Job Search Tip
Freelancing / Consulting / TempingFreelancing, temping, or consulting are all great ways to fill your time in between jobs. Sometimes it’s just a financial necessity, and that’s OK. But these activities also offer some great benefits for you while you’re in the job search. Sometimes they lead to a full-time opportunity, sometimes they build your skills or add to your knowledge, sometimes they build your network, and sometimes they just communicate to potential employers that you are an active person who wants to keep their hand in while they’re looking for the right opportunity.
This temporary, or project-based, work is an outstanding way for a potential hiring manager (or even just someone who would be an extremely strong reference for you) to get to know you and your work. It helps them feel more comfortable.
The ideal outcome is that they end up offering you a job. If they get some experience with you and see firsthand how great you are, they could very well offer you a job right there. I can tell you that I love to start people part-time before I make the big commitment of offering them a full-time job. When people do good work for me, I give them more and more opportunities. It’s a natural progression. The ability to see what your work is like, what your attitude is like, and how you deliver really goes a long way.
But a still fantastic outcome is that they become a great reference for you in your job search. References carry you a very long way in a job search, and previous managers, supervisors, or anyone you’ve done work for are the best references you can have. If for no other reason, this would be a good use of your time.
So how do you find a temporary job, a consulting gig, or a freelancing project?
Temporary jobs are fairly easy to find. Lots of agencies specialize in hooking up temp employees with companies. Manpower is one of the biggest, but a little research will show you others. All you have to do is register with the agency and then you are eligible for opportunities. Other options? Retail stores always hire at the holidays, resorts and theme parks usually hire more in high season, politicians hire more staff during election season, and so on. All these options will pay you directly, but temporary agencies are the issuers of your paycheck if they find you a spot.
Consulting is a little more difficult to do. It helps if you have a network already in place. Basically, consulting is just like having your own business and you have to act accordingly. Promote yourself online and know what you’re doing when it comes to contracts and setting fees for work. Payments go directly to you.
Freelancing is maybe the happy medium in between these other two. It’s almost always strictly project-based (like consulting, but on a smaller scale). One of the biggest freelance sites is Elance. You just set yourself up with a profile and examples of your work, if you can (works best for writers, designers, artists, etc.). You can be contacted about jobs and you can search for projects to bid on. All payments are through the site.
This kind of work can offer you some great benefits, but be careful if your ultimate goal is to find a permanent job. Don’t ignore your “real” job search and don’t stop contacting hiring managers while you’re looking for these temporary opportunities.
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