From temp gig to dream job

Once she got over her prejudice against temp agencies, Allison Riney got hired as a full-time marketing manager.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
By Jessica Dickler, staff writer

How to get a job in 100 words or less
Meet some of's trusted career coaches and hear their best advice for finding a job.
How will the job situation look in six months?
  • Easier to find a job
  • Harder to find a job
  • About the same

NEW YORK ( -- For those on the hunt for a new job, temping may feel like a last resort. But some determined professionals are finding it's a way to upgrade their careers.

Allison Riney, 24, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, relocated to Houston for a marketing job last year, but was laid off last September, shortly after starting.

Without much experience on her résumé, or any leads, she moved back to Pennsylvania in May to be closer to her family and primary network. Still, her job search reaped little results.

By October, a family friend suggested she try a local temp agency for leads, an option she had been reluctant to try. "Initially I was hesitant to go the temp agency route," Riney explained, "because of the stigma that it would be mostly secretarial jobs and nothing that would lead to a real career."

But with no alternatives, Riney went anyway. A few days later the agency asked if she was willing to take a one day data-entry job at a small marketing firm nearby. She agreed. After that, "they asked me to come back the next day and I'm still there."

Her new bosses at Monetate Inc., in West Conshohocken, Pa., had noted her work ethic right away and took her aside to discuss a future with the company. "They offered me the opportunity to pursue different positions within the company," Riney said. She expressed her interest in marketing and this month, they hired her as a full-time marketing manager.

Not only did Riney's temp agency get her in the door, they also helped her negotiate a full-time salary with benefits.

"I am so lucky to have gone to that temp agency when I did, and am on my way to having my dream job," she said.

Riney says now she tells everyone who will listen about how successful her experience has been.

"It might not be the most glamorous way to go," she acknowledges, "but you never know what kind of opportunities are there."

Getting a foot in the door

A temp job can not only bridge the gap between permanent positions but also allow job seekers to gain skills and experience in new industries and sample potential career changes. Often, temporary positions also lead to long-term jobs.

Eighty-eight percent of temporary workers say that temp or contract work made them more employable and 80% of employers who use temp agencies say they offer a good way to find people who can become permanent employees, according to a study by the American Staffing Association, an industry group in Alexandria, Va.

Although temping may seem like a step down, it can actually be a great way to gain access to a variety of employers, according to Melanie Holmes, a vice president at employment services firm Manpower.

"Temp help services have access to virtually all the employers in the community," Holmes said.

Holmes herself began her career as a temp at Manpower 28 years ago. "I am a firm believer, because of my experience, that a terrific way to get a job is to register with a temporary help service," she said.

Each year about 40% of Manpower's workers find permanent employment through their temporary placements, Holmes said.

There is an incentive for the agency too, since staffing firms generally make a commission for providing a temporary worker's services and a percentage of the worker's salary if they are hired full time.

For job seekers interested in temping, Holmes recommends that they first consider if there's a particular industry or company they want to work for and then register with the temp agency that can best meet those needs.

Unlike Riney's preconception, not all temp agencies are geared to administrative work. Some specialize in such diverse fields as marketing, finance and information technology.

"Once you are in the door as a temp at a company, make every effort to show your best side," Holmes advised, including being on time, dressing appropriately and asking to take on additional projects.

"Make sure that your good work ethic shows," she said, which is ultimately the key to getting hired. "Once you are in the door they see you, it's much better than putting a résumé in the mail."

Read updates on the people previously profiled in Hired! Join the Hired! group on Facebook.

Have you found a job recently? We want to hear from you. Send us an email and attach a photo. Tell us where you got hired and how you landed the job and you could be profiled in an upcoming story on For the Comment Policy, click here. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.