Please help me become a temp 2017 & Minneapolis/St. Paul filter
December 15, 2016 9:42 PM   Subscribe

Please help me become a temp 2017 & Minneapolis/St. Paul filter Looking for suggestions of specific agencies in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and suggestions as to skills one should learn/emphasize to increase the likelihood of being hired for a temp position. As always, snowflakes inside...

I recently relocated to the Minneapolis/St Paul area and I've been looking for a job for the last few months. I've had interviews, but no job offers. There are significantly fewer positions related to what I do vs. where I lived before, and I'm looking for a particular type of job (i.e. limited hours). On that note, because I am anticipating that finding a job might take a while (or that I may never find what I want), I would prefer to find a temp position so that I can bring in some $ and continue to search.

My specific questions about temping are this:

-Are there are particular agencies that might be helpful in the twin city area (either to fit someone with my background OR to quickly place someone)

- I also am looking for every possible suggestion as to how to be picked up and hired as a temp.

I've gone through a quite a few of old questions in the archives, and so far I have learned that I should learn/brush up on excel, which I plan to do over the next few weeks, and emphasize skills such as proofreading (?) and editing per one of the old threads.

My background is as follows (if this points to a particular agency(ies) or the need to brush up on skill sets):
-I do have undergrad degrees (a BA in biology and in psychology);
-I have a graduate degree in a biological field (think along the lines of anat & physio topics, minimal ecology or plant bio) - I realize that this is more likely to hurt my search vs. help, but I can't take it off my resume;
-For the last decade, I have experience in the publishing industry, primarily along the lines of writing continuing medical education material or using data from clinical trials to write primary journal articles. A small amount of this was also scientific/publication support (i.e. fact-checking, minor editing);
-I have experience doing many, many other types of jobs, but many of these jobs are now very dated (I don't think the types of jobs would really help me, so I'm not listing them for the purpose of this question unless someone thinks it may be useful...);
-I have little to no experience or exposure to admin positions, which is what I've seen listed on many of the temp positions. Learning skills that an admin needs to do might help me.

I can use google to find temp agencies, but it would be great to find out if some might be more helpful than others based on the experience of people in the area or from people that they know.

Also, again, other than listing my last few jobs and educational background, I have no idea what skills to emphasize (or learn in the next few weeks), to increase my chances of landing a temp gig. I have looked through job descriptions, but so far the various descriptions are pointing in many directions - I'm not sure what I can realistically learn without experience.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
posted by wonder twin powers activate form of a sock puppet to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the trick for admin work is to talk about how your previous work used admin skills. For example, I was a grad student that taught comp classes, so even though I had no formal office experience, I talked about the process of organizing, grading, lesson planning, etc as stuff that all took organizational and planning skills to pull off. Take some time to think about how your previous work might be presented like this.

Having been a temp and then seen a lot of temps come and go in my office, to me it seemed like the best common factor is that you are flexible and willing to learn new things without asking 24 million questions. I am not HR, but if I were HR and a temp interviewee said "this one time I didn't know how to do a thing in Excel, so I googled it and figured it out", I would be ecstatic.

This may or may not be relevant, but my org at one point was very big on "behavior based interviewing", not sure if they did it for temps or not. But the point is, above looking for specific traits or skills that the interviewee claims to have, they want to know specific BEHAVIORS you took in the past. So again, saying "I figured out how to do a thing in Excel" shows much more promise than just "I have Excel skills" or "I'm good at learning stuff." It shows that you know how to take initiative to solve problems on your own. You'd be surprised how rare this is.
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:30 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

My wife and I both recently found jobs in downtown Minneapolis through The Creative Group, who are a subunit of Robert Half. In both cases, we got placed as temp contractors; I'm in the process now of switching to full-time employee. We were both coming from job experience that's at least somewhat similar to yours, with emphasis on writing and editing experience. Not sure how long you've been in the workforce, but we're both in our early 40s - so we have experience, but not decades of experience.

During this past year, I messed around with a lot of job applications on my own, and several different temp / recruiting agencies around the Twin Cities, and I was actually kind of shocked at how much better the Creative Group was than anybody else I dealt with. I'd say they're at least worth checking out...

(also, my experience is that Celarity will tell you nice things and then send you garbage while ignoring things you'd said like "I don't want to drive to Minnetonka to enter marketing leads." And if you post a resume on Indeed with the words "writing" and "editing" on it, you will soon be contacted by hard-sell recruiters who will try to get you to sign up for short stints at Thompson Reuters in Eagan as if they were selling you a used car)
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:43 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

With your science background you might check with Pace Analytical Services. In addition to the testing and lab work they do, they also provide contract workers to some big companies in the area. I don't know if they offer anything but full-time work, though.
posted by cabingirl at 7:51 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hit post too soon. Pace has positions beyond lab work, which might not be obvious from their website. I work with Pace people who do data gathering and data entry all day, for example.
posted by cabingirl at 7:54 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Robert Half and their subsidiaries are a great first stop to look for temp options.

I've heard recently from my recruiting team that the unemployment rate for white collar college educated professionals like yourself is somewhere around .2 or .3% here in the Cities, as in less than 1%, but that is for full time roles...
posted by lstanley at 12:05 PM on December 16, 2016

I just wanted to say thanks to *everyone* for their answers. The answers helped me understand how to approach companies with temp positions, and specific temp companies to follow-up with.
posted by wonder twin powers activate form of a sock puppet at 11:15 PM on December 18, 2016

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