Job hunting in Boston
April 21, 2014 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I want to work in the Boston area. I'm graduating college soon. Have you found work in the Boston area through a temp agency? Would you recommend one in particular? Or, alternatively, do you have concrete advice about finding work as a recent graduate without connections?

I've been sending out resumes and cover letters for the past few months, with no luck so far. My school's career center hasn't been all that helpful (the center told me to reach out to family members and family friends for leads; my cover letters and resumes have been fine).

I know I have a previous question asking about science jobs in my AskMe history; I've since realized that I don't actually want a career doing research. I would be fine with temping, though my ultimate goal is a steady, full-time job. I have experience writing/editing newsletters, documents, and training manuals for on-campus clubs. I have some graphic design/marketing experience (also for clubs), and I'm comfortable working in an office environment (I worked as a front-desk receptionist one summer). I have good interpersonal skills, and I can give decent presentations. I'm also proficient with Microsoft Office, some Adobe Creative Suite applications, GIS software, and Python.

Please point me in the right direction! I would love concrete advice, such as "I had a good experience with such-and-such agency." Advice like, "I think you'd be a great technical writer," is less helpful, even though technical writing sounds pretty sweet.
posted by topoisomerase to Work & Money (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Beacon Hill Staffing got me the job I had before the one I have now. If you're looking for admin work to begin with, they'll do you right.
posted by xingcat at 8:24 PM on April 21, 2014

What did you study in university?
posted by third word on a random page at 8:28 PM on April 21, 2014

Response by poster: I studied biology, with coursework in both ecology and molecular biology. I would rather not pursue that further. My extracurriculars have all been media-based; I was usually in an administrative position.
posted by topoisomerase at 8:41 PM on April 21, 2014

No connections? Make some! This is my go-to answer for questions like this because it's a great way to actually get a job and to make sure you are heading into a field you want to be in.
- Find some targets: Use your university alumni association to find a) people in the field you want and b) in Boston. LinkedIn can also be a good target through the connections feature.
- Do some informational interviews: talk to them about their jobs, careers, companies, and path to where they are. This is a not a waste of time! You need to know how to get to your goals, and these people may have positions that fit your needs.
- Always ask these two questions towards the end: 1) What positions are available in your organization for someone like me? 2) Is there anyone else in your organization or outside, who you would recommend that I talk to?
- Is this a big move for you? Set aside some time (money) for a visit to Boston. Do you know the city already? Are you sure you want to live there? Have you given serious thought to the rest of the metro? A lot of the cool places are now outside of Boston because of the terrible costs and commutes. Not just Cambridge-outside, but Waltham, Framingham, ... Follow up on some of your best discussions with an in-person visit that demonstrates your commitment.

Be sure to send these people an up-to-date CV, ideally targeted towards different fields (with diverse skills, maybe you have one for bio people, one for CS people, etc). There are also cool places where those fields overlap, unless you totally want to give up your bio-past. Some people here are meh about LinkedIn, but in my experience it can be very, very helpful.
posted by whatzit at 3:14 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I work for a large employer in Boston, and we get most of our temps and contractors from Addison Search and KNF&T. I also have some experience with Beacon Hill Staffing Group (as a candidate) and they were great to work with.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:30 AM on April 22, 2014

I used to temp at Harvard and if you can find a way to do that it's a good way in. It used to be spherion that did their temping but that was 8 years ago.
posted by mockpuppet at 6:09 AM on April 22, 2014

Randstad does Harvard placements but it's ridiculously difficult to get hired there. There's a running joke on campus that the only thing more difficult than getting into Harvard as a student is getting a job there. The good side is that you'll get to see how Harvard operates in several different departments, and it's fun to get around campus.

KNF&T is dodgy - their reps don't return calls or e-mails at all well. You'll get an assignment and then they disappear. I've also had problems getting paid regularly with their office. (Twice in the span of one assignment!) Of course, YMMV.

AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE: PSG Staffing. They are only in it for volume, and frequently post jobs online that don't exist. The internet is swarming with horrendous reviews of their practices.

My advice is to network, network, network! The hard truth about temping is that the only jobs you'll get put up for are in departments where they don't have their act completely together, and there will be issues wherever you get placed. Be prepared to go long stretches without work. Definitely informationally interview and use whatever connections you have personally.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:14 AM on April 22, 2014

Develop a good LinkedIn Profile. I'm on the job hunt as well in Boston, and when I asked my Business School's career center how to get in touch with alumni they said "Search LinkedIn".

And LinkedIn has jobs posted as well. I would get that started ASAP as companies that are hiring can do work searches in LinkedIn to find staff.
posted by Farce_First at 1:12 PM on April 22, 2014

I've had good experiences with Atrium Staffing, with the caveat that it was years ago.
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 9:34 PM on April 22, 2014

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