Staying Relevant – and Making Extra Money – While Job Hunting

Most job seekers find themselves with two simultaneous challenges:  trying to find a job AND make enough money to live (or survive).

Well, the good news is that it’s possible to do both, and if done properly, the job seeker can gain extra skills or experience in the process, which should serve to accelerate the finding of a full-time position.  

This article will serve to explore some tactics job seekers can take to address these dual concerns.

Getting a Part-Time Job

This may not be news to anyone who’s out of work and looking for their next full-time opportunity, but obtaining part-time work can serve as a way not only to earn money but also to build both personal and professional skills.

 A part-time job means many things nowadays.  Most view a part-time job as one that might be at a retail store, but part-time work can extend to project work both in-person and virtual.  This project work can actually serve as the linchpin to re-establishing your professional bearings, and perhaps more importantly, giving you the confidence to continue in your job or career search.

 And making an income isn’t a bad thing either.

 How To Find Part-Time Work

The good thing about job sites (like this one) is that they provide access to open, full-time positions for the widest audience possible. 

The bad thing about job sites is that they very rarely list part-time or contract positions.  How then can you find part-time work?  Here are a few ideas:

Freelancer networks.  The most well-known freelancer network is oDesk, and since it announced a merger with rival Elance late last year, the combined firm is expected to dominate the category.  Create a profile on one or more of these freelancer sites – your profile does not have to be as fleshed out as your profile on LinkedIn -- and start applying for project work.  

Temp agencies.  Some temporary placemen firms like Robert Half and Randstad have revamped their strategies and offerings, and are very well aware of the need for consultants nowadays.  Revisit your relationships with them and see what they can offer you.  As an added bonus, some of them have skills training or online courses that you can take for free, as it behooves them to make you as marketable as possible.

Vendor communities.  From Microsoft down to the startup, software developers have created user groups and communities that also serve as fertile networking grounds.  If you haven’t been to a meeting lately, start attending again, and engaging in conversations.  Asking if anyone knows of freelance opportunities is a perfect, non-confrontational way to ask for help.  Many of these communities have online directories which serve as matching systems between companies and contractors. 

Word-of-mouth.  As you follow up with people in your network, asking them if they know of contract opportunities has become a very acceptable request.  Some organizations, after several years and rounds of layoffs, have eliminated certain full-time positions permanently and only seek contractors to complete work previously performed by full-timers.  Go deeper, and ask contacts if they can help you be entered into their vendor or contractor database; this could be another way to get your foot in the door, as the approval and paperwork process could be lengthy.  However, once you’re approved and a project is looming, you are on the short list.

Asking for More

As your confidence builds working with these clients on project work, you should begin to consider asking these individuals for further assistance.  Of course, the end goal is a full-time job, but along the way, there are other benefits you should consider obtaining:

Additional projects.  Once the project finishes, ask if there might be additional work.  If everything went well, this should be a relatively easy conversation to have.

Showcase your project.  Ask your client if you can add the project to the ‘Projects’ section of your LinkedIn profile, or if the process or results were particularly interesting, ask the client if they wouldn’t mind you creating a case study of the project.  Most media- and IT-related projects, especially when the results are outstanding, become perfect material for a company’s content marketing efforts.

Recommendation.  Ask your client if they would serve as a recommender on your behalf, should you be asked to provide references during an interview process.  Because the project you completed would be recent, the recommendation would be based on very recent work, and highly valuable. 

Referrals.  Beyond additional projects or a recommendation, asking your client for referrals is another option.  Referrals could be for both full-time positions as well as project work, of course, and keep all options open.

A full-time job.  Finally, if you’ve performed stellar work, it is not beyond the scope of your discussion with a client to ask to be considered for a full-time position with their organization.  A full-time position may not be open at the current time, but hopefully they will keep you in mind once an appropriate one does become available.

Staying Relevant

While many view part-time or consulting work a distraction or potential time waster in efforts to land a full-time position, its merits cannot be emphasized more strongly.  

 Indeed, as job search efforts can extend past 90 days or longer, many candidates, when interviewed, are asked, ‘So what have you been doing since you left _____?’

The answer cannot simply be ‘I’ve been job hunting,’ but rather ‘I’ve been consulting with _____’ or ‘I’ve been working on projects related to _____.’  

 This positions you as a professional wishing to stay active in your field, and make the best use of your down time.  Hiring managers will respect you more, and you are staying current in your industry.

 Of course, the best asset is that you are keeping up your networking, which, as has been previously written in this blog, is one of the most important aspects to career and professional development.


(Article Written By Jake Wengroff)





Published by admin at in category Professional Networking with 3 Comments    
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Comment by Salome

this seems to be true and a good one really when you change career and in between jobs.

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Comment by Jane E.

I agree with you. For one, a part-time job can pay the bills and put food on your table while you are looking for a full-time position in your field. For two, having a part-time job can actually help you get a new permanent job as saying that you took a part-time job while being on the job hunt will help you leave a much better impressions of yourself on job interviews. Also, if you have some savings, and don\'t really need a part-time job while being on the job hunt, it might be a good idea to get involved in some charity projects or work for free for non-profit organizations.

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Comment by Matt

As finding a good job can take several months, it would be wise to get a temporary job while seeking for something you could see yourself doing for a longer period of time.

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