Temporary Workers


Employment Prospects


One of the greatest advantages of temporary work is that employment opportunities exist nationwide. Most temporary workers use an employment agency or staffing service to find assignments. Agencies such as Kelly Services or ManpowerGroup place individuals with basic office and administrative skills. Both are known in the business world for having pools of dependable office support workers as well as highly trained professionals such as technical workers and engineers.

There are also agencies that cater to specialized fields. Accountemps, for example, assigns certified public accountants and other accounting professionals to work on short-term and long-term projects throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Australia. Special Counsel, a nationwide legal staffing agency, places lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants in temporary assignments. Clients include top law firms needing extra help for large projects, or corporations needing legal expertise.

Starting Out

Most temps work through an agency or placement center. The agency first conducts a screening interview to assess candidates' skills and work experience. Requirements include an updated resume, any certification or licensing papers, and a list of references. Be prepared to let the agency know of any preferences you may have in terms of assignments—type of project, location, hours, and any physical accommodations you may need. You may have to take several tests depending on the type of temp work for which you are applying. For example, administrative workers may have to take a test to measure their keyboarding speed or computer knowledge. Training is sometimes encouraged to keep temps current with software programs and systems as demanded by clients. The agency may make security or professional checks, verify school transcripts, or order drug testing before you are given an assignment. Search the Internet for employment agencies and placement centers.

Advancement Prospects

Many people view temporary work assignments as a great way to develop industry contacts. Solid work performance may catch the attention of management and result in a temp-to-hire situation. A temporary worker may also view advancement in terms of choice assignments with good companies offering higher pay.

Most agencies offer additional training, at no cost, to their employees. According to a survey conducted by the American Staffing Association, many temporary workers acquire new skills while on assignments. As temporary workers gain knowledge with new equipment and software programs and acquire other highly desirable skills, they can progress to different temporary jobs, many with a better pay scale.

Tips for Entry

Contact Kelly Services, ManpowerGroup, Robert Half, and other staffing firms directly to learn more about job opportunities.

Become certified in your profession to improve your chances of landing a job. 

Talk to temporary workers about the best strategies to land a job.