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5 Reasons You Should Volunteer to Find a Job

volunteering 5 Reasons You Should Volunteer to Find a Job

If you’re new to the workforce or changing fields, you find it hard to get hired. It seems like there are always people out there more qualified and with more experience than you. And while you could take a job out of your area of interest, you’d rather find another way to get the experience you need so that you’re more hireable to employers.

Consider volunteering.

By giving your time to a company or nonprofit that needs your skills, you reap multiple benefits.

1. You Ramp Up Your Skills

If your resume is still a little thin, volunteering is a great way to enhance your current skills to position yourself as an appealing job candidate. Let’s say you have a degree in public relations. Agencies feel you don’t yet have enough experience to interact with clients, but if you volunteer to do PR for a nonprofit, you get the opportunity to write more, interact with the media, plan events, and represent a brand on social media. That already makes your resume look better.

2. You Get to Meet (the Right) People

While your goal in volunteering shouldn’t be to directly get a job with the company you work for pro bono, it can happen. And even if that company doesn’t need you, the people you impress there might be able to refer you to contacts who are looking to hire.

3. You Learn New Skills

In addition to boosting what you already know, volunteering can introduce you to new tools and skills you didn’t already have. Consider it on-the-job training, without the pay. Maybe you’ve been curious about an email marketing platform, but didn’t want to invest in paying for it just to gain the skill. If you volunteer for a company that uses it, you get the opportunity to learn how to use it and add that skill to your resume.

4. You Can Fill in the Resume Gaps

Hiring managers often raise an eyebrow when there’s a noticeable time gap between jobs. If you’re simply trying to find a job during that gap, volunteering can make it look better. It shows that you’ve been proactive in trying to find a job and better yourself professionally.

5. You Can Feel Good

The altruistic purpose of volunteering shouldn’t be overlooked here. By giving your time, you can help organizations or groups that you feel an affinity for. Volunteering about a cause you are passionate about can help you feel like you’re making a difference.

How to Start Volunteering

Convinced that volunteering will help you find a job? Start by being realistic about the amount of time you can commit. It’s better to under commit to, say, once a week, than to promise you’ll help every day and not be able to do so. And keep room in your schedule to continue the job search, and to go on interviews, as that is still your number one focus.

Some places to get started to find volunteer opportunities in your local region.

 

Idealist.org

Volunteer Match

All for Good

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11 Habits of Highly Effective PR Relationships

puzzle 11 Habits of Highly Effective PR Relationships

This is a post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

It takes more than tactics and knowledge to succeed in public relations. Your career needs more than the ability to land clients in feature coverage in top media outlets. You also have to be a skilled salesperson, able to convince others that your communication strategy is the right way to go.

Think about it:

What good are your pitches if client doesn’t sign off on them so you can send them?

Your brilliant strategies won’t be worth anything if you don’t have “a seat at the table” and the ability to pitch your ideas to management and get them on board.

In other words, your role as a trusted strategic partner will be a bust if you can’t get your client or boss interested in what you have to say.

How do you do that?

Communicate regularly – As Jenny Schmitt tweeted in a recent chat about bringing team members together, “calendars…so simple, so often overlooked.” Do you have a regular, standing meeting to discuss PR updates and ideas? If not, get one on the calendar stat!

Don’t be afraid to mix it up – Call, email, text to get through to your contacts when you need to. Most of us find a preferred method for communicating and stick with that…unless you’re not getting the response you need. Tailor the communication method to the message – really important ideas that are more complex may be best explained in person or over the phone, while straight-forward status updates can be left to email.

Think before you speak – Before you jump into that great idea, think for a minute about what your counsel will sound like on the other end. Put yourself in the recipient’s position and consider how they’re likely to react to what you plan to say.

Ask questions – Open the door whenever possible to discussions that can reveal interesting background stories and help you learn more about the company, your client, their co-workers, their hobbies and interests outside of work. You never know when this information can inform a PR strategy!

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes – You know what it’s like to do your job, but how does your boss perceive your work? What does your manager or client need most from you? What do they do with the updates and status reports you send? If you don’t know the answers to these questions – ask!

Make sure you’re starting on the same page – Do your contacts understand PR? if so, what does PR mean for them? Who did they work with in the past and how has that shaped their understanding of what PR is and what it can do? What type of return do they expect from their PR investment?

Build a relationship – Take the time to get to know your client or boss and make an effort to develop a relationship that goes beyond that of a client and vendor.  This could mean sharing personal information (but not too personal) or it could simply mean getting to know their schedules and their assistants better so that you can get in touch faster and easier when you need to.

Set expectations – Everyone knows that getting buy-in on goals, measurement and timeframes is a PR “must,” but sometimes we get busy, people come and go, and priorities shift. Re-setting can be as easy as checking in again.

Offer counsel – You were hired for your experience and with the expectation that you’d apply that experience to your current job. Offer your perspective and illustrate it with examples of situations (your own or famous case studies) to make your point or underscore your recommendations.

Listen – Chances are you’ll work with non-communications professionals at some point in your career. If they’re not good at communicating their needs, you’ll have to listen for cues. Repeat what you hear, draw out deliverables and discuss them.

Be clear when budgets are concerned – It may feel awkward to bring up the question of budget, but it’s much worse to have to talk about surprises when dollars are concerned.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on LindsayOlson.com. You can find her at www.kprcommunications.com. Learn more about Alison Kenney.

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10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your Resume

Resume Mistakes 583x332 10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your ResumeWhen it comes to creating your resume, there are some obvious no-nos you should avoid, like naming your resume, well, “resume.” Here are more things that will turn off an employer, and that you should avoid doing at all costs.

1. Your 1-Month Stint at an Ice Cream Shop

When you’re a new grad, it’s hard to know what to put on your resume, simply because you don’t have a long work history. But as you gain experience, start moving those unrelated summer jobs off of your resume, especially if they were extremely short. Also: if you worked in a professional job for a month or two, it’s probably better to leave it off, or hiring managers will question why you couldn’t stay at the job longer.

2. Annoying Buzzwords

Let me guess: you’re highly organized, a people person, and a multi-tasker. These are filler words on a resume, and employers are sick of seeing them. Really consider the best words to describe what you do. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.

3. All Your Extra-Curricular Activities

When you’re first taught to create a resume in high school or college, you’re encouraged to put all your extracurricular activities down, like cheerleading or rock climbing. While I don’t think hobbies necessarily kill a resume and can paint a better overall picture of the candidate, I do think they can take up valuable real estate if it doesn’t tie in somehow to your career or demonstrate characteristics important for the position.

4. Over-Personal Information

Proud as you may be to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, or of your church or political party, your resume isn’t the place for it.

5. Your Date of Birth

In the United States, employers are skittish about topics they can’t broach with you (age, race, marital status, etc.), so keep your date to yourself. Let your experience speak for itself, not the age.

6. Why You Were Fired

If you were let go in a previous role, your resume isn’t the place to discuss it. Actually, you should probably not bring it up at all in an introduction if you were fired. Let the employer guide that discussion if you’re invited in for an interview.

7. A Headshot

You don’t really want to be judged based on how you look if you’re trying to get a job based on merit, so nix on the photo. Even though these days it is pretty easy to see a photo on any professional or personal social network, it’s not a widely accepted practice to include a headshot on your traditional resume in the United States.

8. Every Responsibility You Had at Every Job

Your resume is supposed to show a few of the key responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Choose three to five that you think are the most noteworthy and relevant to the job, tying them into your major achievements.

9. The Cute Font

As cute as Comic Sans is as a font, it doesn’t belong on your resume. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to a font type that’s easy to read. It doesn’t need to be Times New Roman or Arial. Play with Calibri, Book Antiqua, Century, Garamond, or Georgia.

10. Unprofessional Email Address

Email addresses are free. Get an email with your name. Luvbunny_22@hotmail.com isn’t going to cut it. Obvious, right? I still get emails like this from applicants. The same goes for shared couple/family email addresses. Get your own email address for the job search. It’s a small investment of your time and you can always auto-forward responses to your most frequently used email if necessary.

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Why Handwritten Thank You Notes Beat Email

thank you Why Handwritten Thank You Notes Beat Email

The art of writing a thoughtful thank you note is nearly extinct, but that’s not how it should be. Call me old school. And for the record, I feel the same about the “resumes are dead” argument, because guess what? Every single company I have recruited for always asks for one. The only exception has been when the candidate and the hiring manager already know each other. It’s a fun discussion, but in reality, most companies expect you to have one.

Okay, back to thank you notes.

While it’s certainly easier to send a quick email to thank an employer for inviting you for an interview, there are a myriad of reasons why it’s better to send a handwritten note.

1. Not Everyone Sends One

Many other job candidates won’t go to the trouble to send a handwritten thank you card, and that’s reason enough to send one. You want to stand out as the best candidate, and doing something unique like this goes in your favor.

2. It Puts You on the Hiring Manager’s Desk

More than likely, the person who interviewed you won’t throw away your card, at least not right away. Instead, it will sit on her desk, serving as a reminder of the thoughtful sender and potential hire. She’ll forget about the other candidates she was considering!

3. It Shows You’re Serious

Not everyone who comes in for an interview gives off the vibe that they’re completely dedicated to working for the company that interviews them. By taking the time to write a thoughtful note, you’re showing your interest in the position and proving that you’re serious about getting the job.

4. It Gives You the Chance to Connect on a Personal Level

If you can tie your note to something you learned in an interview, it’s even better. Here is a quick story: My candidate goes to the interview and notices in the HR managers office a few references to Paris. Come to find out, she loves Paris. Candidate goes out and finds a postcard of something in Paris to add to her mini-collection. What do you think the first thing I heard when I got the feedback on the interview? Yep, the postcard.

5. Everyone Likes Mail

Because we do so much of our communicating via email, getting a nice card in the mail is an unexpected delight. The recipient will be happy to get it, and it will stand out against the pile of junk mail she’s used to receiving.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Email

While there’s nothing specifically wrong with sending an email thank you and certainly a vast majority of people send an email, it lacks the thoughtfulness and the personal aspect of a handwritten note. Add to that the fact that HR managers and hiring managers are often swamped with email, and your email might not even get read or make it to her inbox.

While 62% of hiring managers get email thank you notes the most, that’s no reason to rely on what’s expected. Email feels too easy to some, and people like to feel like you put forth some effort. Above all, stay classy. In an Accountemps survey, text messaging has started to show up on the list of methods that hiring managers are getting thank yous, as has social media. But only 10% of hiring managers and 27% respectively think these are acceptable channels to use.

Sending a Thank You Note

Always use quality stationery or notecards when sending your thank you note. You can buy “thank you” cards or ones with an appealing image on them. Invest in a nice pen, and use your best handwriting.

The note doesn’t have to be long. Just thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to speak with her, and reiterate your interest in the role and look for any opportunity to inject a bit of personality or personal connection. You may say something similar for each note you write, but make sure you’re not overly generic, as you want the recipient to feel that you thought out what you wrote to her.

Send your card the same day as the interview if you can. You want to be fresh on the hiring manager’s mind when she makes her final decision. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss out in case she makes her decision quickly.

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Are You a Good Fit for Your Job?

What is Good.Co? from Good Co on Vimeo.

Workplace culture is an important factor when considering a job change. Recruiters hear it constantly when sending in a candidate who looks great on paper and the interview feedback is simply “great experience, but gut instinct says he’s not the one”. That’s the classic case of the poor culture fit feedback. Studies have shown that bad culture fit is one of the main reasons new hires fail within the first 18 months on the job, it will cost a company an average of $50k each. Moreover, two out of three Americans are disengaged at work, costing billions in lost productivity.

Now, thanks to a new social network and self-discovery platform, Good.co, you can find out in just 15 questions your professional and personal personality traits and see if they match up with a potential employer’s profile.

Not Another Boring Personality Test!

The questions aren’t your run of the mill boring aptitude questions. You’ll be asked if you’re more like Justin Timberlake or Eminem or if you would rather be a character on Friends or Survivor.

Not what you expected, right? And yet these 15 little questions help the intelligent software determine your traits in your professional life, which can provide you with valuable insight into how you work with others.

And speaking of the software, it’s pretty sophisticated. The website says it uses 20 years of psychometrics research, as well as “high-velocity statistical models and the ultimate crowd-sourced culture graph.”

Once you get your Archetype (and you may be a combination of more than one), you can connect to your LinkedIn profile to see how good a fit you are for your current (or past) position.

How to Use Good.co

Good.co has about 400 company profiles and growing. You can use it to see how compatible you are with certain companies. It’s also very interesting to check how compatible you are with your colleagues. Looking through my personality assessment, I found myself nodding in agreement with most of what it said. My results revealed I am ⅓ straight shooter,  ⅓ mastermind, and ⅓ strategist. Then I compared myself to my business partner, which interestingly showed we pretty much get along, but have some areas of conflict. And we do… as I’m sure she would agree. Knowing how compatible/incompatible we are can help of smooth out those rough patches and be more understanding of each other.

Good.co is currently in Beta. If you are interested in signing up and taking a look at your profile, you can use this code: goodcolindsay

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Will Email Pitches Become Obsolete?

not on email Will Email Pitches Become Obsolete?

This is a post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

David Gerzof Richard created some buzz last month when he spoke with several media outlets, including Fox, NPR and the Boston Globe, about the decreasing interest in email as a communication tool.

People gave multiple reasons for steering away from email: it’s full of spam, they favor real-time communications, younger people think it’s old-fashioned, it’s “one-to-one” in a time of “one-to-many” communication.

The discussions made me wonder what this means for PR professionals. As younger generations enter the PR workplace will they change the way we pitch and communicate? Will their preference for short, immediate communications – such as texting and tweeting – force us to accommodate those styles?

On the one hand, I can see it. We’ve witnessed the demise of pitching via fax (some readers may never have sent a pitch via fax in the first place) and one could argue that pitching via phone has become taboo. It’s become almost impossible to find a publicly listed phone number for some members of the media. Is email the next likely candidate for extinction?

When Vocus asked media for tips on pitching them , at least one writer suggested avoiding email. Freelance journalist Pam Baker responded, “My tip is to pitch me via Twitter or G+ and wait for invite to email me more. That way, pitch doesn’t get lost in email swamp.”

Freelance writer Menachem Wecker makes the point even clearer. In this Vocus article on reporter’s pet peeves about PR pitches, he says, If someone ever tracks down a reporter who prefers phone pitches to emails, it’d be worth creating a low-budget film documenting that person’s biography. (Perhaps she or he is based in a very small town somewhere, with poor Internet access? Or in a different century?) I happen to prefer Twitter, Google+, or Facebook pitches to email ones (my social media ‘boxes’ are less clogged than my email), and I never understand why spokespeople in training are taught it’s a good idea to send an email pitch and then follow up by phone immediately thereafter.”

On the other hand, the pragmatist in me feels that while email may be becoming obsolete for personal communications, it still plays an important role in business communication. Others have also made the case for email as a business communication vehicle citing its ability to convey and document complex thoughts, lists, action items, etc.

A few email alternatives have sprung up in the business world. As the Boston Globe reports, “the new generation of networking tools from IBM, Salesforce.com Inc., Yammer, and others (like @prsaraevans’ Tracky), go way beyond basic communication. They are, in essence, virtual workplaces that combine the functionality of multiple programs, from e-mail to logistics to content production. In these closed networks, employees can share files, show work in progress, and have personal and group conversations or communications using text, pictures, or live video, without switching back and forth among multiple programs. If users still can’t do without traditional e-mail, those programs can pipe in outside services such as Gmail.” In the PR world,  PitchEngine devotees swear by the power of this next generation press release distribution tool.

What do you think? Is pitching via email about to become extinct?

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on LindsayOlson.com. You can find her at www.kprcommunications.com. Learn more about Alison Kenney.

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How to Be a Better Networker

7496765660 c8476ecf26 How to Be a Better Networker
If you’ve applied for every job in town with no luck and are now ready to find other ways to get the job you want, try networking. It’s the best way to tap into the “other” job market. Some experts say 70-80% of available open positions aren’t posted online. I’d agree that a majority of positions aren’t posted or easily found. You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you are ONLY looking at the job boards.

By attending events in your area, you can meet key decision makers and contacts that may be able to help you find your next job.

Here are 10 tips to help you get more out of your in-person networking.

1. Find Groups That Target Your Industry

If you want to work in PR for entertainment, as an example, visit Meetup.com and see if there are any groups or organizations that cater to this niche. If not, aim for a public relations organization like PRSA, which might have local chapters in your city. By connecting with people in the industry you work in or plan to work in, you can find out what’s happening in the field and what companies are actively looking to hire people with your skillset.

2. Have Your Elevator Speech Ready

When you meet someone new, you don’t want to stumble over what you say when they ask about you. You want to talk about your current role, and maybe briefly mention that you’re interested in finding a career in X area/Y industry. Keep it short and leave room for people you meet to ask questions.

3. Speaking of Questions… Ask lots of them yourself. People like talking about themselves, and this is a great way to get them to open up about hiring. While it shouldn’t be your agenda to aggressively approach a new contact about hiring you, asking casual questions like “what does your company have planned for next year?” can open the door to you getting a little insight into what might turn into a job opportunity down the road.

4. Take Notes

Ask for business cards of anyone you find to be a valuable contact (just don’t be that collector who goes around the room with nothing to offer!). If you can step away from the event, make quick notes on each card so that you remember who you met and maybe something you should follow up on. This will help you keep from letting good opportunities slip through the cracks.

5. Don’t Be a Wallflower

So many people feel awkward their first time at a networking event. That should help you realize you’re not alone in wanting to nurse your ice water along the wall and blend in with the plants. But fake it until it’s easier. After all, you came to the event to make new contacts, so make yourself walk up to someone who maybe looks as nervous as you do. It gets easier.

6. Don’t Self Promote

Yes, you want a job. But chances are, no one is going to interview you on the spot for one. That’s not your purpose. Instead, aim to meet a variety of people, and follow up later to grow the relationships. You should aim to make new contacts that could, down the road, develop into an opportunity for a career move.

7. Pay Attention

Once you attend a few industry events, you’ll begin to see the same people. Remember who you meet, and make an effort to recall something you spoke about at the previous meeting. This will impress your new contacts and help them remember you.

8. Bring Business Cards

Seems straightforward enough, but many people end up forgetting their cards and waste a great opportunity to connect. But don’t machine gun spray the room with your cards; focus on making quality connections.

9. Pick a Few Events

It can be tempting to attend a different networking event each night, once you get the hang of it. But you’re better off focusing on a couple groups that you can really commit to and start building relationships in. 10. Master the Followup After the event, make sure you reach out quickly. And please, don’t just automatically subscribe your new contacts to your automated email newsletter! Send a personal follow-up reminding each person where you met and why you want to stay in contact – and then keep in touch.

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Not Another Sad Desk Lunch

desk lunch440 Not Another Sad Desk Lunch

Are you reading this at your desk during your lunch break? According to PR Daily’s Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey, more than 70 percent of PR pros eat lunch at their desk. Hopefully, you’re not also subject to one of these sad desk lunches!

Most of us understand that it’s important to take a break during the day – for physical and mental health, as well as to keep your mind fresh and creative. For instance, this Wall Street Journal column on sparking creativity tells us to, “build time for mind wandering into daily routines, breaking away from tasks requiring concentration to take a walk or run, look out a window or do some relaxing, routine physical task.”

And since lunchtime occurs around the middle of the work day, many of us attempt to combine feeding with rejuvenating ourselves at the same time. To start, Harvard Business Review recommends scheduling a formal break for yourself.

Once you’ve booked the time, consider these ideas for getting away from your desk at the lunch hour (at least occasionally):

Getting outside:

  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Watching the clouds
  • Going to a farmer’s market
  • Visiting a body of water
  • Go for a drive
  • Take the subway/bus to another neighborhood

Refocusing:

Shifting focus:

  • Calling a friend
  • Knocking personal errands or tasks off your to-do list
  • Planning dinner

Switching gears:

  • Listening to music
  • Viewing some art
  • Practicing an instrument
  • Knitting
  • Drawing or painting
  • Reading (something that’s not work-related)
  • Surfing the web
  • Going online shopping
  • Squeezing in exercise:
  • Going for a run or walk
  • Dancing
  • Taking an exercise class
  • Jumping on the treadmill
  • Walking the dog

Can’t afford to completely turn off the work flow? Try:

  • Visiting a client
  • Eating out with colleagues
  • Having a working lunch away from your desk or office
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Spring Cleaning: Time to Spruce up That Resume

5414223589 cfc47b1ab5 Spring Cleaning: Time to Spruce up That Resume

For whatever reason, come spring, we’re ready to get to cleaning: our closets, our desks, even our refrigerators. But have you given thought to your resume? Even if you’re not actively job hunting, giving it a good airing out and making sure it’s updated to your latest job experience is always beneficial.

How Long Has it Been?

Most of us only update our resumes when we’re looking for a job. And while generally, that’s fine, there are other reasons to consider keeping your resume updated year ‘round. For one, many employers are looking at LinkedIn as the version of your resume, and people are constantly searching the site to find professionals that fill a niche. Even if you don’t think you want a new job, if the right offer came in, you might consider it. And if you haven’t added the last three promotions you’ve received, or consequent skills you’ve gained, you can’t be considered for opportunities those would make you eligible for.

Another reason you should update your resume: nothing is certain. Life changes, business change. In either scenario, you don’t want to have to add updating your resume to the list of tasks you’ll have in finding your next job.

Read It With a Fresh Eye

If it’s been awhile since you looked at your resume, read it out loud and consider whether each section accurately portrays your current experience. Probably your past work experience can stay as-is, though you might find better verbiage for some of it. But make sure your current role is properly depicted on your resume. Have you added other skills, or taken on new responsibilities since you last updated it? What have you accomplished in this past year you are particularly proud of?

Also consider whether the resume as a whole still portrays the professional you want to be. If you’ve suddenly shown interest in a new field or role, your resume should highlight all experiences that would make you a better fit for transitioning in that direction.

Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile Too

It’s easiest to start by editing your resume, then move on to LinkedIn, as much can be copied and pasted. But also look at adding keywords that relate to the work you do, or the industry you’re in. You can change your “headline” on LinkedIn, so zero in on what type of work you want in the future.

Ask for endorsements for the skills you think are your strength, and more importantly, testimonials from people you’ve worked with. If you’ve joined any professional organizations, given any presentations, or otherwise gone over and above in your job, make sure you find a place for these accolades and events on your profile. Also consider joining professional groups on LinkedIn to network with others in your current field or profession, or one you aspire to join.

Create an annual — or even quarterly — task on your calendar to remind yourself to refresh your resume and LinkedIn, to ensure you’re always up-to-date.

Photo credit: Davidyuweb
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Now is a Great Time to Freelance in Marketing

Freelancer 300x300 Now is a Great Time to Freelance in Marketing

If you want to dip your toes in the marketing world, but aren’t ready (or aren’t hireable enough)  full-time job, give freelancing a try. Apparently it’s a good time to do so.

Every quarter and year, Elance looks at which industries are hiring freelancers. Looking at last year’s data, marketing grew in leaps and bounds in specific niches:

  • Digital marketing
  • Social media
  • Content writing
  • Blog writing
  • Web design
  • Graphic design

Local Economies No Longer an Issue

One hypothesis on why earnings have increased so drastically (just digital marketing saw a 190% increase year-on-year) is that geography is no longer a barrier to finding good talent. So if an employer runs an office out of Church Point, Louisiana (population 4,575), he can find talent anywhere in the world. That opens up the possibility to finding better talent. What that means for you as that talent is that you aren’t limited to finding a job within commuting distance.

The report showed that Rhode Island, whose unemployment rate is 10.2% showed an 89% increase in earnings for marketing freelancers. So in addition to removing geographic barriers, the freelancing industry is helping alleviate a bit of that unemployment rate to boot!

More Marketing, More Jobs

While a few years ago, companies of every size held back on social media and blogging as part of their marketing strategy, they’re embracing them like crazy now. And that means that they need more bloggers, social media strategists and overall Internet marketing experts. But that doesn’t always mean they want to hire full-time roles. Often this work can be done part-time externally, which saves the company on benefits, salaries and overhead.

If you’re smart about it, you can piece together a decent living through freelancing. Find a few clients who need content marketing, design work or social media execution — all of which tend to be ongoing work — and you’ve got yourself a paycheck!

How to Start Freelancing in Marketing

Step 1: Search for Gigs. If you’ve got some experience in marketing, you can start looking for projects on sites like Elance, as well as Guru.com and others. Beef up your profile as much as possible: add samples of your work to your portfolio so potential clients can see what you’ve done.

These sites let you search categories for projects. Some will be one-time projects, while others may need someone long-term. Make sure you have the skills the project requires, and send a well-crafted application letter, targeting the key points you feel make you qualified. If you’ve worked on similar projects, make sure to say so, as many employers would be more comfortable with someone who has worked in their industry before.

Step 2: Get a Website and Blog. Build a simple website that also highlights your work, outlines your services, and provides contact information. It’s wise to start a blog and write about the areas you want work in. The more you demonstrate your expertise, the easier it is for potential employers to trust in your skills and hire you.

Step 3: Network. Reach out to companies in your area — especially smaller ones that might not have in-house marketing and let them know the services you offer. Also connect with marketing agencies, as often they have more work than they can handle and need extra help.

It may take a while, but you’ll find that once you get a few projects under your belt, you’ll have some experience to back you up and it will because easier to close a new project.

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