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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Temping Offer

I told myself that if there was no news regarding the seasonal job by today then I would telephone the Shore Office to ascertain whether there was any news. Having just telephoned them, they inform me that a decision has not as yet been made, and the start date for the job has been put back from 28th March (this Saturday) to Tuesday 7th April. I suppose no news is good news, and at least I have something to tell the people at the Lent Lunch I am going to in half an hours time hosted by the Chairman of the village newsletter.

In the meantime, when I checked my emails after my return from the weekly shop, there was one from a well known employment agency, whose site I have signed up to for job alerts and other related snippets. The email is entitled "Be prepared for temping" and gives hints and tips on how to go about temping in the right way.

Personally I have never found temping all that lucrative, maybe because I have only 20 years experience, am not trilingual and can only type at 45 words per minute, rather than the 60 which seems to be demanded these days. Neither can I use the various software packages which seem to be increasingly used. It never ceases to amaze me when I do go to these agencies, or have an interview for any job that requires keyboard skills that they ask me whether I can type. My book was not written by long hand! I find it frustrating to say the least how little time people seem to spend actually reading the CV's and applications that they are sent.

This email provides a list of various tips on how to speed up the process of registration at employment agencies, and information on what you should bring with you. The most important thing is of course your CV, as well as references and proof that you are entitled to work in the UK. If you are signing up for temporary work, then it may also be a good idea to bring along your bank details, in the vague hope that they may be able to offer you something there and then. The more usual response in my experience is something along the lines of "We have nothing suitable for you at the moment". You then go home and find about six jobs that sound suitable on the company's website or advertised in the local paper.

It is important of course to give agencies the best possible impression that you can, so you need to be prepared to talk about your work history, goals and aspirations. Consultants need to build a "profile" of you in order to know which type of jobs you are best suited for and which companies you may "fit into". You should ensure that you look smart and presentable, and if attending a pre-arranged appointment, arrive on time. It is best to allow around an hour and a half for registration.

This bears virtually zero resemblance to any of the appointments I have made with agencies over the years. Most of the time you are lucky to get more than 10 to 15 minutes of their time, never mind an hour and a half. I wish that one of them would take the time to sit down and talk through with me all these things, as then I might stand a chance of obtaining a job that I like and can stick at, without nasty surprises. I think in all the years that have passed since I left school, I have had just one experience that even vaguely resembles this scenario with an employment agency. Maybe I am unlucky, but talking to friends and acquaintances, I don't think that I am, as they have nearly all relayed similar tales.

Maybe if I was a "career" person then I may be treated differently, but this lack of respect for my time and my life means that I am not given the chance to get that career that could lead to a much more fulfilling life. Perhaps I will get some anti wrinkle cream and pretend to be under 25, as that way I may be entitled to some free career counselling!

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