Applying to multiple temp agencies: List on resume?
February 24, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

JUST started at one temp agency. Should I put it on my resume for the next one I apply at?

I've just this week started temping in New York City. I've been sent out twice in about four days by the first agency that I applied with, now I'm looking for other agencies to drop my resume off at. I understand that these agencies pretty much expect you to be getting work from several different temp agencies at once, but I'm not sure of the protocol. Should I put myself down as currently employed/list the other agency on my resume? Should I just mention it? Does it matter?

Any relevant tips are greatly appreciated; I'm quite new at all this.
posted by raygan to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If NYC is anything like Buffalo and Portland, OR, they'll ~ask~ you if you're working with any other agencies. If you feel like you must mention it, I'd do it verbally.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2009

I wouldn't ever put an agency on my resume since generally it is a place that GETS you jobs, not an actual job.

if you get a longer term temp job, put that on the resume with "(temp)" or something after the dates, so they know you didn't get fired after a few months from a full-time thing. if you are short-term temping, just write "various" or "temp assignments" and then a description of the general type of work you've been doing, software used, skills learned, etc.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:48 AM on February 24, 2009

Also, never let them guilt you or make you feel weird about signing up with other agencies. it's not a committed relationship, and they certainly have zero loyalty to you.

In my experience I needed many many agencies just to stay employed half the time. There is no drawback to signing up with as many as you can, except having to take tests and repeatedly interview with the people who work at temp agencies.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2009

Don't forget that the agency works for you, (in a sense) when I am looking for temp work I sign up with several agencies at once, the winner is the one that gets me the most work for the most money.
posted by kanemano at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2009

Registering with a temp agency is not something you put on your resume - the jobs you do through them is what goes on the resume.

If the agency/ies ask (in writing or in person) what other agencies you are registering with, feel free to tell them. It's unlikely to affect what jobs they offer you; it's more so they can find out which agencies are their closest competition. They'll probably like you better for being up-front with the information.

Here are a few other starting-out-temping tips:
- Some agencies offer computer tutorials for how to use common software like Word and Excel. These are free training! If you are already very good with a program, some companies (like Robert Half) offer an advanced test that gets you "certified" in that program. You even get a certificate from the company (Microsoft, eg.) and THAT can be a nice resume item.
- If you aren't on an assignment, call to check in with each agency about every 10 days if you haven't heard from them. Always be cheerful and upbeat on the phone with them, and just say you're 'calling to check in'. This will keep your name in the front of their brain.
- If you DO get an assignment from an agency, call the other agencies that you're registered with (if you like them) and let them know the nature and duration of the work you're about to do. They will really like you for checking in like this, and it will give them an idea of other similar work to find for you for when your project ends.
- If you are relatively young/inexperienced, many agencies will put you on a crummy data-entry-type 2-3 day assignment for your first job. This isn't an insult; they're just testing to see if you show up on time, act appropriately, all that. Jump through that hoop well, and much better assignments await.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't disclose that information unless asked. They might ask you which other agencies you're registered with, particularly if you are looking at temp-to-perm, because of the way agencies bill finders fees to employers.

One agency presents you to a client for Job A, or sends you on a temp assignment with their client. Another agency presents you for Job B with the same candidate. You get hired for Job B, but the first agency (the one that presented you for Job A), tries to muddy the waters by claiming that it was their stellar presentation of you in the first place, or for the first temp assignment, that made the Client more likely to hire you than if the second agency had just presented you on your own.

Of course, what this means is that you need to be really straightforward with the agencies in the sense of where you've actually worked, for whom, in what capacity... even as a temp. In the UK, it's usually about four months, sometimes six, in terms of "presentation exclusivity". If you muddy the waters by not telling Agency B that Agency A sent you to work at Client Company a few months before, you might find yourself in a position whereby none of the three will want to touch you - Client Company, Agencies A & B.

And if you're temping for a while, doing a week here or there, for, say, six months or longer, I'd just fold the whole temping thing together in one on your CV/resume - just call it "various temporary employment" and bulletpoint the more interesting or longer assignments under the heading, like where you'd normally put a description of a job. Temping is about putting money in your pocket and getting some idea of what sort of company you want to work for, not career development. Temps aren't given tasks that involve responsibility or real development, and a future employer won't expect that of you. If you put each and every temp assignment on your CV/resume, it will very quickly become very bitty and hard to read.
posted by Grrlscout at 1:19 AM on February 25, 2009

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