Freelancing is tough work – mostly because you never know where your next paycheque will come from. I’ve been very lucky this past year to have two long-term contracts (one was a year long and the other was four months), with a nice peppering of smaller two-day types of jobs in between. The work I do is really varied as well: I’ve edited three manuscripts, coordinated a couple hundred people, written countless articles, and done PR work for a local health centre. It’s lots of fun!
Whether or not you’re in the freelancing business (for any trade or service!), here are a few tips for when you’re job hunting:
- Always keep your resume up-to-date. You never know when you might stumble across a job posting, only to find the deadline is tomorrow. In that case, it’s very nice to be able to whip out your resume, write a cover letter (you can have a rough template already written, but always make sure the cover letter is specific to the job you’re applying for) and send it all in on time. You don’t want to have to scramble to find references, either.
- Ask old clients and employers for recommendations on where to look for work. If you worked with them and had a good relationship, there is no reason why they wouldn’t want to help you out or give you a suggestion. They might know of other people or businesses looking for someone with your exact skill set.
- Check newspapers and websites for job postings. This can sometimes take hours, so be sure to give yourself enough time to look for job opportunities. Government websites are a good place to start. Also check out the websites of businesses in your city and check out their career opportunities.
- Think outside the box and don’t sell yourself short. Just because your typical work is in a specific field, doesn’t mean you can’t expand upon it! And don’t be afraid to try new things – even something you think you might not enjoy a huge amount could potentially turn into something you love. Be honest in your resume about your qualifications, and be open to taking on work you didn’t expect you might do. Remember that your resume is about selling yourself, too: don’t be arrogant, but don’t belittle your achievements, either.
- Have a backup plan. Whether it’s working at a coffee shop, a clothing outlet, a Safeway store or your mum’s vet clinic (*cough* can you guess which one my backup is? ), you should always have a plan for the type of work you’ll do in case you find yourself without any job prospects. Even as a temporary position, it’s much better to take on any kind of work than to be without a job.
- To borrow from Douglas Adams, don’t panic. View it all as a learning experience!
What are your tips for job hunting? Do you enjoy the experience? Are you in the freelancing business? Share in the comments section below!