Summer Fun, Something’s Begun

Crushing an Internship

hellomynameis

While not totally Official Temp related, it sort-of is. And that sort-of-is IS some simple tips to our Official-Temps-in-the-making who are still at the books and living in dorms, and about to embark on making the best of their summer break with the ever coveted internship. Which means, this is not the time to slack, so heed the tips (and if you have any questions as to your wardrobe, ah hem, scroll down!)

The sad fact is that our next generation feels a deep sense of accomplishment for putting in the minimum amount of work, and we do mean the minimum amount of work, while still expecting to be rewarded. Worshiped in fact, which is why slackers have been getting so much ink lately, and for good reason.

Scoring an amazing internship and then doing nothing prevents everyone from winning, not to mention being unable to collect a good recommendation. Internships can be one of the greatest experiences you can have, working for a really cool company and racking up experience to paste to your resume at a later date. But just landing the internship isn’t going to cut it. Kicking ass at that internship is what’s going to make it an awesome experience, and you a better person — and of course, one day a stellar Official Temp.

Follow these three simple tips while on the internship, and the rewards will come:

1) Show some Class
2) Be Pro-Active
3) Make it Count

As a closing sidebar, there’s a totally hysterical semi-viral video on YouTube, “Meet the Young Activist Doing Everything She Can to Change The World.” Her mission? To show support for causes via numerous wristbands and Facebook postings, both political and social, rather than taking actual physical action (the food delivery in plastic bags brought to her door while she’s railing on the injustices of economy, space, and “whatever is happening in Africa” is riotous). The absurdity is brilliant. We think you’ll see the point.

JobsLA

LA Job Seekers – Come get your App!

In an effort to help get more Angeleno’s back to work, the devilishly handsome
Mayor Eric Garcetti, announced last month that Los Angeles County had launched its own App called JobsLA, which lists thousands of positions throughout the county. He was quoted, “Right now in L.A. County there are 150,000 jobs that are waiting for people, so there’s no excuse. If you’re looking for a job, we can help you find the job that’s right for you.” Garcetti continued, “we’ll help you with your education, your resume, and it’s all free!”

The App itself is available through the iTunes store for Apple, and Google Play forAndroid devices. What’s really cool is that the App filters 20,000 websites – all at your fingertips.

WOMAN-LOOKING-SHOCKED-AT-MO

Let’s hear it for Garcetti.

Assume the Position, and Cover your App.

The Resume

Okay, you’ve been waiting for it, so here it is.  What we believe to be the perfect resume for the perfect temp, make that Official Temp – format-wise, anyway. And, as important as layout is, remember that the less drivel the prospective agency and their client have to muddle through, the more likely they’re going to keep reading because it’s all about the amount of meat on the bone.  Here’s a quick rundown on basic formats.

Education Resume.  This resume is strictly reserved for the recent grad. Chances are you’ve had some interesting assignments and internships during your summer breaks, and that’s what you’re going to have to pack in – documenting those small victories while highlighting areas of study that pertain to a particular position.  And whatever you do, don’t forget to add your involvement with activities, clubs, societies, everything.

Function and Purpose Resume. This resume tells those prospective agencies of all your glorious walking-on-water-like talents and places absolutely no importance on dates or even titles. This is a resume for a very specialized field, like bio-medical research (and can possibly be used for the recently paroled if you had a job on the inside. We’re just saying.).

Reverse Chronological Resume. This is the most frequently used and most favorable to agencies. What it should list is pretty basic, in a reserve order of date, your most recent employer at the top, ultimately listing your education at the bottom.  A delicious sample below, and one that we ran past a few agency representatives who agreed – it was a winner, certainly on formatting.

 

RESUME IMAGE

See full resume here

Always remember when creating your Official Temp resume to be as precise as possible. The clearer you are in your accomplishments, the legal ones anyway, the better it is for the agency and their client to assimilate what you are truly capable of doing. And whenever you can, make note in the responsibility descriptions how you made your previous employer money or saved them money.  They LOVE this.  It’s all about profits, baby, and any Official Temp can appreciate this.

Don’t forget to run your new TOT Resume past a few friends – just to be safe.

No Murse for me, thanks!

The Man Bag

Well, it appears some of our more opinionated and sensitive readers from the other side of the isle felt ignored on the discussion of what to carry into that perfect first interview with that perfect first agency. That’s right – the men!  And while some of the suggestions on what we could do with certain parts of our anatomy were riotous, the power-saws were nevertheless flying.  So we apologize. Wholeheartedly.  And in an effort to make right a terrible wrong, as any Official Temp does, let us jump headfirst into the subject and tell you men what you should be carrying into your first interview with that perfect first agency: NOTHING!

Look, we’re going to get to that.  But you haven’t got the interview or the assignment yet, and you’ve just blown a substantial wad with your new wardrobe. AND, we haven’t even started on resumes so any additional sticker shock at this early stage is going to be too painful and will only throw you into a tailspin.  Baby steps, remember.

But since you made such a stink, we’ll warn you now to start saving the winnings from your beer-pong-betting because you’re going to have to lay out some solid scratch on a decent Messenger bag when you are ready.  Yes, we said it — Messenger Bag. Not Murse. No Murse. Ever. Sure, some of our well traveled friends might bristle that men all over Europe carry a Murse, why not here? Well, that’s fine for Europe, but we’re here in the U.S. where we have football and the highest rate of gun violence of any industrialized nation – you can’t just throw a Murse’s into that.

And, since you’re so impatient, he’s a single consideration until we cover it in depth – much later. Royce-Leather-Saffiano-Leatherry-Laptop-Messenger-Bag-a13f199f-6d83-4289-98dc-5b93b85d11a7This is a comparable that you should be aiming for, the Royce Leather Saffiano Laptop Messenger Bag. The measurements are amazing, 13” high, 14.5” wide, and 3” deep with excellent lining and a zipped enclosure inside. If you do some online looking, you could probably find one of these on sale for a little over $100. If you’re not sure and need to see it purchase prior, by all means, hit the stores we’ve mentioned in previous posts. And if you can afford to knock it up to Tumi or another high-end brand with the same look, by all means.

Happy?

P.S. The contributing editor who wrote this is – a man.

You say you worked where?

References

An article we recently stumbled upon, profiling some imbecile discussing references, made us want to address this important issue sooner than later as you prepare for your new life as an Official Temp, and that issue is references.

In this particular article, this I’m-smarter-than-everyone-else-in-the-room-techie-boss asked potential candidates during interviews for contact information for someone who didn’t like them in their previous job – as a way to balance out the good references and attempt to obtain a “real picture of the candidate.” That’s like asking your blind date over dinner for their ex’s phone number, just to get a “feel” of who they really were pre-divorce. Imbecile. But it does raise a point – that is, making sure you’ve got some good reference letters when preparing for battle.

Agencies actually prefer not to have to do background checks. However, they are left with little choice as a new survey from CareerBuilder.com points out.  More than 2,500 hiring managers found that a whopping 56% have caught job candidates lying on their resumes.  The biggest whopper?  Embellishing skills or capabilities.  Another 54% say they’ve caught applicants taking extreme liberties when describing their responsibilities in a given position.  And even more sadly, 25% have seen people who have claimed to be employed by companies they couldn’t find on a Google map.  That takes some enormous balls.

Written references are the only sure-fire guarantee for a limited background check and can actually be a way for you to rise to the top of the pile, especially those written from senior executives where you might have interned for over a summer or two, and it doesn’t have to be a direct supervisor, just someone who liked you in that company. In addition, if you’re experience is light on your resume, which will be heavily discussed in our coming post on resumes, get reference letters from friends or the parents of friends who work for big name companies and who are willing to provide a character reference. It impresses the agency that you put the thought into the process and they’ll know that you’ll know how to represent them accordingly with any temp assignments they send you out on.  And an Official Temp always knows how to represent.

John Nash

Look, we’ve all made mistakes which can make background checks a bit tricky, so references are a great way to fly when starting that new temping life.  Three is the ideal number.  They should be on the letterhead of the company that person works for, succinct, no more than three short paragraphs, and always offering a phone number to call to discuss how awesome you are, which they never do.

It’s that simple.  Now start asking.

Hunger Games

Facebook or Food? You Decide.

The Hunger Games
Originally devised as a way to help misunderstood Harvard students stay connected to other underprivileged friends on campus (cough-cough), Facebook morphed at lightening speed, and in our opinion, into a global tabloid for lonely shut-ins to shotgun the minutia of their lives, sans logic, and spawned a plethora of other social media sites, most of which have become a dumping ground for bad behavior, or worse, pictures of cats.

Regardless of the arguments playing out over invasion of privacy, your social media footprint can mean all the difference between invites to interview, or you taking another trip to the .99¢ store for instant Ramen.  Why?  Because prospective agencies and employers now go straight to Google, which always leads to a search of your Facebook page, followed by Twitter, and ultimately Instagram, which can spell disaster for weekend warriors.  And if the crime scene is too bloody, they won’t even bother with your LinkedIn account.

Jobvite, a respected recruiting platform that handles applicant tracking, released a 2014 Social Recruiting Survey that should help put a lid on documenting your hard-partying ways:  93% of hiring managers and agencies will review a candidate’s social media profile BEFORE making a decision to interview them, let alone hire them.  Are you listening?  Another 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on what they find on social media AFTER initial consideration, with 61% of those double-takes receiving a negative.  Sucks to be popular, doesn’t it?

A final statistic?  According to Money Magazine, the number one blunder leading to the drop-kick of a potential candidate?  You guessed it – drinking.  Yep, all those hilarious pictures of you and your friends on Instagram, completely trashed at TGI Friday’s with you regurgitating their famous onion blossom, guarantees your phone won’t be ringing.  So, if you’re planning on starving or borrowing even more money from your parents, by all means, leave those magic moments online.  And if you’re really looking to be humiliated, be sure to let them find your profile on Tinder.

An Official Temp loves a short-cut, but not on this one.  Don’t waste time with those startups that promote and promise to scan and remove any unfavorable material where you loiter online. These services might be well and fine for a general wiping down of the furniture, but for a job like this, only serious elbow grease will do – your own.  There are some very good sites out there that can walk you through it.

So, start scrubbing.  Or, go hungry.  You choose.

2 P’s =T

It’s All About Totes Baby!

One extremely valid quandary we hear from the ladies side of the isle ALL the time is what to sling on their arm when hitting that temp agency for the first time.  It’s a valid conundrum.  It breaks our hearts to see the Un-Official Temp at interviews, poised in a proper waiting room sitting position (take note!), legs together leaning to the left, crossed at the ankles, hands in the lap.  And under her chair is a purse, knapsack, and portfolio.  Sad, right?  But luckily you’re now reading The Official Temp blog, and learning to correct any business of fashion-business faux-pas.  And that’s why we endorse nothing other than the tote, the only thing the Official Temp female proudly struts into meetings.  And why shouldn’t she?

Today’s totes are both formal and casual, elegant and functional, and provide for mind bending efficiency, keeping things organized and tidy — including printed resumes staying flat, your MacBook Air safe and snug, and any other thing that our female Official Temp might need for her career outing (we will discuss formal packing for interviews later).

Only black or brown will do, solid, in a sturdy leather or a very good matte vinyl.  No patterns or stamping – and that includes ANYTHING by Michael Kors, Coach, or any faux designer bag you might have bargained from some sidewalk vendor (we suggest you throw that one away – Official Temps don’t do knock-offs, except for pearls).

Totes High Res

Avoid making the purchase online.  You need to see and feel it, and confirm that it screams business elegance.  Banana Republic makes some great totes, and you can find some good offerings at J. Crew and T.J. Maxx, and of course, Ann Taylor.  Tory Burch has some fantastic options, but she’s a bit heavy on the appliqués and you want to avoid those at all cost.  Pick a size that feels right to you, but still resembles intelligence and balance.

And if you decide you want to give your new tote a power-boost in confidence, tie a small silk scarf around the handle (preferably something with a fair amount of yellow and white in it), and voila.

See?  You’re one step closer to being Official.

Forward

Our Welcome Letter

JobFair.jpg
In the End there is Always a Beginning (death excluded).

So— you got sacked from your last job.  Big deal.  Face it, you hated them anyway. What’s more, those cubical lemmings had no idea how to appreciate you, your wicked sense of humor during intense corporate meetings, your kindness in showing up late each morning as a courtesy to those needing a jump-start, or your killer flair for pranks and practical jokes.  And we won’t even get you started on how intellectually superior you were to them or how popular you are on social media outside their myopic organization.  Reality is, they did you a favor.

Why?  Because as a soldier in the new economy you are ready at last, to bravely move into turbulent and unchartered waters with your independence, innovative ideas, hard earned experience, and the bitter-rich emotional baggage that comes with it, which is why you are now ready to be — an Official Temp!

As an Official Temp you are in demand and licensed to consider yourself an entrepreneur, a free agent, a single scout in the vast wilderness of corporate greed and shameless backstabbing.  That’s right.  It’s a whole new globally-economically-connected world, with immeasurable wreckage, and we can all pay great thanks to Wall Street malfeasance, corporate downsizing, pension raiding, startups, start-downs, and legalized slave labor.  Yes, because of wildly reckless business behavior, temps have moved into the forefront of not just a handy enhancement or replacement to one’s immediate business needs, but have in fact become one of the most valuable commodities in today’s commerce (just ask Amazon and Walmart).

More than three million individuals are currently working in temporary positions each day in the United States.  In addition, young workers will average 8.6 different gigs before they reach the age of 34, making temping all that more attractive for those who are commitment phobic or seeking new horizons.  And many of today’s most gifted temps aren’t just the pink collared.  Men, especially in the tech and manufacturing sectors, now make up 30% of the temping workforce.

Simply stated, the sky’s the limit – but only if you’re an Official Temp.

We ourselves have been to the bowels of hell and back. Battle veterans who are here to share all of our temping experience to your benefit.  If you can name it, we’ve conquered it.  Banks, insurance companies, asset management and legal firms, commercial and residential real estate organizations, startups working out of a garage, and even some adult “industries” we’re too embarrassed to admit. And on the subject of embarrassment, we’ve even temped in that reptile tank known as the entertainment industry.  But that’s another blog.

Why are we reaching out you ask, using what little free time we have living a Los Angeles life?  We find it our social duty and moral obligation to report the trials, tribulations and truths about what it really takes to become the most marketable temp on this planet.

We will help get you through the darkest of days and the bleakest of nights on the road to a new you.  Let our blog serve as your bible, your new best friend, even your lover if need be.  No matter what your background, color, creed, sect, denomination, orientation, handicap, felonies, it doesn’t matter.  Treat this blog as your survival guide.  A simple, no-nonsense-thousand-points-of-light approach to changing your life with you calling the shots. Because sooner or later everyone is going to have to temp – so why not make it Official?

And remember, an Official Temp never runs out of office supplies for their home, if handled the right way.  It’s all about the angles.

Now let’s get started.

TIME TO ROLL

Getting Started

top hat sprint

With corporations paying more attention to shareholder greed than work-related PTSD claims filed by the minions making the profits happen, keeping lean has seduced many a company into replacing full-time folks with temporary employees long before the latest recession.  In fact, anyone would be hard pressed to find a single company, no matter its size, not taking full advantage of the temporary work force, or as freelance techies like to call themselves, the Contingent contractor.  Whatever.

Simply stated, temps in the previous century had proven to be of tremendous value versus the lazier, in-house crowd, and the reason was obvious: The temp of the past was a willing participant to be obliterated by immediate and unreasonable demands based on the belief that the employer-du-jour could hand the temp an e-ticket to easy street with a steady income and some measure of security.  The temp of the past was also a willing participant in accepting birdseed as pay, always a measly fraction of what the permanent employee might be making annually – with zero benefits.

That was then – this is now.

In 2014 alone, the number of temporary employees soared to an all-time high.  According to published reports, ADECCO, one of the largest staffing agencies in the United States, had an average of 650,000 temps on payroll with 100,000 client companies.  What does this mean to you?  Plenty.

Temping offers an amazing opportunity to explore an enormous array of diversity as well as securing marginal stability while still leaving plenty of elbowroom for a flexible, fun-filled schedule.  What’s more, where health insurance, holiday pay, and vacation time were exclusively reserved for the permanent employee, understand what a difference a movement makes.

The temp force is expected to grow by 15% each year with a whopping 49% of employers stating that they will be hiring temps in 2016, which is why a majority of temp agencies are reaching well beyond the normal scope of marketing to attract those looking to join the rank and file in this exploding market.  This includes offering the exact same perks presented by major corporations to its permanent staff – and that includes more money!  Yes, today’s temp can actually negotiate his or her hourly rate.  Agencies are even sending out recreational vehicles to college campuses and job fairs, snapping up potential temps wherever they can.  And why wouldn’t they?

The fact is, temps are no longer the ugly stepchildren of corporations brought in to answer a phone, type a letter, make coffee, or help with the big filing projects.  Nope, temps today have become a sizzling commodity, especially those with extensive social media skills.  In addition, temporary agencies are one of the fastest growing service providers in the U.S., with Manpower being one of the largest employers in the world.  What started out as a simple and basic purpose to hire a substitute slave for a single day — or many — for the most menial of tasks, has turned into a wildly profitable industry, $115 billion as of 2014 to be exact.

BUT –  chances are you are NOT reading this blog to be bored stiff learning statistics of companies benefiting from your sweat and aching back.  You are reading this blog for the benefit of numero uno – you!  So, whether you are an untrained divorce’, recent grad, or even a recent parolee, your future is about to change, big time.  And as any warrior knows – going into battle is all about mental preparation and attitude adjustment.

1. Shed the labels.

We ourselves have endured horrid names – Corporate Orphan, His Girl Friday Night, Seat-warmer, Inept eye-candy, you name it.  Not to mention some nasty whispers overheard in the lunch room to our lack of efficiency or perceived intellectual challenges.  Not you!  The new you IS hotter than a fireplace poker on a winter night, and you are certainly eligible to relish in some of the more favorable titles being adopted by the Official Temp – Freelancer, Staffing Associate, Specialist, Independent Contractor, Free-spirited God.  These are the respectable names you can take home to mom and dad without getting blank stares and questions, such as “a what?”

Whatever you choose to call yourself, own it.

2. Bury the Limitations

We all have our limitations, and unfortunately a history.  That is inescapable.  There isn’t a one among us who hasn’t tried on their own to stalk for the dream job through outdated sources online, and failed miserably.  In truth, trying it solo rarely works and if by some miracle it does, by the time you finally receive an offer for fulltime employment, not engaging in some exciting temp positions first, desperation for income will overpower any rational judgment and you’ll end up stuck once again in another horrid situation.  Where’s the fun in that?  Nowhere, that’s where.

The bottom line is simple:  You need to retain certain luxuries in life that you’ve grown ever so fond of, which might include, say, a roof over your head and occasionally putting something in the fridge from Trader Joe’s, so remember this –

We are here for you! Allow us to guide you step by step, post by post, on how to shine and tower above the rest. Take our hand and follow us through all stages of becoming the ultimate Temp, an Official Temp.

From haircuts to handbags, neckties to etiquette, eye contact to thank you notes, if you name it, you’ll learn it here, the RIGHT way.  We can even teach you how to negotiation your own salary, and even a possible parking space.  Remember – it’s all about angles.

So let’s roll.

For the seasoned employee looking to retake the market for a career change at the advanced age of, oh, say 34, and is worried about competition from the new grad – know this. The playing field is about evenly leveled between retreads and fresh-faced college students.  Statistics always make us feel better, so here are a couple for you:

  1. Only 15 to 30% of today’s graduates actually hold in their hungry little palm an offer of employment upon gown day.
  1. The remaining 70%-plus will be forced into temping while searching for the dream job their parents promised would be there if they attended college in the first place.

JUST SHAVE IT, ALREADY!

A word about facial hair

Cutting Beard
In reality, a potential employer, or more importantly, the potential agency that can potentially get you to that potentially-perfect employer, could not possibly care less about your stabs at social positioning, and care even less about your well groomed, extensive facial hair.  And that means beards – the ever popular added follicle feature below one’s nose that has turned geeks into hipsters, and some aging men into believing it’s some fountain of youth, which it isn’t.

It’s all about marketing yourself properly and professionally, and any potential employer isn’t interested in your social influence or the stylistic statements you are trying to make on Friday night pub-crawls, bad art openings, or Sunday morning farmers markets.  What they care about is your ability for flexibility and conformity.  They have their own culture and they expect you to move with it.  Sure, if you are working in tech or creative, have your little ZZ Top beard and just show up on time.  However, for the rest of you – shave it.  Don’t get a committee of friends involved on the decision making, they won’t be the ones signing your check and friends almost never tell the truth when asked “do you think I look good with it?”

Just shave it.  End of discussion.