Finding Strong Candidates: Employment History

Resume writing can be a daunting task. It is your one shot to show an employer that you have the experience and skills they seek. Yet, in today’s environment, you might have less than ten seconds to make an impression. And some companies also use an applicant tracking system – a computer – to screen resumes. So, getting your resume “just right” might seem intimidating.

But there’s plenty of advice out there to improve your odds at making it through the screening process and on to the interview.

A quick search of the Internet will pull hundreds of articles offering would-be resume writers insights on striking the right tone and avoiding pitfalls. And you can, of course, visit the Virginia Employment Commission to get assistance with writing your resume.

But we’re a little biased. Our sibling company, Reliance Staffing and Recruiting, has excellent advice on things that should be done to write a solid resume. They even produced a short video.

All this is well and good at covering the basics of resume writing, but what if you made it through the interviewing process and have been working for a staffing agency for a while? What if you have done a great job working, but it has been at multiple companies for short periods because of your work in the staffing industry? How should this be reflected on a resume, particularly when the advice says that going from job to job might be viewed negatively by those screening your application?

Well, we have some ideas.

First and foremost remember that the staffing agency is your employer of record in every situation when you are working for them.

As an example, members of the military move from station to station, yet they still remain under the employ of the federal government. While they may have changed roles and even the skills necessary to accomplish the different roles, they haven’t changed their employer. The same is true for individuals who stay with a staffing agency but move from client to client based on needs.

Therefore, when you are listing your jobs, be sure to not only list who you worked for, but also the responsibilities, your achievements, and the skills necessary to accomplish the job.

Secondly, knowing that the staffing agency is your legal employer, it should be noted that your primary supervisor – likely your placement specialist – becomes your reference. That being said, when you are working as an associate to one of our clients, you will gain additional benefit from listing your supervisor from the client as a reference too.

Lastly, there are a couple of nuances that agency employees can list on their resume, if applicable:

  • Tout if you were hired to a permanent position based on the work you performed as a temporary worker. Nothing says, “highly skilled, dedicated, and loyal” like demonstrating superior performance on the job.
  • It’s a good idea to list why you left an employer if you leave shorter than 3 years, especially if it is for job advancement and opportunity. So, if you only worked for us for two years as an associate, but went on to become a manager at a company, say so!

So here’s the bottom-line: be proud of your work.

Perhaps Mike Rowe, our modern day advocate of the power of work said it best:

“Some jobs pay better, some jobs smell better, and some jobs have no business being treated like careers. But work is never the enemy, regardless of the wage. Because somewhere between the job and the paycheck, there’s still a thing called opportunity, and that’s what people need to pursue.”

Don’t ever discount the opportunities that you have experienced or fail to highlight the efforts you have given to improve a company and fulfill the needs of others.

Ultimately, what employers are looking for is partners. Partners with a passion for the company and a belief in its success.

You need to show that you are credible, responsible, and ready to help them on that journey. And you can do that by showing your commitment as an employee of a staffing agency.

Check out this example of how you can make your resume shine when working with a staffing agency:


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