide a concise, easy-to-read narrative that someone can review and understand very quickly. There is no need to worry about applicant tracking systems or commonly accepted formats, so the document can better accommodate text boxes, tables, and graphics.

Improved understanding of your job search campaign priorities.

In order for others to help you in finding a great job, they not only need to know your background, skills, and accomplishments, but they also need to understand what sectors and particular employers you are targeting. This will enable them to prioritize how they promote you and who they target in that effort. A personal marketing plan is better suited in providing this information in a succinct manner.

Enable others to understand and appreciate your personal brand.

There is not really ample opportunity in a résumé for you to expand on your vision of how you can best contribute and what you want to accomplish in your career. As stated earlier, a resume and even a cover letter are driven by the need to secure employment interviews. This is also certainly true of a personal marketing plan. However, there is a much better opportunity to present branding information in a more compelling and detailed fashion. You can even outline what types of work environments and conditions you are best suited for which you would definitely not do in a résumé.

Force you to think about your personal brand and what you are specifically looking for in a job and career.

It is possible to have an outstanding résumé and related materials but, at the same time, be unable to articulate what you are best at and what you want to do in your career. A personal marketing plan requires considerable thought on these and similar issues. It serves as an outstanding way to truly narrow down where your passions lie. Committing to the process of developing an effective personal marketing plan is certainly time well spent.

Conclusion

When you develop your personal marketing plan, do not keep it to yourself. Share it with people you trust and request input. The plan is also not static, but is part of a dynamic process that needs to reflect they ways you are changing and progressing in your thinking about your career. Here is an example of a personal marketing plan. However, it is critical that you create a plan that fits you (one plan example does not fit all).

We would love to hear from people who have developed a personal marketing plan and their thoughts on its value to their job search.

Navigating the New LinkedIn for Your Job Search

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Earlier this year, not so subtle changes were unveiled on LinkedIn, and many found (and still find) the new interface difficult to navigate. Technology changes are frequent and inevitable, but nonetheless frustrating. Not to worry, though, with a little practice and instruction, you can use the new interface for your job search just as easily as you did before the changes.

Among other changes, the homepage, Advanced Search, and messaging functions have undergone facelifts. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the changes and show you how to maximize your job search with the new interface.

The Homepage

The new LinkedIn homepage is meant to be more intuitive, offering you a “big picture” view of your timeline and stats and offering suggestions for connections (remind you of any other social media platform? Facebook maybe?)

Let’s take a look at where everything is now:

LinkedIn_Homepage

 
This is a quick view of what your personal profile looks like and some statistics. Included is your photo, tagline, how many people have viewed your profile recently, and how many connections you have. You can click on each of these sections to provide you more info. For example, clicking on your photo will bring you to your profile. Clicking on the number of people that have viewed your profile will bring you to a detailed account of who’s looked at it.

  1. The new search bar. You can use this to search for a person, business, or job. Simply type in the name of the company, person, or job title, and you will be taken to a list of results.
  2. The toolbar. From the toolbar, you can access the “address book” with your network contacts, a jobs (more on this below) page, messaging, and your notifications. You’ll also notice a “Me” tab. Clicking on this tab will take you to your account settings and LinkedIn’s help pages.
  3. The status update. Here you can post updates, photos, and links, which will be viewable to your network. You can post here that you’re looking for a job or share links or photos you think your network might find useful. Remember, LinkedIn is the social network for business professionals so you’ll want to limit what you share to professional information.
  4. The timeline. Here’ you’ll see what your network is sharing. You can view their status updates, links, and photos here.
  5. Who to follow. In this section, LinkedIn suggests people you might be interested in following based on an algorithm that analyzes your profile, connections, and updates.
  6. Messaging bar. Much like the Facebook messaging app, you can use this to send instant messages to your network or other people you’ve recently been in contact with via LinkedIn. This allows you to correspond with them in real time.

The Jobs Tab

LinkedIn’s new jobs tab is actually quite useful and provides you a big picture view of jobs you’re qualified for based on information in your profile. LinkedIn suggests jobs you’re qualified for based on your tagline and previous work experience, as well as where you’re located.

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If you’re a premium member, LinkedIn will also show you which jobs you’re most qualified for in your area. You can also use the search bar at the top of the page to search for specific jobs by location and title.

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Advanced Search
One of the most useful tools LinkedIn offers for people or job searching is the Advanced Search option. When the interface changed, many thought it disappeared, but the tool is still available.

To get to it, use the search bar on the homepage to search for a certain job title or person. Once you do this, you’ll be taken to a page that looks like the example below:

LinkedIn_Advanced Search
 
If you’re looking for a person, simply use the Advanced Search tool on the left hand side of the screen. You can narrow your search by title, location, industry, etc.

If you’re looking for a job, first click the “see all jobs” option, and then use the Advanced Search tool on the left of the page to narrow your search.

Once you’ve played around with the new interface, using LinkedIn is still a great way to conduct your job search. Have you used the new interface?

Take Control of Your Job Search Campaign

Mann hlt Job fest.As a professional résumé writer and Strong Interest Inventory practitioner, I have helped hundreds of people who are looking for job and/or career opportunities. These people generally fall within one of three categories: 1) attacking the job search with energy and drive; 2) actively pursuing opportunities that they see; or 3) passively waiting for opportunities to come to them.

There is a saying that “hard work makes its own luck.” This is certainly true with job searches because those who wait for something to happen usually wait for a very long time. In addition, those who work at it, but not at full throttle often become frustrated because there is some positive movement, but not enough to get very excited about.

Job seekers who actively pursue new employment with focus, determination, and enthusiasm will often thrive on their own momentum. They become particularly sensitized to emerging opportunities that have to be responded to quickly or that can be nurtured over time. There is considerable value in feeling in control of a situation or process as opposed to being reactive and not in control.

Here are two ways to take charge of your job search campaign that will reap optimal results.

Be very structured in the way you plan and manage your efforts.

“Structure” can seem like a dirty word to some people who prefer to be free spirits when it comes to finding employment. While flexibility can be great, it does not have much value if there is not a plan in place with key objectives and measurable milestones. Structure and proper planning can actually build a sense of control because they provide focus and purpose to the job search. This is particularly important during the more difficult times when results seem to be lacking.

It is particularly helpful to document the job search strategies you want to use and the outcomes you expect to achieve. There is something about writing things down that provides clarity and a stronger sense of commitment. By better understanding your game plan, it is much less likely that your thoughts and actions will drift away from your key objectives. The concept of structure and planning was also discussed in an earlier post.

Seek out others to find or offer guidance and support.

Finding a great job can be a lonely venture, but it does not have to be that isolating. At any given time, a significant portion of the labor force is either looking for a different job or is unemployed. A Gallup study reported in 2015 that approximately 50% of currently employed U.S. workers are either actively looking or contemplating new employment.

Communicating with others about your job search can be very productive. Most people, unless direct competitors for positions, will be receptive to sharing ideas or suggestions on strategies that work or employers who may be hiring. Like most group efforts, the combined efforts of many people can be much more productive than the sweat of one person.

The way this best manifests itself is through the concept of networking. Joining job search chats online, participating in job fairs, and finding local job clubs are great ways to reach out to others. According to a study published by LinkedIn in 2016, approximately 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. While a fairly small sample (3,000 participants), the study results are very compelling.

Conclusion

Achieving a successful job search campaign and finding a great job is not really any different than most things people do. The results usually reflect the amount of time, energy, and commitment dedicated to the effort. Work is a critical part of most people’s lives, not only because it is the way we make the money we need to survive, but because it has strong ties to self-confidence / self-worth and a sense of belonging. Treat your job search campaign as if it is one the most important things you need to do because it probably is.

Using Twitter to Maximize Your Professional Brand

 
Social media is everywhere in today’s digital age. One would be missing out if he or she avoided the several social platforms.

Twitter is one of those platforms often avoided by the more seasoned employees, and I’d urge you to take another look at it as a tool to help bring awareness to your professional brand.

Here are some stats to consider:

  • Twitter has 313 million monthly users who are active on the platform
  • Customer service is regularly conducted on Twitter with an increase of 2.5 times seen in 2016
  • Over 65% of U.S. companies use Twitter for marketing (companies with over 100 employees)
  • Companies regularly use Twitter to post about open positions

In short, Twitter is a great, active community of users and sharing your brand on the platform is the perfect way to get noticed.

Here are some tricks and tips to using Twitter.

Keep it professional

If you’ve ever scrolled through the thousands of tweets posted every day, you’ll notice some people tend to share really personal information or voice their opinions on controversial topics.

When it comes to using Twitter for professional purposes, you’ll want to refrain from sharing this kind of information. Use the platform, instead to share information relevant to your brand or the kind of work you do.

For instance, if you’re a social media manager, share some blog posts you’ve found really useful.

Don’t hesitate to share any inspiring quotes or photos either. Twitter users love a good quote.

Engage in conversation

Do you like someone else’s tweet? Let them know! Retweet it or comment on it. The best way to get noticed on Twitter is to engage with others using the platform. To do this, you’ll want to:

  • Post regularly
  • Retweet other’s tweets you like
  • Join in on Twitter conversations
  • Search companies you like and follow them
  • Find people—friends, family, people in the same industry, hiring managers at companies you’re interested in—and follow them

Engaging on the platform builds your list of followers and allows you to “meet” people and make connections.

In fact, it’s helped connect people to hiring managers and jobs in the past.

Learn the art of the hashtag

You’ve probably seen people making fun of the use of hashtags in the past. These pound sign statements actually have a really important use, though.

Hashtags are used by brands and people to create a buzz. Marketers use hashtags to build brand awareness, and people can use hashtags to participate in conversations.

For instance, every Wednesday, social media tool, Buffer, has a conversation with its followers. To do this, they use the hashtag #BufferChat. Participants can use the search tool on Twitter to find out what everyone is talking about during the #BufferChat.

Buffer regularly throws out questions to their following, and then users respond to the questions and include the hashtag, #BufferChat at the end of their tweet so Buffer can find their answers.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

 

You can search just about any topic using a hashtag in Twitter’s search field and pull up entire conversations to participate in. Want to know who’s hiring? In Twitter’s search bar, type in “#HiringNow” and see what comes up.

Hiring Now

Tons of companies post open positions on their Twitter page and use hashtags so users can find the openings. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Twitter is a great place to connect with like-minded people and build your professional brand. It can even be a great place to find a job. Have you used Twitter in this way? How did it work out?

 

 

Will Job Fairs Help You Find a Great Job?

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Job fairs have gotten a bad rap over time as resembling more of a meat market than job search opportunity. While it may be easy to dismiss job fairs as a waste of time, a better option is to develop reasonable expectations regarding what can and probably cannot be accomplished by attending.

It is important to keep in mind that most employers who participate in job fairs are not necessarily looking to hire people on the spot. Instead, they use these opportunities to gain brand recognition through sponsorship promotion and meet with and identify potential candidates who, at some point, can be interviewed for available positions.

For hungry job seekers looking for work immediately, it can be frustrating to spend several hours at a job fair just to leave empty-handed.  Here are 3 tips you can use to optimize the time spent at a job fair.

Plan ahead to make sure you can take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.
Most job fairs are advertised in the newspaper and radio/TV and through online sources. Take a look at the list of participating employers and identify those who best fit your career goals and interests. Learn as much about these employers as you can before setting foot in the job fair.

Job fairs usually offer short workshops and presentations in relation to career and job search topics. Take a look at the options being offered and plan on attending those that most interest you.

Come prepared to offer the best impression possible; first impressions are critical.
Make sure you have high quality materials, such as résumés, bios, and related documents to distribute widely. It is a great idea to bring business cards with you that provide your personal information and possibly a succulent branding statement.  You can have personal business cards made at online sites such as vistaprint or any local printing location.

Also dress in business or business-casual attire. Showing up at the job fair looking like you stopped by on the way to the beach is not advised.

Finding a great job is a business venture in itself, so make sure people understand how important it is to you. You never know if you are talking to someone who may be making a hiring decision about you, so be prepared to treat everyone with attention and respect.

Arrive at the job fair with a networking mindset.
The best value to attending a job fair is the range of networking opportunities it provides. Spend the time it takes to develop a focused, but compelling elevator pitch about your skills, talents, and accomplishments. You generally do not have any more than a few minutes to give your pitch, so prioritize the information you want people to know about you.

A job fair is no time to be a wall flower. Actively look for opportunities to speak with other participants. Most job seekers are dealing with similar issues, anxieties, and frustrations. You will be surprised how willing people can be to share ideas and offer support at job fairs and similar events.

Conclusion
Job fair participation should be one approach to add to your job search toolbox as long as you recognize that the impact is probably going to be more indirect than direct. There is a previous post that offers suggestions on developing a winning job search strategy. There are also resources available online to help with job search campaign creation.

Although people do leave job fairs with employment offers, do not count on it occurring. Use the job fair to make contact with employers you want to target and begin the process of building relationships with people who may be able to help you at some point. It is also a great opportunity to practice your elevator pitch!

Leveraging Your Skills to Start a New Career

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Today’s job market doesn’t exactly lend itself to staying with the same company until retirement like people did some years ago. Volatility within the market, lack of employee benefits, and sometimes boredom can lead to a career change.

Maybe you’ve been in the same career for a while, and you’re ready to move into a new field. This can be a scary endeavor, but chances are you already have—or can easily cultivate—the skills you need to start on a new career path.

With a certain amount of dedication, research, and a little additional training, transitioning into a new career can be fulfilling and provide a good fit. Here’s how:

First and foremost, do your research

Just because a certain industry is known as a moneymaker doesn’t mean the fit is right for you. If you think you’d like to try the tech industry because you’re interested in six figures, but you aren’t interested in coding or IT support, tech probably isn’t the career for you.

You will want to do extensive research in the field you are thinking about switching to in order to ensure a good fit. Research the job you’re thinking about, but also research where that job could potentially lead. Consider where the best locations are for the industry and whether or not your location is a good fit. Also research the companies in your area and see if their company culture aligns with your values as an employee.

Measure your skills against the skills you will need

Many skills can translate from one job field to the next. For instance, if you have made a career out of teaching but are interested in corporate training, many of your teaching skills will provide a nice foundation for a career in corporate training. Lesson planning, public speaking, and delivery of materials are all skills used in both fields.

Take a look at a few job postings you find interest in and see which skills you have that match the qualifications needed.

Take a few personality tests

Skills on paper matched with the right personality can make the difference when employers are looking to hire. Consider a couple of different personality tests to see how your personality can enhance your skill set. It isn’t enough to just have self-knowledge though; you’ll want to also need to be able to convey these positive personality traits.

A great test for business professionals is the Fascination Advantage Assessment by Sally Hogshead. This research-backed personality test tells you how others perceive you and how to use that perception to your advantage.

The test will list your strengths, but even better, Hogshead provides a detailed profile report and information on how to use your skills to win over employers and clients. The assessment and general profile information are free, but the complete profile does come at a cost, but she also has a book where the profiles are included. It is possible to find her book at the local library to defray any costs.

Make sure any stale skills are up to date

Maybe you worked briefly in an environment that used databases or spreadsheets heavily, but you’re not really up to date, and these skills are required in the new career path you wish to pursue. You’ll want to make sure you brush up on these skills before submitting any applications.

Just because these are skills you once used doesn’t make them viable and marketable unless you’re comfortable using them now.

Researching a potential new career path, matching your skills to the skills needed for a new post, and making sure you’ve polished old skills that could be of use in the future are a great way to make sure you’re prepped and ready to embark on a new career path.

Generate a Successful Job Search Campaign by Employing an Executive Mindset

There is a lot of information available on the web and in other published materials about the skills and attributes needed to be a successful executive. This suggests that there is a mystic about being an executive that does not really apply to other people.

It does not take a giant leap in logic to come to the conclusion that attitudes and attributes leveraged by executives can be used by anyone to be successful. You do not have to be working on Wall Street or for a Fortune 100 corporation to become a star in what you do for a living.

Here are five traits attributed to executives that are relevant to anyone wanting to build a dynamic job search campaign. This topic was addressed in a similar fashion in a previous post.

Demonstrate a Passion for What You Do
Passion and commitment cannot be faked. It is true that many people work in professions that are not their first choice because they feel they have to. However, if you are really serious about what you do for a living, embrace it as a life’s mission. That does not mean you will not change career direction over time, but recognizing that your work is very important and that you want to be the best you can be is critical. Passion is contagious and people will respect and admire your commitment.

Learn to Manage People and Processes
Good executives learn early on that building relationships and managing essential processes are important keys to success. When looking for new work, prioritize the importance of communicating effectively with others. Also understand that it is not sufficient to be competent at doing tasks, but that recognizing and communicating how to make tasks function better will be noticed (in a positive way).

Project Confidence, but with a Touch of Humility
People respect others who are confident in what they do. However, people also dislike others who demonstrate arrogance. Finding a balance between believing strongly in what you can achieve, while also recognizing that you are, in fact, a human being capable of making mistakes can be very compelling. Few employers want to hire people who do not demonstrate confidence in their own skills, but coming off as a specimen of perfection will certainly be a turn-off.

Commit to Continuous Learning and Improvement
Few executives rest on their laurels. Instead they look for ways to do things better. Most professions are very competitive, so job seekers can find and maintain an edge by always searching for new learning opportunities or innovative approaches to use in tackling real-world problems and issues.

Find a Mentor Who You Can Trust
It is not a sign of weakness to search out others who have more experience and wisdom in relation to career path issues.

Executives are often stereotyped as “lonely leaders” or people who rely on their own ambition and guile to succeed. Instead, executives are often quite open to seeking the counsel of others who many have a better command of specific processes or issues.

Job seekers can do the same by identifying professionals who can help them with a variety of tools, techniques, and strategies useful in finding great jobs. They can also join community job clubs to share ideas with other job seekers and seek out other networking opportunities.

Executives do not have exclusive rights to attitudes and behaviors that lead to success. Job seekers can benefit greatly from the time-tested approaches used by executives to build companies and talented teams.

Temp Work: Why and How to Use a Staffing Agency to Find Work

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Sometimes, the job search doesn’t always go as planned. It takes longer than expected to secure the perfect full-time position. The emergency fund starts to run low, and you’ve decided finding temporary work might be in your best interest while you continue to search for your dream, full-time position.

Staffing agencies tend to have negative reputations. Many people think they only offer low paying and/or entry-level positions, but this simply isn’t so. Many staffing agencies offer jobs across the skill-level spectrum, which makes working with an agency pretty appealing.

Finding temporary work through a staffing agency is a great way to keep the paychecks coming in while on the hunt for a full-time position. In fact, working with a staffing agency might just lead you to that perfect 40-hour job. Here are some of the facts:

Staffing Agencies Work in Your Favor

The primary purpose of a temp agency is matching you with a job that appeals to your experience and skills. According to research conducted by the American Staffing Association, 74% of clients using a staffing agency to find work are satisfied with their experience. What’s more, the site states the average hourly wage received by those using a staffing agency is around $17.

The ASA also states 15 million contract or temporary employees are hired through staffing agencies, many of which lead to full-time employment.

Direct access to employers

These agencies also have insider access to employers you might not otherwise be able to land an interview with. A staggering 90% of employers use staffing agencies to fill positions, which means you’d have direct access to many more employers in your industry than you would just going the job search alone.

Staffing agencies work with companies in the following industries:

  • Industrial
  • Office-Clerical and Administrative
  • Engineering, IT and Science
  • Health Care
  • Professional/Managerial

Flexibility in the interim

Maybe flexibility isn’t what you were looking for when searching for a full-time job, but temp work offers a great alternative to, say, finding yourself stuck in a full-time job you hate while continuing the search for the right fit.

Rather than signing on for a full-time job you’re not really thrilled about to keep the bills paid, temp work is a great way to keep a paycheck coming in while providing you the flexibility to find a full-time job.

How to get started

First and foremost, do your research. Not all staffing agencies are created equal. You want to find one with a positive reputation and tangible results when it comes to helping people find employment.

Once you’ve decided on an agency, fill out any online paperwork and prepare your resume. You’ll want to treat the agency the same way you’d treat a potential employer. The staffing agency will want good reason to represent you so dressing professionally and preparing for the interview as though you are meeting with a potential employer is best.

Know that you will most likely be given a series of skills tests to determine your proficiency in things like math, computer skills, etc. You’ll want to prepare for these by brushing up on any tech skills and basic math facts if necessary.

Remember to ask any questions you may have or voice any concerns. Open communication is key to the process. The more the staffing agency knows, the better off they are in positioning you with the right job fit.