Temping Advice – 7 Things You Should Do

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Ali Willox
Published on 20 July, 2018

A few people haven’t cottoned on yet, but there’s a lot to love about temping. It keeps your CV well watered while you are between jobs. And you get to meet new people, expand your skill set and explore different industries, without committing to a permanent position. All while topping up your bank balance. Sounds good, hey?

Here at Cathedral Appointments HQ, we are placing more and more candidates in temp roles - across Exeter, Devon and beyond. It’s a vital part of many businesses’ recruitment strategy and is increasingly popular with everyone from students to senior executives.

Here are the 7 key pieces of temping advice to make the most of your time.

1. Integrate

Let’s face it, settling into a new place of work takes a lot of effort. It can be hard at the best of times. But when you know you may only be in your new position for a few months, well it can be tempting to lie low. Not for you! To get the max from your temp time, it’s important to double down on your efforts to become part of the team.


Well, a little camaraderie and connection with your colleagues will make going to work way more enjoyable. More importantly, you never know who you might meet. Anyone from the senior consultant to the cleaner could have a dramatic impact on your future career. And when you adopt that mindset, you start to see opportunities everywhere. Talk to people. Put yourself in the shop window. Show your best self. Because the old business adage rings true: people do business with people.

2. Tune-up your memory skills

The human brain has put man on the moon. But remembering someone’s name after a brief introduction remains one of the hardest things in the world. Trouble is, you’re about to meet a lot of new people in a super-short space of time. Ho-hum. Help is at hand. Just learn a simple technique for remembering names. In your campaign to make a great impression (see above), something as simple as getting a name right (or rather, not getting it wrong) could take you far.

3. Listen (well)

Most people can listen. Listening well is a less common skill. But it matters. In any temping role you have to be quick out of the blocks, adapting fast to your new environment, your new colleagues and your new responsibilities. That’s just the nature of temping. Receiving instruction requires a keen ear.

Good listening skills will also enable you to ask intelligent questions, giving you the chance to show your team that you understand your duties and arming you with the intel you need to perform as best you can. Added bonus? Paying attention to the less worky elements of the conversations you have with your new colleagues will make the water cooler downtime more invigorating.

4. Embrace responsibility

Ready to get stuck in? Great! Because it’s likely that your responsibilities are going to be way more expansive than it said on the job description. Making a stellar impression means being willing and eager to make a contribution - however small.

Nobody is expecting you to walk in and move mountains immediately. In fact trying to do too much too soon can be detrimental. But showing a desire to learn quickly and muck in for the good of the team is a great way to make yourself memorable. You are not going to let yourself be that person who says “I’m just the temp.”

5. Speak up

Yes, you need to make the right impression. But never be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure. Your new colleagues don’t expect you to be a mind-reader.

6. Let yourself learn

Temping is a great way to broaden your skillset. The more you do it, the more you learn - especially if you are dipping your toe into various different industries. (Hello, transferable skills!)

One of the best ways to consolidate your knowledge is to write down everything you learn. So do it. Buy a journal and at the end of each day jot down the most important things you have learned. This doesn’t need to be an onerous task. Five-minutes and a few bullet points will suffice. Day by day, that knowledge stacks up. And that makes you a stronger candidate for the next job vacancy that tickles your fancy...

>> Interview formats, common questions and how to prepare

7. Update your CV

Yeah, yeah. You know you need to tailor your CV for each individual role. But it’s important to keep your CV updated too. New skills can stack up fast when you are temping - and it’s important that your CV shows off your breadth of expertise if you want to make an impression on future employers. And it’s not just the technical knowledge you gain that counts. It takes a special kind of person to excel in temping roles. Doing so demonstrates flexibility, the ability to learn fast and teamwork skills. That’s fabulous fodder for a personal statement or cover letter.

>> What recruiters want to see on a CV

What are you waiting for?

Temping is an increasingly important piece of the employment puzzle. Sure, it’s a great way to keep things ticking over while you are between jobs. But there’s nothing to say that temping can’t be a career in itself. Especially if you crave variety or are unsure of the direction you’d like to take in your career. In summary, nailing your next temp role is as simple as:

  • Making an extra effort to build bonds with your team - rather than staying anonymous
  • Listen - really listen - to what’s expected of you, you have to hit the ground running
  • Embrace responsibility and do whatever you can to make life easier for your team - the little things (filing, mucking in on the tea round) are as important as the big things
  • Consolidate your knowledge by documenting everything you learn in a journal - bullet points, not essays
  • Update your CV with your new skills to stand a better chance of landing your next role


Recruitment Consultant - Office Division

Ali joined Cathedral Appointments in 2017 after working in the USA for 18 months. With a customer focused approach and a strong sales background, Ali works alongside Katie on the Office Division and has built up strong relationships with a number of the SW's leading employers. She is probably the most fittest (and competitive) member of the CathApps team.

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Temping Advice – 7 Things You Should Do

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