There are 57 million Americans who earn a living as freelance workers. Technology makes freelancing easier, and there is varied work available to people who are either looking to build a full-time career or simply earn some extra spending money.
If you’re looking to advance your career in 2019, but need to build up a portfolio, expand your network or even get your own business off the ground, freelancing is a great way to get started.
What Kind of Work Is Out There?
There are opportunities for freelance and contract work in nearly every sector. It’s often easier and cheaper for companies—especially small businesses—to hire a short-term freelancer than to hire a full-time employee who needs benefits. From marketing to writing to web design, you probably have a set of skills that are in demand for a small business locally, or for a larger company who has an ad up on the web for just such a freelancer.
A skill you’ve never even used professionally could become a freelance job. Have a nice voice and maybe some high school theater experience? Popular freelancing site UpWork reports that voiceover work is one of the most in-demand freelance skills.
Perhaps your coworkers are always asking you to proofread letters, presentations, or reports even though doing so is nowhere in your job description. Start scouring the web for freelance proofreading and editing opportunities—there are plenty out there.
If you’re interested in learning more about a specific skill, put what you’re learning to use by earning a little bit of money on the side while you build up a portfolio. For example, earn a social media certificate from HubSpot, then look around for a local business who needs help with their Facebook or Instagram page. You’ll have learned a skill, put it into practice, and have tangible evidence either for gaining more clients on your own or for applying to that job you’ve had your eye on in the marketing department of a large company.
Will My Current Employer Be Mad About Freelancing? Couldn’t It Actually Hurt My Career?
In 2019, it likely won’t come as a surprise to any employer that one of their employees is picking up some work on the side. You probably aren’t the only one in your office taking on a side gig, either. However, even though a side gig or freelance work is very common nowadays, you still need to be sure that you are not violating your contract by picking up extra work, or taking on work for direct competitors that could compromise you professionally. And, of course, you need to be sure that your side gig is not impacting your day job at all. Keep them separate, and be aware of how much side work you can take on before your day job begins to suffer.
There are ways to both have a side gig and advance your career within your company. One way to do so is to find a gig as an expert blogger. If you work in finance, there is probably a site out there willing to pay for your insights and to give the company you currently work for a plug in your bio. Look at publications within your industry, and see how you can contribute to them as a writer. Doing so won’t just advance your company, though, it will establish you as an authority in your field, giving you a platform from which to advance your career.
If you’re honing your social media or web design skills as you work on freelance projects, your employer may be happy to find out you have these skills and offer you a new title or a bump in pay to take on added responsibility in that arena.
Could 2019 Be the Year You Go Out on Your Own Full Time?
Perhaps you’re not looking to advance your career, just to stay within your current company or to keep climbing the corporate ladder and running the rat race. Many people in 2019 are looking for careers with more freedom and careers that are more directly tied to what makes them happy. However, for many people it simply isn’t financially feasible to quit their day job and start living off of short-term contracts alone. I know—I’m one of the people who advanced my career through freelancing.
I was working as an HR Manager, but wanted a way out of the corporate lifestyle. I started helping people with their resumes and cover letters, working on the weekends, late at night, and early in the morning to get my side work done.
I can hear you saying now, “But I don’t want to work two jobs forever just to advance my career. What’s the point of that?” Well, I won’t lie to you—it’s not easy to freelance and hold down a full-time job, but in 2019 with freelance job search sites and Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, it’s easier than ever. I can also tell you, if advancing your career to the point where you’re your own boss is your goal, you can get there. It only took me 18 months to grow Great Resumes Fast from a side gig to a full-time business. That was ten years ago, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made for my career and for my long-term happiness. Yes, those 18 months of juggling freelance work with a full-time job were tough, but it certainly paid off.
As you consider freelancing to advance your career, think about the benefits and how it can get you to a happier place in your career. It’s a lot of work initially, but so is sitting at a desk feeling frustrated or bored day after day.
Use freelancing to advance your career in 2019. Whether you’re working on a particular skill, trying to build up a network, establish yourself as an authority in your field, or looking to become a business owner yourself, once you start looking you will find there are opportunities out there that will help you advance your career.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never breakthrough the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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