Resume Tips for Temps
by Kim Isaacs
Temporary employment is becoming increasingly popular with both staff and employers. Workers are realizing that they can enjoy top pay and diverse work environments, while companies see the value of bringing in temp workers to fill short-term vacancies or take on special projects. Temporary employment is available in a variety of fields for staff at all levels.
Temporary work does present certain resume challenges. Here are a few common questions and solutions:
Q: Should I write the name of the temp agency or the company under the Employment section?
A: Consider including both -- it is best not to give the impression that you were employed by a company rather than a temporary worker. Here are a couple of ways to handle the employment heading:
ABC Company (DEF Temp Agency), 1999 to present
DEF Temp Agency, 1995 to present
- ABC Company: Description, project highlights, results
- DEF Company: Description, project highlights, results
- GHI Company: Description, project highlights, results
Q: My temp work makes me look like a job-hopper. What can I do?
A: The best way to format your temp work depends on your specific situation, but try grouping similar experiences under one heading (e.g. Tax Accountant, 1995 to present). Then provide a bulleted list of your best temp assignments.
Q: What can I do to make my résumé stand out from the crowd?
A: Instead of just listing your job skills, describe the benefits and results of your performance. For each temp assignment, develop a list of major accomplishments, placing the most emphasis on your recent achievements. When thinking about your accomplishments, it is helpful to use the Problem-Action-Result (PAR) technique. What problems or challenges did you face? What actions did you take to overcome the problems? What was the result or benefit to the company? Keep in mind that most companies value workers who enhance profits, save time, and save money.
Q: Are there certain qualities that I need to emphasize as a temporary worker?
A: Whether you are searching for a temp position or need to showcase your temp experience, there are attributes that many temp workers share. Some of the skills include adaptability/flexibility, ability to rapidly learn new tasks, and ability to prioritize. Your industry-specific skills that relate to your current career goal and past record of performance should also be highlighted. You can showcase your top credentials in a well-written Career Summary statement. This allows temp agencies and employers to see your key qualifications at a glance.
Q: How can I get keywords into my resume so I am found in an applicant search?
A: The right keywords depend on your specific objective. A great way to determine keywords is to peruse job openings on Monster.ca. Carefully read the job descriptions to see what employers are looking for. Pay attention to frequently used buzzwords that you can incorporate into your résumé.