Freelancers: Here’s Three Simple Ways to Get the Career You Want

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Jennifer Faulkner, a marketing manager at Proposify, is the perfect example of why a freelance creative might want to make the jump to “nine-to-five” employment. Jennifer was a six-year freelance veteran who’d been working at Proposify for almost two years before she detailed her transition on the company’s blog.

When Jennifer was a freelancer, she was convinced she’d never go back to a regular job. She loved the freedom to choose her projects, relished the choice to pick her co-workers, and appreciated her options to work whenever she wanted.

Jennifer’s story is not unlike many freelancers currently in the industry. Working a “regular” job comes with benefits like steady pay, vacation hours, and a feeling of stability. Still, it can be difficult making the transition from full-time freelancing to the new office desk jockey.

So, how can freelancers make the jump? Here’s a roadmap to guide you seamlessly into steady employment:

Fine-Tune Your Brand

Every creative knows they need a standout portfolio website that includes samples of their freelance work. But to really set yourself apart, freelancers need to go the extra mile. Your website needs to be more than just day-to-day blogs, pictures, and an “About Me” page.

Are you an interior designer? Do a video blog of your latest project and walk someone through your design choices so they can see how you put things together.

Are you a video producer? Create a training module where you show someone how to make a quick 60-second clip of a home movie.

Are you a fiction writer? Shoot an instructional video teaching people how to do plot and character development to improve their stories.

The goal is to give people who find your website something remarkable so you stick out in their mind. The best way to do that is to immediately create value for any potential employers who find you.

Rework Your Resume For Your Job Search

Everybody has a resume. Recruiters are likely inundated with hundreds of thousands of resumes on a year-to-year basis by candidates looking for the same position as you. How are they going to pick you out of that bunch?

The best approach is to sell yourself with a compelling narrative. Don’t just list your accomplishments on your resume and hastily submit. Rather, be creative in selling how you’d work as a potential employee.

For example, if you’re applying for a job in graphic design, you should talk in-depth about your design experience. Tweak your resume to show how you took ownership of your projects and how it positively impacted your clients.

Also, “storify” your resume. Don’t just tell recruiters what you did, tell them a story about what you were hired to do and how you exceeded that expectation. You need to highlight the accomplishments of your roles on your resume so you will stand out from other candidates.  

The key is to show a level of expertise that will impress the recruiter. You want recruiters to realize, although the experience might not be a traditional one, it’s still valuable.

Create A Relevant Network

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

This phrase takes on a critical importance when transitioning from a creative hobby into a lucrative career. You know that getting in the door is the first step to getting a job, but one of the best ways is to have someone open that door for you.

Freelancers and creatives have a reputation for being introverts. While being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be social, it does make the social aspect more challenging. It can be especially nerve-wracking when there’s a job on the line.

For creative introverts, you’ll want to focus on how you feel about your craft. Think of how you feel when you complete a project. Focus on the satisfaction you experience when you’re hard at work on a project you’re passionate about.

Then, you can take that enthusiasm and use it as fuel when you’re networking with professionals in your industry. Work with someone you’re comfortable with on explaining what you do and how much you love to do it. That way, it won’t be so awkward when you’re pitching it to a complete stranger.

Searching for a position as a creative is hard work, but it’s not impossible. A stroke of luck, combined with some savvy business moves, will allow you to work in the career of your dreams.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.