No Luck Yet? What Now?

So you’ve done everything you can to find a job and still no luck? Not a problem. We’ve all been there.

One great idea is to work with a temp agency to get you through the tough economic times, while you continue to look for a job at a company you really want to work for. The best part is that you may end of working temporarily at a company you really like, and through networking, may be hired for a long-term contract or full time job!

The first time I used a temp agency was after I was laid off from a company that was downsizing. I’d heard through friends that Office Team (http://www.officeteam.com) was a reputable agency, so I thought I’d give them a try. At the time I was just looking for administrative/reception work, which was exactly what they needed. For most agencies, you’ll give them a call, schedule an appointment, interview, and then, hopefully, be placed in a job arranged by your agency contact. 

Here are a few tips to help you if you decide to use a temp agency:

1) You should never pay an agency to find you a job. Companies pay a large percentage of your negotiated hourly rate to the temp agency. If they ask you to pay a fee, politely decline and walk out. 

2) When asked to come in for an interview, dress in business attire (neatness counts), have several copies of your updated resume handy, and bring your list of current references!

3) Most temp agencies who place administrative staff will ask you to “test” your aptitude with different computer programs. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are always good to know. For more creative placement agencies, Photshop and Illustrator are useful. Not sure? Just ask!

4) Many agencies offer benefits depending on how long you work for them.

5) if you’re not happy with a temp assignment, you can always let your agency rep know and they can try to find you a new opportunity. Be flexible, friendly, and open to new jobs.

6) Never accept a temp assignment if you know you won’t be happy. For instance, if you don’t like answering the phone and talking to people, a receptionist position won’t be ideal.

7) Never ask the company you’re working for if they’re hiring when you first start your temp assignment. It might rub someone the wrong way and they might ask you to not return.

Some of my temp jobs (to give you an idea of what’s out there):

1) Receptionist at a large property management company: field phone calls and emails

2) Senior Copywriter for Banana Republic: wrote men’s and women’s copy for company website

3) Executive Assistant for the president of a large hotel chain: creating PowerPoint presentations, answering phone calls, scheduling, various writing assignments, etc. 

4) Receptionist and administrative assistant at several law firms: answering phones, fielding incoming phone calls, sorting and delivering mail, typing memos, and much more!

FOLLOWING UP

So you’ve had a great job interview, and now are waiting to hear back from the hiring manager, HR representative, or other company member. Well, guess what? In most cases, you should either call or send them a polite email to check the status of the job they’re considering you for.

In many cases, after an interview, you should have some sense of the timeline for the hiring date for the position. If not, ask! Following up is a sign that you’re really interested in the position and will help you leave a positive impression for those in a position of hiring power. Mind you, I’m not saying be obnoxious about it, but one email, or one phone call will certainly do nicely. Thank the person you speak to or receive an email from. If you hear nothing, understand that they might be busy with interviews etc. and just don’t have time to follow up. Don’t take it personally. If you’re their number one candidate, you will hear from them. In the meantime, continue your job search, and if you never hear back, no worries. As my stepfather often says, “Keep on keeping on!”

Finally, you may receive a letter in the mail, phone call, or email letting you know you weren’t chosen to come in for further interviews or the position. I like to tell the hiring person that if their number one choice doesn’t work out, to please keep me in mind. In three months, check back with them to see if perhaps another opportunity has become available if it’s a company you really want to work for.

THANK YOU LETTER

Nothing says “I appreciate the time you gave me” like a well written thank you letter after an interview and especially after a job offer. Whether you send it via email or snail mail, it’s a definite must in the realm of career success. I’ve heard many stories from hiring managers who said they had two perfect candidates for one job. One candidate sent a thank you letter, the other did not. Can you guess which one got the job?

A few thank you letter tips:

1) Be brief: A short “thank you for the time you spent speaking with me about the wonderful opportunity” would suffice if you have nothing else to say.  A paragraph or less is perfect!

2) Timeframe: Send the day of or after your interview. If you don’t know the person’s email address, ask for one of their business cards at the end of your interview. If you forgot, simply call the receptionist at the company and they should be happy to provide it. If they won’t give it to you, explain you interviewed with the person the day before, and would like to send them a thank you letter/email. 

3) One thank you letter for each person you interview with. No more, no less!

4) Content: Include a brief recap of what you spoke about during your interview. Be brief, but do include a mention of why you’re the best candidate for the job. 

5) Close: A separate sentence that reads, “Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need further information. I look forward to hearing from you.”

 
Sample Thank You Letter: 

MARY HIRINGMANAGER
Their Title
Address of Company
XXXX Hire Me Drive
Dallas, Texas XXXXX

Dear Ms. Hiringmanger,

Thank you for the time you took this afternoon to discuss the management opportunity with EDS Incorporated. It was pleasure meeting you and meeting several members of your staff. I particularly enjoyed our tour, including the manufacturing area and executive suites. 

In addition to the information we discussed, I thought of another project I recently started working on which would make me a valuable member of your team. I’m currently working on an instructional design project for DG Manufacturing, one which includes a complete training for manufacturing technicians, both instructor-led and web-based training. Some of those materials are enclosed for your review. 

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or need further information. I look forward to hearing from you and being a part of your team. 

Sincerely,

Sam Jobseeker
xxx-xxx-xxxx
email address here