Job Search Strategy: Freelance while job-hunting

Freelancing is a great way to earn extra cash when you need it most.


One effect of an unstable economy is that businesses are often reluctant to hire benefited employees and will often take the option of hiring freelance talent to do the job.

The advantages of taking on freelance work are twofold:

·  You can expand your network of business contacts, especially in your area of expertise, and use the freelance opportunity to break the ice and show off your expertise and value.

·  It is a great way to earn extra cash when you need it the most.

Here are a few guidelines when considering freelancing:

1. Freelancing can help you in your job search, but only if you stick to selling your expertise. If you did your marketability assessment thoroughly and honestly, you should have a very definite idea of the specific services you can provide to your customers, whether they are businesses or individuals. You should be able to make a list of what services you can offer and provide a written, detailed description of what each entails.

2. Promote, promote, promote. If you decide to offer freelance services, it is fairly easy to integrate and promote your services in your job-search campaign. When networking, make sure to mention that you also offer freelance services in your area of expertise.

3. Do not quit your day job of finding another job. Balance your time between your job-search campaign and freelance activities. Until you start promoting your services, it is hard to estimate how much time that might eat out of your job-search campaign.

On one hand, freelance projects can generate needed income, showcase your expertise, and keep your skills sharp. On the other hand, you need to still dedicate time to implementing your job-search campaign outside freelancing. That balance between using freelancing for networking and income generation and the need to attend to other critical parts of your job search only becomes a challenge when you actually have freelance projects to do.

4. If you are able to obtain and complete freelance projects, make sure you note that on your various social-networking platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You do not have to note the name of the firm, but it is a great way to let people know you are active and moving forward. Showcasing completed projects may also help you generate more interest from others who may need your services. Any freelance projects you take on should be part of your portfolio.

5. You might think about joining a professional organization that serves your field of expertise. Find out how they can help you expand your network of contacts and help you find potential freelance projects. Joining a professional organization should be on your list of things to do whether you decide to freelance or not.

David Dirks is the author of "Job Search Marketing: Finding Job Opportunities in Any Economy." 

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