By Mark Feffer
With the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our lives, an amazing growth in those who are unemployed has occurred.
MANY employers have been forced to shut their doors, hopefully only temporarily.
Working from home is the new normal for many professionals.
Finding a job is not easy, even though some employers are still hiring.
No doubt, you have become discouraged by searching relentlessly for for full-time positions that are very hard to find.
So, perhaps it is time for a change in your job search strategy.
Consider directing your energies toward freelancing (also known as "contracting"), where you can find project based, skill-centric, time-specific positions, which are usually paid well and by the hour.
Contract positions are available across industries, fields, experience levels and salary ranges.
While they may not present the ideal situation, these jobs allow you to stay in touch with the professional world, pay the bills, and show prospective employers that you’ve remained active and engaged in the workforce.
They’re not just for lower-level candidates or Millennials, either.
If you’re worried that you will be put in the “permanent freelancer” box, it’s worth noting that while a small percentage of businesses do offer contractors full-time positions, the job market is changing radically, and the way we work is far more diverse than it’s ever been. Contracting may be what we all do in the future.
Finding contract jobs is a bit different than a full-time search. Here are some tips to get you started.
A solid contractor resume should be shorter and more focused than your standard version, and targeted specifically to the position you’re pursuing. Include a brief personal profile – the equivalent of your elevator pitch – along with a list of skills, certifications, achievements and your career history.
Make sure to sell yourself in both the resume and cover letter. Your approach should be honed in on the value you can bring to the table today, as opposed to what you did in the past.
Because a lot of contract work is sourced via agencies and websites that focus on non-employee positions, it’s critical to research which ones are appropriate for your resume
Find out which recruiters specialize in filling independent positions in your area of expertise and make contact. Also, tell recruiters you already know that you’re available and looking to work outside the box.
Don’t be afraid to approach hiring managers directly at companies looking to fill contract positions. You can also connect with businesses you’d like to work with and pitch yourself as a cost-effective alternative for short-term projects.
Be sure that your LinkedIn Profile supports your contracting work expertise.
Now, turn to the job boards. Search using terms like “contract,” “contracting,” “temporary,” "remote," and “freelance.” Many employers don’t realize there can be differences between these descriptions, so their positions could be misidentified in the title.
Read carefully, and apply accordingly.
As an independent contractor, you are not considered an employee. You would likely be hired for a single project and a specific timeframe, and you will most likely be paid by the hour.
You may make more than you would at a comparable full-time position because you’re being hired for expertise exclusive to a project.
But, bear in mind:You are responsible for all of your own expenses which include health insurance, self-employment taxes, and other related expenses. So, the employer saves money while you have added costs.
When you price your work, keep your additional costs in mind.
By accepting contract work, you can reduce gaps in your employment and have the opportunity to network within an organization.
If a full-time position becomes available, being on the inside – even for a short period of time – will give you the chance to make a positive impression.
Another bonus is that each new environment is target-rich. With every assignment you will be able to develop fresh networking contacts and open different doors to potential prospects in your field.
Finally, while many contractors work on-site in non-pandemic time, many work remotely from their homes. Perfect now.
Look at taking contract work as a series of small steps forward rather than a big leap into a dream position. Do not pass up short-term opportunities, even if they are not exactly what you are looking for. A contract may be your best option for generating needed income, ending a long-term period of unemployment, or creating a new way to make a living. Each step can lead you down a path toward more opportunities and a better fit in the right spot.
Mark Feffer has written, edited, and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology for leading business and career sites. He is currently writing for JobsinME.com, JobsinRI.com, JobsinVT.com and JobsinNH.com, the top local resources for job seekers, employers, and recruiters in New England.