When I would come home from college each summer, I would make a visit to my local Adia Temporary Agency in Hayward, CA. It's now called Adecco and the headquarters are located in Redwood City, CA. I had great luck getting jobs that would keep me busy all summer. If I wanted a little time to spend with friends or take a long weekend, I just told them I wasn't available and didn't accept jobs during that time. It worked out GREAT.
When I graduated from college, I started to interview for jobs. To keep the money coming in, I went back to my temporary agency and told them I'd be interested in short term jobs. They got me a job, in their office as a temporary receptionist. It worked out great and at the end of a few weeks, a position became available in the office for a supervisor. I interviewed for the job and got it and for nearly 5 years worked for Adecco Temporary Agency placing people on temporary and full time jobs.
I have recommended temp agencies to so many people. Some take my suggestions and have a great experiences, but many people just don't want to give the temp agencies a try.
Most temporary agencies do have full time placement services as well as short term, temporary jobs. In our office we had a person dedicated to full time placement. There is no fee to the applicant.
Also, it is possible to stay busy on temp jobs. You can stay as busy as you are willing to be, going from one temp job to another.
It's not always the easiest thing to be a temp. Many of my summer jobs during college breaks were for receptionist work and it took me about half the day to get everyone's names straight, and then the job was over. That wasn't always easy or fun, but I stuck it out.
Let me offer a few suggestions for the optimum temporary agency experience.
1. If you want to stay busy, sign up for 2 or 3 different agencies. They are each working with different clients, so there will be a bigger pool of potential jobs for you.
2. Dress for success at the interviews with each agency. Yes, you are just "signing up", but the people you interview with will be sending you to their valued clients based on your appearance and attitude during the interview. Take it seriously.
3. Follow the directions the agency gives you about checking in for work. You will probably need to call every other day or so that first week to see if there is any work for you, just so they won't forget about you. (I can guarantee, if you made a good impression at the interview, they will want to get you a job fast, before someone else does). Don't overdo it on checking in. Please don't call multiple times in a day unless you are asked to do so.
4. Be flexible. The more things you are willing to do and the more flexible you are with your hours, the more work you will get.
5. Show up to work. OK, I know that's a no-brainer, you would think. We actually would have people that would not show up, after calling us and asking for work and making a good impression at the interview. Just so you know, if you don't show up and don't call the agency, they will probably never use you again. So, show up, be on time, smile and everyone will love you.
6. Make sure to follow the instructions on the time cards. I'm not sure how companies are doing it these days, but about 7 years ago, you'd use a time card for each job you did. You'd record your hours each day and at the end of the assignment or week, which ever came first, you'd have your supervisor at your temp job, sign the time card. Then you could mail it or fax it, and in about a week, you'd get a pay check.
I loved working for Adecco as a temporary employee and also on the other side of the desk, finding jobs for other people. The people I loved to keep working and send to my very best clients were the ones who did all of the things I've mentioned above. Many times, my best temps would be hired by some of my favorite clients and I was always so happy to make a good match.
One more thing I might add: Temporary Agencies will most likely offer training for different software programs. If you have a day where you are not on a temp job, call them up to see if you can arrange a time to go in a take a training course. Most are probably on the computer, but they allow you to take the course, then take the test right after, so the agency will be able to take note of your expanded skill set right away.