When I started my job search after I earned my degree, I did not know of any local staffing agencies and had to find out about them through the internet. That’s unfortunate, because I believe staffing agencies play a role in society that benefits individuals and the communities that they are in and can help work with local talent pools to boost skill sets of individuals seeking to get into certain industries.

Access to job opportunities, guidance and convenience — these are the things workers stand to gain when working through a staffing firm, if only they are aware.

If local firms or individual offices placed more emphasis on incorporating community-based marketing practices, they could raise awareness of the individual career development benefits they bring to surrounding communities while simultaneously building their own brand awareness. What would such community outreach look like? Here are some ideas.

Professional Basics

A staffing firm might hold workshops at high schools, community colleges or community centers to expose a new talent pool to the possibilities in various industries and/or even educate them on such things as workplace etiquette and employee rights. Think of the gap you can address: When first entering the workforce, many young people may not be aware of organizational hierarchies within a typical corporate office; they can even be hesitant to ask about the break and PTO policies, workers’ compensation or even company benefits.

By providing guidance and resources for first-time employees or for those entering a new industry, you are helping to establish rapport with the workers, increasing the likelihood they’ll turn to you to build their careers and find new opportunities. The likelihood that individuals will share their experiences with those associated also increases the chances for future referrals.

Skills Development

As a student, I found it challenging to find what skills of mine matched the current job market, and it was daunting trying to navigate the job postings due to the sheer volume of companies to apply to. In hindsight, I could have made myself more marketable by learning a few skills on my own — such as 10-key entry or Excel application use — had I realized they would have been useful. A staffing firm could have helped guide me.

In the same vein, even fresh out of college, candidates can lack skills companies are seeking but can be easily learned. To help them fill in those gaps, a staffing firm can offer educational opportunities through partnerships with local educational institutions or recommend specific e-learning platforms that incorporate massive online open courses. These platforms tend to have courses with reviews to ensure that the course is of good quality and can include topics such as Excel or product management. Content creation to incorporate recommendations and workshops relating to skills development can help someone potentially looking to get into a specific industry or aid in the decision to switch careers. I found that exposure to training resources on the internet helps prepare oneself to find out which skill sets can be reviewed as well as to add new skill sets to prepare for the varying job roles of a position listed. Through my online job searches, I’ve become more aware of different staffing agencies. My use of online MOOCs has enabled me to prepare to apply for job roles I wouldn’t otherwise have been qualified for.

With the digital age, there can be more of a push for open communication between staffing agencies and their applicants to foster awareness for the community and to build long-term value for those situated in such communities. The exchange of skills enables applicants to fine-tune their skill sets and showcase their employability. And long term, the relationship between the contingent worker and the agency builds each other’s reputation and elevates the awareness and perception of the staffing industry as a whole.