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Agencies provide tempting advantage.

Byline: WORK FORCE by The Lane Workforce Partnership For The Register-Guard

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about job hunting.

"I don't want a temporary job. I am looking for a full-time, permanent job with benefits. Working for a temporary agency is a waste of time!"

That's a familiar refrain. But if you believe it, you are missing out on the fastest growing entry-point into the permanent job market.

In a tough economy, many employers turn to temp agencies for the flexibility they need, and as a way to preview potential hires before they make an expensive, long-term commitment. The advantages to an employer are clear. But what does a worker get out of it?

Working for a temp agency, you can test drive a company while building an employment track record. Even if you work for a variety of companies on short-term assignments, your employer of record, the temp agency, reflects the cumulative time, giving you a stable work history.

While working on assignment to a company, you will obtain an insider's perspective as well as show your skills to management and co-workers. You can decide whether the company is a good match for you.

Temp work also lets you update your skills and learn new ones. And you can earn references.

Serena Paredes, at temp agency Staffing Oregon, advises: "Use me as a stepping stone. Prove yourself to me over time. Then I can promote you to employers. They trust my judgment and that can make a great difference getting your foot in the door."

Temp work also lets you experiment, try something new and perhaps find a new career.

In addition, many temp agencies provide medical and dental coverage as well as holiday and vacation benefits.

But there are other factors to consider.

For starters, on each new temp assignment you must make a good "first impression," even though the assignment may last only a month or two. You still have to give it your all even though the company has not made a commitment to you.

The pay may be lower than for a company's full-time staff. The schedule may fluctuate, and there may not be guaranteed work each day.

If you're willing to take the temp plunge, many jobs are available. Locally, choices include bookkeeping, telemarketing, construction, clerical, warehouse, customer service, light industrial, general labor, janitorial, medical positions, retail, security, landscaping, software development, network engineering, technical support, draftering, executive assistants, payroll service and Web design.

How to start? Look in the phone book under Employment Contractors - Temporary Help. Call first. Many agencies take applications only on appointment. Ask these questions on the initial call:

What jobs do you specialize in?

What percentage of temp positions become permanent hires?

What is your application process?

What documentation should I bring?

What are your pay periods?

Do you offer benefits? How do I qualify?

Allow at least an hour per appointment. Some agencies may require more. Expect to prove your skills. Clerical candidates will likely take typing and computer tests. Production candidates often must take physical agility tests. Be prepared to take a urinalysis. Temp agencies do not tolerate drug use. Some positions may require a criminal history background check.

Once registered with an agency, don't sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Follow the agency's check-in protocol. If offered a position that is not exactly what you wanted, consider taking it for the short term. Those who help agencies fill their immediate needs are often given preference when other jobs open up.

Next Sunday: Dress for success. For more information, visit The Workforce Network Web site at www.theworkforcenetwork .org, or contact Darrell Hames at the Lane Workforce Partnership, 300 Country Club Road, Suite 120, Eugene, OR 97401; or at 682-7224 or Darrell.Hames@co.lane
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Sep 14, 2003
Previous Article:ORI in planning stages for new headquarters.

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