If you are a freelancer, chances are you have more opportunities for employment now that the economy is in a slump. While hiring full-time employees is down, the work still needs to get done. And freelancers are in the perfect spot for those jobs. Freelancers usually have experience. Many freelancers have already worked for a variety of different companies, and are therefore more flexible than new-hires. If you are a freelancer, here are some tips for getting new gigs and making the most of your experience.
1) Make sure you have a portfolio
Whether you are a graphic designer, programmer, or a bookkeeper, potential employers want to see that you have done something similar to the job description that they need to hire for. Don’t just write where you previously worked- show it. Make PDFs or JPEGs of some of the work that you have done, and who you did it for. Of course, make sure that none of that info is private or classified. Aside from the ethical and legal issues involved- it sure won’t make a potential employer excited to see that you can’t keep a secret.
2) Find out about the company
Before an interview, or, if responding to a specific request for a job, take some time to read up on the company or organization that you are applying to. Then, you will be in a better position to explain why your knowledge, skills, and experience will help you work towards their goals and needs. They don’t want to hear too much of someone tooting their own horn, but if you can spin it to tell why their program is so great and how you can help it grow, you’ll be ahead of the game.
3) Once hired, be flexible
Often, small companies that hire freelancers do not have the personnel necessary for all of their tasks. Tell your boss or employer that you can do things outside of your exact job description. For example, if you are a programmer and you notice the receptionist having some Excel issues, offer your help. If you see that data entry needs to be done, even though you might be an experienced business consultant temp, offer your time. It pays off big time: your employer will be eager to hire you back, perhaps for a more permanent position next time.
4) Learn the company culture
Every office has their own way of doing things. Organization, decisions, writing style, efficiency and attitude differ from one business to the next. If you are going to be employed somewhere for any significant amount of time, listen and learn how they operate. Employers take pride in their business. They may have spend years or even decades building it up. They relish their company’s subtleties and nuances. And they will consider you as a good fit if you can acknowledge and melt in to their culture.
5) Keep your foot in the door on your way out
When completing a short term employment, or a small gig, find a way to keep your information fresh in the minds of the employer. Send followup emails related to the project you worked on. For example, tell you employer that you saw the ad you designed in the newspaper, and that it looked great. Or, send a news article of interest related to the industry that you worked on for them. If a company hired once, chanced are they will need to hire again- and you don’t want to lose your spot.
In conclusion, even temporary and freelance workers should feel a sense of responsibility and attachment to their employers. It will help them with their current work and give them a good chance of being hired again.
Image Credit to yourdon
Written by Sruly Markowitz
Sruly Markowitz is COO of StoreSigns.com, a small business that sells customizable store signage to retail stores. He works with his in-house team of designers, and enjoys sending out design and writing work to freelancers to get diversity. Visit storesigns.com to see their line of store signs.