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by Rebecca Blackman

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In a candidate rich, job-short market, it is important to stand out from the crowd. In this month’s blog, Talent Web’s business support specialist gives some advice to candidates looking for temp work.
Temping is all about building relationships so here are a few tips on how to lay a great foundation with your Recruitment Consultant to ensure a long lasting, successful association.
1) It all starts with your resume
Picture this, 200 emails in your inbox all after the same thing…. Obviously great if I was talking about your internet dating profile, but not so good when I’m referring to a recruitment consultants advert response folder and your CV is one of the hundreds sitting in there waiting to be read. Realistically, each CV is probably only going to get an initial five second glance, so how do you make sure that yours stands out enough to encourage the consultant to go back for a second look? A short covering email outlining your visa status, availability and types of work you are looking for is helpful as a starting point. Keep your resume concise and to the point; start with your most recent experience first, make sure you show your actual dates of employment including the month you joined and left your employers (not just vague dates like 2010-2011), put a couple of sentences about who the company is under each business (this is especially important if your work history is overseas) and bullet point your experience, making sure you tailor this to the types of jobs you are applying for.
2) Be prepared for your agency interview
The interview with your consultant is absolutely your most important interview of all, as it’s from this meeting that your consultant will make the decision as to whether you are suitable to represent to their client base. You may have spent the past three months living on a beach in Thailand but it’s no good turning up to meet your recruitment consultant in fisherman’s pants and flip flops full of promises that you are about to go and buy a suit. In this case more than ever, first impressions count. Temp roles are often called in at the last minute and we need to know that you are prepared and ready to go – so do your shopping BEFORE you come in to meet us and show off your new power suit!
3) Make flexibility your mantra
No, I don’t mean make yoga a part of your daily routine, I am of course, referring to your attitude. My ‘go to’ candidates are the ones who are as likely to say yes to a same day reception assignment or a two day filing role as they are to a three month team assistant contract. Candidates often say that they want to hold off from taking that two day data entry assignment just in case a dream six month contract gets called in, but that is not normally how temp office support recruitment works. As a general rule, clients don’t usually plan on hiring a temp as a long term recruitment solution as it’s not particularly cost effective. What is much more likely to happen is that they take a temp on for a couple of days or a couple of weeks to cover sick or annual leave, or to help with an overflow of work on a specific project which then ends up getting extended. Your consultant’s job is to make sure that we fill the client’s job brief with a candidate who fits the bill in terms of skills and personality. Your job as the candidate, is to go in and shine. If I had a dollar for every time a short term assignment got extended because of the above, I’d be sporting a nice shiny Rolex with the proceeds!
4) Keep your phone to hand and stay in touch
Temp recruitment can often mean dealing with last minute requests with the job going to whichever suitable candidate answers their phone first. Make sure you have a voicemail set up, check your messages regularly and return calls as soon as possible. Once you have landed an assignment, it’s easy to forget about the other agencies you have registered with and disappear off into the Bermuda triangle never to be seen or heard from again. If you send a short email to let them know about the change in your availability it will pay dividends in the long term (as well as being good manners!) Instead of just reappearing three months later and expecting to be top of their candidate list. Recruitment consultants are like elephants – we never forget, so if you have disappeared on us once, why would we think that you aren’t going to do it again just before you are due to attend an interview, or worse, start an assignment and if you are notoriously hard get hold of, you definitely aren’t going to be the first person we call when a job comes in.
5) Don’t think that the same rules apply for a temp as they do to permanent staff
Rocking up late looking like Lindsay Lohan after a night out at the Chateaux Marmont and spending all day on Facebook might fly for permanent staff, but you’ll find your assignment ending early and job offers drying up if you adopt those sorts of behaviors when temping! You are there to fill a gap or help with an overload of work, so it’s essential to make sure you turn up on time and get the job done. Steer clear of office gossip, don’t discuss your pay rate with colleagues and definitely don’t talk about anything you saw or heard when you were working for the competitor you were temping at two weeks ago – these ways are there to find yourself off the books quicker than Usain Bolt’s 100 metre sprint!