Resume for a temp worker
March 7, 2005 10:20 AM   Subscribe

For the past several years, comprising the bulk of my relevant work experience, I've worked through temp agencies almost exclusively. Now suddenly I need an up-to-date resume. How?

Compounding the problem is the fact that I've foolishly neglected to keep accurate records either of where I've worked or what agencies I've worked for, particular in regards to start/end dates. I've thought of just listing the temp agencies as my work history, but with all the overlaps and lacunae, such a list would be misleading. Help?
posted by squidlarkin to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Can the agencies supply you with lists of your work for them? I would think they would have to hold on to those records in order to be ready for audits, etc., and I don't see why they wouldn't release them to you.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:24 AM on March 7, 2005

Well, yes, that's one option, but even if I can obtain all the necessary information, how do I organize and present it in a clear, concise and professional manner?
posted by squidlarkin at 11:09 AM on March 7, 2005

It might depend on the industry. Office temp stuff is one thing, but the perma-temp situation like that in the biotech and big pharma worlds is another. What's your racket?
posted by gramschmidt at 11:10 AM on March 7, 2005

Office work with emphasis on data entry. Desired gig in this case is PC tech. Answers relevant to the IT field in general are also welcomed for future reference. Reference reference?
posted by squidlarkin at 1:34 PM on March 7, 2005

Hmm. I'm not an HR person and I find HR departments to be among the most worthless institutions known to man, but it seems like it's a matter of emphasis. When you say "PC tech", do you mean somebody on-staff who fixes computers? (I'm not totally ignorant of the IT industry, I'm just trying to get more specific.) Have you done this job for any of your temp agencies?

The only reason I ask is that, in lieu of accurate records, you might consider lumping all of your temp stuff into one "Work Experience" entry, dated from the first time you started using temp agencies to the present, calling yourself a "Data Entry Associate" (or whatever), and including a description saying something like the following:
Provided professional data entry support on assignment to leading companies, e.g., OneCorp, TwoCorp, and ThreeCorp.
Emphasize a few companies that most relate to the job you're interested in.

If you've done this specific job, though, you might want to emphasize that assignment and talk a little more about how the stuff you did there is directly related to the job you want.
posted by gramschmidt at 2:27 PM on March 7, 2005

Functional arrangement for the resume, since you're looking to shift their assessment from "clerical" to "IT". Keeps the focus on capabilities instead of titles. Also good for distracting from any discontinuities in the timeline.

The fact that your paycheck was processed through a temp agency is a mere parenthetical (i.e. "PC Tech (temporary)") Employers want to know what you've done, how much responsibility you can safely be entrusted with, etc. The only reason to mention the "temporary" at all is:

a) reference/credit checking. if HR checks up, you don't want them thinking "fraud" the first time some name doesn't immediately match up

b) to justify any positions that weren't held at least a year or two at a time. again, so there's no confusion about the seriousness of your commitment to the new job

So you didn't keep any of the timeslip carbons or paystubs, huh? 'Cuz either of those have the info connect job/company with employer. You can re-create a list of agencies, if needed (doubtful, but what the heck--), from your W-2s. Name and address will be printed on each. If you ever plan to work through those agencies again, do not call asking where they've placed you, though. I've worked in corpoate HQ for a large regional temp chain and believe me when I say your tag will be marked with some clever little code that translates to "FLAKE ALERT!!" So try to come up with a subtler way to elicit the right info.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2005

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