Freelance is the real deal

Last week I went on an interview for a potential freelance writing gig working for a large organization in Manhattan. I must say, I was impressed with the whole process. I wound up meeting with 3 different executives during an interview that lasted 90 minutes.

The experience reminded me a lot of job interviews I’ve had for staff positions. For anyone who thinks that freelance status pales in comparison to full-time work, think again. Employers take the role very seriously.

As a freelance employee, you’re required to learn and take on the voice of prominent companies. You need to learn their brand, their mission and their values. What are they all about?

If you’re a staff member, you live the brand every day through regular internal communication. Freelancers enter an organization to work on short-term projects with the hope that they will turn into long-term ones.

That’s why my freelance tip of the day is GET TO KNOW THE COMPANY YOU’RE TRYING TO FREELANCE WITH.

A seasoned freelancer will know this but many people don’t. They think relying on their resume and skills alone is enough. In reality, you need to do your homework. When it does come to your skills, you need to be able to specifically apply them to the role you’ll be filling. For example, if you’re a writer like me, you need to make sure your skills are a fit for the particular communications channel (and industry) the employer has in mind.

Another helpful hint: the more show and tell you bring to an interview, the better. A resume is all well and good but interviewers appreciate if they have something they can take away from the interview. In my case, it was several writing samples I printed off the web. Sure you can send people links but there’s nothing like holding someone’s writing in your hand. You’re leaving a little piece of yourself behind.

As freelancers, it’s important to keep in mind that we have what many bosses don’t have enough of: time. We can offer them a respite from endless multi-tasking and overflowing calendars. And working on a project basis makes us more affordable than salaried employees with benefits, not to mention paying overtime.

Freelancers are an attractive part of the work force, now more than ever!


Stay social, freelancers

As freelancers, we all tend to get caught up in the projects we’re working on. We want to focus solely on the work at hand and keep our clients happy so they keep coming back for more.

The danger of that, however, is not keeping up with your online profiles. No matter how busy you are, you should always take time out to visit important social media sites. If you’re working on a noteworthy project or if you’re freelancing for a new company, tell people about it!

I did just that this week, updating my LinkedIn profile to reflect my current freelance writing work at Marketing Works, a New York area PR/Marketing firm. Once I did that, I received several kudos from my LinkedIn connections, and best of all, I came up with new leads for additional freelance work. Even the slightest tweak to your profile will get noticed fast.

And while you’re at it, take a quick Facebook or Twitter break to schmooze with old contacts because you never know when they’ll become a new source of potential work. Twitter even has hashtags #jobs or #freelancer #jobs which can be useful as well. LinkedIn has frequent job listings also, and after updating its mobile app, the postings are much more handy and accessible.

In short, stay visible at all times. Think bigger picture and there’s a great chance you’ll line up your next freelance gig!