Posts Tagged ‘freelance’
However exhausted we are of a turbulent economy, there are many new opportunities for freelancers, and as usual Chicago is a hub of activity. Freelance agencies in the city like Artisan are currently offering expanded opportunities.
As a direct result of the recession and our new fiscal environment, people should also realize that along with more design jobs in Chicago, there will also be additional competition. During the bleak recession, many talented professionals were downsized from their full-time jobs.
Numerous skilled professionals chose to begin Chicago freelancing careers as solopreneurs. While it’s true many decided to work alone not because of a strong entrepreneurial spirit but simply to maintain some cash flow, it appears that a significant number of these new independent workers found that they liked the environment.
Premier freelance companies offer resources to help these newer freelancers reinvent themselves. Moving from a corporate to an entrepreneur mentality manifests various challenges to newcomers. These recruitment firms, informative blogs, news updates and valuable links can all assist those moving from salaried to Chicago freelancing careers.
For example, former full-time graphic and web designers may be unsure of how to prepare an effective freelance resume, set up a simple business bookkeeping system or use their own websites and social media to market themselves. Another area of common concern involves the pros and cons of freelancing. While someone may lose those precious three-week paid vacations, he or she also need not miss achild’s little league or softball games in the future.
Reinvention often takes time and effort to become comfortable. However, the expanding job market in Chicago is a cash flow resource not to be overlooked. Newer freelancers must learn how to market themselves properly to take advantage of these exciting opportunities. Top freelance recruiters can help keep the process as painless as possible.
In order to be a successful freelance marketer, there are a few skills that you need to compete for jobs in the digital age. These are ones that many claim to have, but few can really say they are experts in these areas. By working on these skills and becoming confident in them, you will expand your professional horizons.
- Search Engine Marketing: Getting your client found by search engines is one aspect of search engine marketing, but it isn’t just that simple. You will need to know how to get your client’s website found by visitors as well. Using on-site and off-site search engine optimization techniques, content marketing, link building and pay-per-click strategies will effectively boost your client’s presence on search engine results pages.
- Landing Page Design: Landing pages are usually the first page that a visitor sees when they arrive at a website. This is different than the home page because the landing page is optimized to get people to act. Knowing how to design landing pages to entice visitors to make a purchase, sign up for a service, opt in to receive email or do anything else that helps your client is all part of a good marketing package.
- Copywriting: Content is one of the most important aspects in both traditional print marketing and digital marketing. So the ability to write across both platofrms can really boost the demand for your skills.
Sometimes the soft skills are just as important as the hard in freelance marketing, and these three assets can increase your opportunities. Whether it be a freelance marketing director, manager or copywriter, you will be able to step up and help drive the project and the results in a positive direction for you and your company.
Update: It has been brought to our attention that some information in this post is misleading or outdated and we are working on correcting it. Artisan encourages dialogue and constructive criticism to provide the most helpful content to its readers. Additional comments are welcomed.
Any web designer’s directory is going to be filled with web coders who have a wide range of skills. In order to find work and remain competitive, freelance developers need to stay on top of current technologies and be sure to have a skill set that contains the most sought after coding languages on the web.
If you are making the move from a firm or you are simply starting out as a freelance developer then you need to have a working knowledge of as many of the following languages as possible.
- Python – Python is interchangeable with PHP in the LAMP stack and many websites are built on this language.
- Ruby on Rails – While Ruby may not be the most popular of all languages it certainly has a following and can build great sites. Think Twitter when you think of Ruby on Rails.
- Objective C – Anyone looking to design real iPhone apps needs to learn Objective C.
- PHP – PHP developers are all over the place because so many websites rely on PHP. Think Joomla!, Drupal, MediaWiki and WordPress and you can see some of the more popular web applications that are built with this language.
Of course while you want to have a familiarity with as many of these languages as possible, it is important that you specialize in at least one. This language should be the one that you work with primarily so that you can display your expertise in your portfolio and attract more clients.
Don’t listen to the reports questioning whether the print industry is dead or alive. While digital alternatives capture most of the global attention in the 21st century, freelance creative directors often create a superior mix of print, web, video and other projects and events.
Even e-commerce companies need print projects to enhance their brand and credibility. The strong movement to print-on-demand (POD) publishing for books, brochures, newsletters, articles and magazines does not diminish the need for freelance editors and proofreaders. In many cases, since digital publishers are offering their output to the entire galaxy via the web, the need for talented editors and proofreaders is stronger than ever.
The print and digital industries also still require talented production managers. The production function, particularly for print materials, requires talented professionals who can manage the entire process from first draft to final, approved copy. The management, project, and detail skills necessary to supervise and produce high-quality print output are treasured talents.
Proofreader employment opportunities and needs are often overlooked by candidates and employers alike. Much as some companies mistakenly discount the influence of their front line employees (i.e., bank tellers, customer service reps, receptionists, etc.), first-class proofreaders are influential components to successful print projects. As every avid reader is aware, few books and articles can be read without noticing at least one typo that a first rate proofreader could have prevented.
As the top talent recruitment firms know, freelance creative directors are always in demand. While the competition is rigorous, many of your peers now focus on the digital and interactive industries. Should you have talent in both print and digital art, your opportunities should expand.
Freelance marketing work takes many forms and personas. If you are a multi-talented freelancer, you should consider creating multiple marketing resumes. Employers with a defined project seek those with the specific talent to complete the assignment on time and as agreed.
Since these employers are not seeking full-time marketing directors, they sometimes discount skills other than those needed for the current project. Listing your many abilities (print, digital, SEO, PPC, etc.) may only obscure your precise talent that directly refers to the assignment.
When people apply for full-time employment, they often create advantages (particularly for management-level positions) for themselves by illustrating their multi-talented expertise. However, when seeking contract or freelance marketing jobs, most employers are looking for what precisely relates to their project. Your other expertise, possibly vaulting you above other marketing directors and extraneous competition, may be valuable to the employer in the future but typically does not address the current issue at hand.
Don’t worry; if you are selected for the freelance marketing work needed now, you’ll have the opportunity—and credibility—to impress the employer with your other skills. This will help you be seriously considered for future assignments.
If you believe that this means you should consider creating multiple resumes, you’re correct. For example, if you have three equally high-level marketing talents in different areas (i.e., SEO, print and web campaigns), you should construct unique resumes focused on each specialty.
Just as you tailor your cover letters to specific employers and projects, you should create the number of resumes that highlight each skill subject. If you are really a multi-discipline professional, it is usually impossible to author a single resume that answers the concerns of employers seeking a project X expert.
Although this requries a bit more thoughtful work at the beginning, this strategy allows you to use some diverse keywords to tag your specialties when employers and recruiters perform an Internet search. You can use your website to market all of your skills, using your URL as an additional employer resource, found on each of your resumes.
All superior football coaches spend hours preparing a solid game plan for their upcoming opponent. Regardless of experience and expertise level, creative professionals should prepare a game plan before a freelance job interview. In most situations, this is more than good advice—it is critical to a successful career.
Freelancers will find hundreds, if not thousands, of interview tips on the web. While these are valuable, most are targeted to general, full-time employment candidates. Creative freelancers need to develop some specialized interviewing skills because of their status as contractors.
Your game plan should reflect the focus of the freelance job interview and the type of job offered. For example, an employer seeking freelance talent to be a long-term contractor for a variety of needs, requires a different game plan than for a freelance job interview targeted to a specific project or solution.
Longer term associations typically require that candidates fit with the employer’s corporate culture. Singular project assignments usually focus on the pure talent and experience of the freelancer. Valuable interview tips for freelancers reflect the typical focus of employers hiring freelancers.
- Always be professional. While casual workplaces are now common, an interview demands that you look and act like the consummate professional. Be honest. Would you commit significant budget money to a freelancer wearing flip-flops and telling you about walking his orher dog at 3 a.m.? Probably not.
- Do your company research. Even though you may not be seeking full-time, long-term employment, your pre-interview employer research is equally important—possibly more critical. Employers viewing you as a problem-solver or independent business professional must be convinced that you understand their company and their issues. Research is the only way for you to understand the employer and the solutions they need.
- Focus on your specialty for the project. Hiring managers are always facing time challenges. Since you are interviewing with a prospective employer to solve a problem or complete a specific project, most of your other considerable talents are superfluous for your current interview. Spend this valuable time convincing the interviewer that you’re perfect for their needs.
- Concentrate on yourself. Regardless of your world-class technical skills, people still want to do business with people. Make a personal connection with the interviewer to lift you above your competition. After skills are objectively analyzed, hiring managers will typically select the candidate they like. This is natural, understandable and highly beneficial to you, if you can make a positive connection.
- Ask questions frequently. While always beneficial at interviews for full-time employment, freelancers have a much stronger obligation to use questions to enhance their image. Further, you must have full knowledge about the available project. Misunderstandings, however minor, can cause unhappy employers and prevent future candidate consideration.
Building an effective freelance resume is a bit different than creating a business, teaching, education, or licensed professional career synopsis. Further, constructing a freelance writer resume or a graphic design summary also involves a diverse approach.
For example, instead of focusing on your varied achievements in conquering the business world as an executive, a freelance sample resume normally highlights your specific proficiency as a creative professional. You should state your freelance experience (with dates), including your professional goals and the names of some past, satisfied clients.
Freelance writers should keep it simple by using little or no color or graphics. Conversely, graphic designers can showcase their creatively, targeting their professional summary to those charged with evaluating a resume for a more visually-oriented freelancer. However, a resume with minimal text and design can also showcase an aesthetic while be more inviting to read.
Always list your specific skills. If you’re an experienced art director or designer, be sure to state your preferred area of work. Should your expertise be centered in print materials instead of digital art, make the creative talent agency or employer aware of the source of experience. Neither you nor an employer has valuable time to spare speaking different languages.
Keep your particular talent in mind when listing previous clients. For example, if you have designed print projects for one client, but served as a multi-media animator for another’s website, include and differentiate or sort this information. This also saves potentially wasted time, emails, phone calls and reference letters between former clients and prospective employers.
Never blow smoke at a potential employer or superior creative staffing agency, like Artisan. Help yourself and your talent firm present you in your proper shining light, not as a subject of confusion or frustration. With the expanding job market (finally), take the most advantage to market your expertise flawlessly with a winning freelance resume.
Most marketing, employment, executive and small business experts on the planet urge all professionals, whether freelance or full-time employees, to establish their own personal brand. Freelance designers should take this advice most seriously.
The classic components of a strong brand, creative logo and catchy name still apply, but branding in the 21st century is much more. If you want to be fondly recognized by clients and graphic design freelance agencies, you must design and promote a credible, stimulating personal brand.
Start with the most elemental basics. Define who you are. Then try to learn the “who,” “what,” and “how” others perceive you. Even if you are fairly new to freelancing, you can solicit opinions from friends, classmates and family. Most of your internal and external feedback will be positive, but you still might learn about one or more issues that need your attention.
Compare your roots with your vision, mission and preferred image. Think about your journey to the current point in your career and life. Understand that it is the multitude of seemingly minor components of your personal and professional life that combined to make you who you are today. After this thought-provoking self Q&A, you should be prepared to create a personal brand that suits your preferences, personality and perspective.
The one inviolate rule: Be consistent. The majority of branding problems, corporate and personal, is inconsistency. For example, if your personality, collective work and outlook are weighted towards your superior technical competence, your brand should reflect who you are. Effective personal brands express who you are accurately in print and digital representations.
New York City has maintained its strong high tech industry employment, as it has for most of the 21st century. Cybercities 2010, which names the top 10 cybercities each year, continues to find NYC at the apex of the list.
Any premier New York City talent agency like Artisan can confirm that the volume of high tech opportunities is growing as the U.S. recovery finally takes hold. While New York City employment agencies seldom witness the high concentration of high tech workers enjoyed by San Jose/Silicon Valley (almost 30 percent of all private sector staff), these agencies can testify to the continuing strength of the market.
While New York City high tech jobs suffered during the recession, their consistently competing cybercities (Washington, D.C., San Jose/Silicon Valley, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle) often fared worse. New York freelance firms are reporting material spikes in new employment opportunities.
As Josh James of the TechAmerica Foundation correctly states, “These are the types of jobs every city wants. They are very well-paid . . .” Tech industry wages remain around 50 percent higher than other average private sector jobs. In 2009, the New York City metro area employed around 317,000 high tech professionals, more than than 24,000 employees higher than 2nd place Washington, D.C.
Whether you seek full-time or freelance employment, the New York City market is once again leading the nation in opportunities. Take advantage of an expanding market for the first time in a few years. Use all of your personal resources and the top creative talent employment firms in like Artisan to find the full-time or contract job that is perfect for you.