By: Naomi Matlow
The workforce today is anything but conventional. Passion projects that turn into unicorns, cobbling together a full hustle from a handful of side hustles, changing careers and often industries every 3-4 years… And if you are seeking an unconventional lifestyle fueled by freedom, mobility, and meaning, unconventional ways of finding work are called for.
The facts on the ground point us toward outside of the box thinking and creative searching when it comes to the job market of today. For example, only 2% of online applicants are actually called in for a job interview, according to Glassdoor, and according to author and business consultant Marya Triandafellos, we will each spend approximately 1-3 years of our time in the workforce finding work. So, what can we be doing differently? And how do we step up and stand out?
Here are our top 8 suggestions for finding flexible work beyond the job boards…
1. Pitch Yourself
Even if the job you want is not posted, or even has yet to exist, there is little harm in inquiring about a coffee meeting or a phone call with someone who either has a job that you aspire toward or a boss you would like to work for. It may be through networking with new contacts or existing colleagues that will get you on the ground floor for any job openings before they are posted or through revealing your own skills and assets, your dream job may be created for you. Triandafellos suggests that after information gathering, submit a proposal for a job for yourself to the company you would like to work for. All they can say is “no” or “not now”, right?
2. Begin Creating
Whether it’s starting a blog, taking an online course, or revamping your resume, getting your creative juices flowing, or learning a new skill, never goes to waste. Even if you can’t see the linear job trajectory by taking up a new hobby or reimagining your personal website, the more connections you make virtually or in person only opens more doors to potentially paid opportunities. Furthermore, the very act of creating something from nothing helps us get in touch with our authentic selves, and what’s more important during the job search labyrinth than that?
3. Talk to Entrepreneurs
Whether through LinkedIn, networking events, or casual meet-ups, talking to entrepreneurs about their current and future ventures may be the perfect place to get in the front door of a start-up that is on the horizon but is yet to have a physical office (if there even is one in the startup’s future vision!) Who knows what a small job or a contract position could lead to? You may become their future CEO!
4. Pick Up a New Skill
There is always something to learn, to master, or to be improved upon. Sharpening up your skills, or picking up a new one, that is valuable in the remote workspace never goes to waste. For example, taking a course in online marketing, or SEO optimization, may come in handy when you are looking for remote work. We’ve collected some of our favorite online skill-sharing platforms here, take a look.
5. Research a Company’s Digital Strategy
Exploring the digital operations department of a company or a team that you are interested in being a part of can take you far. What kind of work is being done online for that business? And what is being done remotely? You can then set up a coffee meeting or even pitch yourself (check out option 1 on this list!) to the team.
6. Start Volunteering First
If you have the time and the capacity, why not volunteer your way into a paid gig? There is no substitute for truly showing what you can do in real time. Especially if your dream job is with a nonprofit organization, they may already have a volunteer program where you can get your foot in the door and get to know the community, the corporate structure, and the work culture. Your passion and your skills will come across organically, and as a result, you will be top of mind when job openings come into fruition.
7. Start Freelancing
There’s no better way to show what you can do than truly starting to do it! Your dream job may start with you. Start networking for clients, shadowing potential future bosses, create a website, business cards, an Instagram feed, or all of the above. Freelancing can be king when it comes to flexibility, and there is no better time than the present.
8. Find a Community
There is no substitute for surrounding yourself with people who share your values and aspire toward similar pursuits. Whether it is a physical class or an online community, making connections in your neighborhood or even across the world with others who are pursuing similar passions and professions, or asking similar questions, may lead to unknown doors that can unlock your dream job.
If you are looking for an intentional community to ask yourself “what’s next for me?” Check out our Lifestyle Incubator. Our next month long virtual retreat begins on March 20th!