Working as an independent contractor gives freelance workers the flexibility to set their schedules, find their own jobs, and work at their own pace. For many self-starting individuals, this sounds like the perfect kind of work-life balance! The ability to pursue your own projects, in many ways, is a great way to stick to doing what you love. However, finding job opportunities that keep a steady flow of income can be difficult for most.
One struggle of working as an independent contractor is getting the job. Landing the projects at companies and businesses that offer adequate pay at a steady rate can sometimes be challenging, and many freelancers in search of work find it difficult to get gigs that will provide them financial stability, or find new places to work once their previous contract ends.
However, these five tips for succeeding in your interview for your next IC job might do the trick. Check out how you can make yourself and your work experience stand out, and start landing more jobs today.
1. Make Sure You’re As Qualified For The Job As Possible
Going into a job interview for an independent contractor or freelance role can many times be daunting because you never know what kind of experience your fellow job applicants may have.
When you have a background of multiple jobs and complete projected experience, your skillset is already more diverse and valuable than the candidate who has worked in the same position at one company for the last ten years.
One thing you can do to ensure that your independent contracting skills are reliable and trustworthy is to get certified as a licensed contractor.
Across the US, courses, exam prep, and educational material on how to navigate the job search as an independent contractor at organizations like Rocketcert, for example, can help your resume stand out. This will show your future employer that you’re committed to finding and fulfilling independent projects as well as ensure that you’re serious about working in a position with the kind of workplace freedom that freelance roles can give.
2. Build a Credible Online Presence
When it comes to finding work as an independent contractor, companies and employers like to understand your work ethic, your mission, and discover what your experience entails. Now that many jobs are being done remotely due to quarantine and staying at home, many employers are seeking new candidates online. Rather than simply viewing a resume, however, they also tend to search for the web presence of potential hires.
For people who often work in freelancing roles, such as writers, photographers, or artists, having an online portfolio or personal website is a great way to show off your past work and completed projects. The rise of social media also compels many workplaces to view social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to ensure you really are who you say you are.
To enhance your chances of landing your next job, be sure to spend some time ensuring that your online presence is a good reflection of you and your work as an independent contractor.
3. Be Knowledgeable About The IC Laws In Your Location
Unfortunately, working as an independent contractor in some states across the US can be limited. For example, the AB5 law passed in California at the start of 2020 limits gig workers to take no more than 35 projects a year. When going in for new job interviews, it’s important that you know about the laws that will limit or even protect you as a freelance worker in the state or location you plan to work in.
Having this type of discussion with your interviewer or future employer will not only help you to know if you are limited in working for their company, (and if you need to find new work after your time with them is completed) but it will also demonstrate to them that you are someone who thinks ahead and values preparedness.
It also shows that you are knowledgeable about workplace practices and serious about working independently.
4. Talk About Your Experience In Finding Work For Yourself
If you’ve already made it to the interview stage in the hiring process, it’s more than likely that the hiring manager and interviewer have looked at your resume and decided you have the potential to do the job they are looking to hire someone for.
This means that they already have an overall view of the kind of independent contractor jobs you’ve done in the past. One thing that many freelance workers forget to mention in an interview is their experience in finding the jobs and gigs that they’ve fulfilled in the past.
While most workplaces love to hear about your experience in different positions and how your skill sets are relevant to the role, it can also be beneficial to talk about your experience in discovering the positions you’ve held.
What makes you stand out as an independent contractor from other candidates is that you make finding jobs, a job within itself. If you mentioned that you send cold emails to hiring managers, you use social media to find open job opportunities, or if you connect in-person with your community to find gigs for yourself, this tells your interviewer that you’re dedicated, committed, and experienced in doing research, having open communication, and successful in your previous job searches.
Speaking about this experience is something many independent contractors forget to highlight about themselves and will help make your conversation memorable.
5. Present Yourself In A Positive Light
Working as a freelancer or independent contractor can be more work than it needs to be, however, constantly being on the lookout for new jobs and roles to fill shows your determination, which is a unique thing to have in a potential hire.
When it comes to being interviewed, more than anything, you want to present yourself in a positive light. Talk about the work that you are proud of. Don’t forget to mention what brings you joy about pursuing the jobs that you want.
There is a reason you’ve gone into independent contracting and not taken a 9-to-5 job. Tell them why… Your job search has already brought you a long way, and highlighting your experience by talking about what you’ve learned and taken away from your previous projects will get employers to trust you. Once you establish this connection to passion in your work, your previous job experience will speak for itself.
Now that jobs have become harder to find, it’s no question that everyone going into job interviews wants the same thing – to land the job. However, as an independent contractor, you’ll have at least one thing that will stand out: You are unique in the fact that you know how to market yourself to multiple people, businesses, and companies to get the job you want.
More than that, you complete the jobs you take. Remember to highlight your skills and the unique experience you have as a freelancer, and you’ll make your next interview one they won’t forget.
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.