Are you part of the collective groan that rolls across the land every time someone mentions the word networking as the key to a successful job search?
If so, gig work might be the perfect substitute for you.
Gig Work — the New Networking
If you’re unemployed and don’t like to network, don’t worry, you can access the hidden employment market via part-time jobs and temporary positions. You know — gig work.
Before you shake your head, know that a late 2019 study found that 29% of American adults participate in the gig economy.
I haven’t found any good numbers for 2020 or 2021 yet, but I’m sure the percentage trended up because of COVID.
Potential Downside of Temporary & Consulting Work
Let’s get the downside out of the way first. If you take several temporary gigs and string them together on your resume, you might look unemployable.
However, I’ve got you covered. You can see how to avoid that on the first job shown on this sample resume.
The Upside of Gig Work
Taking a temporary job with a company you want to work for is way better than interviewing.
Gigs turn into auditions that let you demonstrate your abilities and personality to managers, co-workers, and sources of referrals within the company.
When you do good work, short-term, freelance jobs often turn into offers for long-term, permanent employment.
Beyond that, in many cases, gig work lets you enjoy flexible hours and more work-life balance than you find in regular jobs. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Strategy for Turning Gig Work Into Job Offers
So, how do you make this work for you?
- Look for temporary gigs in organizations where you want to work.
- Once you’re inside, get to know people and climb the learning curve quickly.
- Find out what constitutes “a good job” and do it.
- Evaluate the company while you work there.
- When you know you like the company, share your interest in a “real job.”
- Finally, ask your contacts how to find openings and to recommend you.
Find Jobs Before They’re Posted
Use your entree as an independent contractor to make yourself an attractive candidate for openings. Whether you’re covering for an absence or working on a specific project, perform.
If you do, when the company needs to hire, there’s a good chance they will choose you without even publicizing the job.
Dubious? I have received 4 job offers via this route.
One of my resume clients is in the process of negotiating an offer from a consulting client.
You can turn the gig economy to your advantage too.
As you can see, when you take a temporary or consulting assignment with a targeted employer, you move yourself to the front of the line in the hidden job market — and you don’t have to network!
Updated January 2021
© 2010 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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