The freelancer’s quick job hunting guide – Part 2
In part 1 of this short job hunting series, I said that it’s possible for some freelancers to get tired of chasing clients, fretting over cash flow, and feeling burned out.
While it’s a great way of life for me and many others, freelancing full-time forever just isn’t for everyone.
So you might wake up one morning and decide that it’s time to look for a real job.
No shame in that. As long as you’re not giving up on freelancing too soon, which is the biggest mistake newbies make, my advice is to do what’s best for you.
We’ve already talked about some of the challenges freelancers face when hunting for a job and a few things you can do to lay the groundwork for a job hunt.
Now, as promised, let’s look at a few commonsense tips for how to leverage your freelance expertise, set yourself apart from other job hunters, and land the job you really want.
Start with your clients. You’ve worked with them already. They know your skills and you’ve proven your ability to get the job done.
Simply call your contacts and let them know you’re looking for a full-time position. If your contact doesn’t do the hiring, get an introduction to the person who does.
Network aggressively. After working through your clients, look for other companies in the same niche. These are the people who will appreciate and value your special set of skills.
Don’t just chitchat with people. Don’t hang out on Facebook all day with friends. Networking is about connecting with as many people as possible and working your way to the decision-makers. These are the people who can hire you.
LinkedIn is great for networking efficiently. But you should also try to attend industry meetings, work your phone, and schedule lunch with people who have influence and lots of connections.
Mail some letters. Yes, I mean actual letters. On paper. You know, the kind that you put in an envelope with a stamp and drop in a mailbox.
Too many people rely on email today, which means your messages get lost among the hundreds of other emails that cram a business person’s in-box every day. A real letter stands out and will almost certainly get read.
Send a letter of introduction, your resume, samples of your writing, references, or whatever you think will get the attention of a decision-maker. Use your copywriting skills to break out of the ordinary job application letter format. Be yourself. Be interesting.
Set up meetings. This is the holy grail. You need to get into the same room with people who have hiring power. Even with all the electronic means of connecting today, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting.
Don’t wait for a job to be posted. If you’re networking aggressively, you should set up meetings even when there’s not a job opening. The idea is to color outside the lines and take charge, showing decision-makers that you’re a cut above everyone else.
Sometimes you can set up a “courtesy” meeting where your goal is to ask questions, get advice, and get the names of contacts who might need your talents. You’d be surprised at how helpful many professionals will be if you just ask for their advice.
Show, don’t tell. You can sit in an office all day “talking” about how skilled you are. But you’ll come off like a braggart and put people to sleep. Why not let your samples do the talking?
Bring along all the samples you have and show how you’ve solved problems, increased sales, boosted web traffic, started effective marketing programs, and generally proven your value to clients. Share statistics, results, testimonials, and recommendations. Seeing is believing.
Put skin in the game. If you’ve done any kind of direct response copywriting, you know you have to make an offer to get a response. Right? So if you find yourself talking to someone with hiring authority, make an offer they can’t refuse.
Offer to work without compensation for 3 weeks. Offer to take on part-time work. Offer to do work freelance with the understanding that you could go full-time later on. Be creative. Make a deal.
It’s true that being out of the rat race for a while can work against you. But it’s also true that if you play it right, your freelancing experience can work for you.
Have you been looking for a job? What’s the reaction you get to your months or years of freelancing? Has it worked for you or against you? Any other tips you can share?
- The freelancer’s quick job hunting guide – Part 1
- 5 essential smartphone apps for the organized freelancer
- 11 quick ways to kickstart your slow freelance business
- The Art of Zen Copywriting – Part 1
- The Art of Zen Copywriting – Part 2