By Amanda Abella
Freelancing has become a popular avenue for many people in this economy. It eases work/life balance, gives you an extra source of income and is even something to fall back on in case your day job doesn’t pan out. But did you know that freelancing can also help you land a job?
When I graduated from college I had minimal experience under my belt. I also moved back home to one of the hardest hit economies in the country. Needless to say, finding a job became very tedious.
In the meantime I got creative. I thought to myself “How can I start making some cash while I look for a job?” and started looking into whatever skills I could offer. In the next few months I ended up learning everything I could about freelance writing and blogging online. I learned how to land clients, how to market myself, how to deal with deadlines and how to collect money.
Shortly afterward I landed my first job as an English instructor for a private company. Since then I’ve kept freelancing and building my experience until I eventually landed a better job in the fields Human Resources and Career Consulting.
Freelancing Improves Your Skills
Freelancing is a great way to gather some skills if you don’t really have any - especially if you’re just out of college. It’s also a great way to improve skills you already have.
Two years down the road and I still use freelancing as an extra source of income. I also use it to tweak important skills I use at my regular job - client management, closings, collecting money and proposals just to name a few.
Boosts Your Expert Status
Freelancing is a great way to boost your expert status in your chosen niche or field. It helps give you authority and knowledge you may not be able to get otherwise during a Recession.
The first step is to get very clear on what your niche is. I did this by looking at my own life and pin pointing what I could offer. At the time I was a recent grad on the job hunt and trying to get my finances in order - what sprang forth was a blog and niche centered around career development and personal finance.
I maintained this niche for months by researching and writing about the topic as much as I could. My interest and accrued knowledge in career development then helped me land a job in a career consulting agency, despite the fact that I’d never actually worked in the field before.
This job was a big step for me: I’d moved from part-time to full-time, was making more money and was in a field I actually enjoyed. All because I gained great experience from my freelancing endeavors.
Freelancing Shows That You a Resourceful
At my current job I spend my days interviewing people for jobs within Fortune 500 companies. Many times they come in with strange gaps in their resumes - either from a layoff or leaving a previous job - that can look like red flags to hiring managers.
After pointing out the gap many of them tell me they were freelancing or running their own businesses. This, of course, completely changes things because it shows they were actually working during the gaps.
In fact, it shows that although they may have lost their job or couldn’t find work that they took matters into their own hands. They were resourceful and they knew how to find a solution to a problem - both which are imperative skills employers are always looking for.
The moral of the story here is simple: the skills and experience you get from freelancing can give you a serious edge on the job hunt. So if you find yourself unemployed, dissatisfied at your current job, or in job limbo start freelancing! Hone in on your skills to make extra dough, boost your expert status and fill your resume.
Amanda Abella is a the life coach behind Grad Meets World, a blog dedicated to helping millenials create fulfillment in all areas of their lives - career, money and everything in between! Her work has been featured on Forbes Woman, The Consumerist and Brazen Careerist. You can find her on Twitter @amandaabella