How to Make Your Temp Gig Permanent

Just a few short years ago, Ryan started as a temp in a local office of a paper distribution company, but today he's the VP of marketing for that same company.

OK, so this happened on 'The Office,' and he's still referred to as "The Temp," but this happens in real life, too.

Paulette Beete has gone from temporary to permanent twice. "When I moved to Chicago in 1994, my first temp assignment was on the fixed-income desk at J.P. Morgan. I got the [permanent] job just a few weeks later, and I was there for five years."

Two of Beete's friends at J.P. Morgan also started as temps and moved on to lasting positions. One is now a vice president in JPM's futures department; the other moved from temporary to permanent assistant to Equities sales trader, which she now does at another firm, she said.

There are many reasons why you might seek a temporary job: You're testing the waters of a career change. You've been laid off and need income while you search for long-term employment. You want to keep your résumé gap-free. This tighter job market is not producing the jobs you're seeking.

But what about the reasons why you should seek short-term work? According to the American Staffing Association, 88 percent of staffing employees say temporary or project work made them more employable and 80 percent of staffing clients say staffing firms offer a good way to find people who can become long-term employees.

Project work frequently leads to full-time roles, says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of "Human Resources Kit For Dummies" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Increasingly, organizations are realizing the value of using temporary assignments as a means of evaluating candidates for full-time positions. This provides a low-risk opportunity for managers to determine how an individual will perform on the job."

Lest you think there isn't much project work out there, consider this: The American Staffing Association reports that staffing companies employ 2.96 million people each day and 11.4 million people over the course of a year.

So who are these staffing companies and what jobs are they looking to fill?

Here are 10 staffing companies who hire and place temporary workers:

1. Accountemps

Specializes in: accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.

2. Kelly Services

Specializes in: office services, accounting, engineering, information technology, law, science, marketing, light industrial, education, health care and home care.

3. Labor Ready

Specializes in: construction, manufacturing, hospitality services, landscaping, warehousing, retail and more.

4. Manpower

Specializes in: office, light industrial or call center environment.

5. NurseCore

Specializes in: nursing, allied and medical office professionals.

6. Office Team

Specializes in: office services including executive and administrative assistants, office managers, project coordinators, Microsoft certified specialists, receptionists and data entry

7. Robert Half Legal

Specializes in: attorneys and legal support.

8. Select Staffing

Specializes in: on-site services, risk management, human resources, training, and employment law.

9. The Creative Group

Specializes in: creative, advertising, marketing, web and public relations.

10. Volt

Specializes in: administrative, manufacturing, accounting, technical, professional, IT, engineering and human resources.

Tips to Make Your Temp Job Permanent

1. Act as if you are on a job interview.

Some people think that just because it's temp work, they don't need to impress. When you meet the recruiter at the staffing company, treat it as an interview ... because it is. If you don't make a good impression with the recruiter, chances are you won't get as much consideration as the candidate who does.

2. Treat is as a "real" job.

If you want to get a full-time position where you are temping -- whether in that position or another -- you need to be serious about it. Impress the boss and show your professionalism and competence. Dress professionally, arrive (and leave) on time and resist the urge to blow off a day.

3. Learn as much as you can on the job.

Take every opportunity you can to learn new software or build skills. Not only will you add inventory to your resume, it makes you more valuable to the employer.

4. Ask for the job.

Talk about your intentions and desires with the placement company or hiring manager. Even if an opportunity doesn't exist today, you don't know what may happen down the road.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

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