Question: When completing an application, what organization do I list on the application as my last employer? Do I put the staffing agency or the organization I worked at? I’ve been writing the agency on the application and the recruiter’s name, but how can the recruiter at the agency answer the questions the hiring manager needs answered of my experience with the organization I worked at? – Melvina C., Chicago
Answer: Many applicants turn to temporary work to avoid gaps in employment and build experience as they look for more permanent roles. This sometimes means taking on multiple temp positions over the course of a short period of time. This is a great thing, as you have valuable experiences to draw from and highlight!
It is best practice to list both the staffing agency and the organization you temped with on your resume and other application materials to give the clearest picture of where you worked. There’s no stigma to temporary work—in fact, employers appreciate the effort you put into remaining engaged during your search for more permanent roles!
This is a great strategy because it shows hiring managers why a position may have had a short tenure by letting them know it was a temporary assignment. It also allows you to highlight the name of an organization with a mission relevant to a potential employer, all while giving the full information of your experience.
On your resume, you can try writing the actual position you held and the name of the organization on one line, and the name of the staffing agency directly below. If you’ve temped at multiple places in a short period of time, grouping them under a “temporary assignments” section may help. As with any other form of work, it’s also important to highlight your accomplishments and relevant skills. Just because a position was temporary doesn’t mean you didn’t gain valuable experience that will appeal to potential employers!
As far as the listing the name of the recruiter who placed you on your resume is concerned, the best place to do this is in your references. Your recruiter will be able to speak to your success in temporary placements because he or she is in constant communication with the supervisor at your assignment, and consistently asking for detailed feedback. In addition, you can talk to your recruiter about asking the supervisor at your temporary assignment for permission to list them on your references to speak to your specific experience at that organization during your assignment.
Temporary work is a great way to gain significant experience and propel you towards your ideal career path. The right format can be all it takes to showcase your experience and lead you to your dream job!
Nurys Harrigan-Pedersen is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.