The new flexible workforce

When I was researching my book a few years ago, I was looking for employers who were taking advantage of people’s desires to build significant careers while working a flexible schedule. I highlighted companies like Axiom, a new kind of law firm that caters to lawyers who don’t want traditional full-time hours (e.g. working parents, artists, or those starting businesses on the side).  Axiom pitches itself to clients as an economical alternative to big law firms since it can avoid the high overhead associated with overstaffed firms. Another firm, Virtual Law Partners,
has been getting some buzz lately with a similar approach.

Now scores of companies are thinking flexible and virtual, in all kinds of fields — from virtual assistants (check out Delegate Solutions), to corporate executives (see EPOCH). The troubled economy has been a boon to businesses like these, which can offer part-time employment to displaced workers and deliver lower cost services to clients. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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How to break into freelancing

I can’t go a day without talking to someone about how to get started as a freelancer, consultant or entrepreneur. Some folks are going solo by necessity; others are betting on themselves over employers in a market where jobs are no more stable than gigs. I spent the weekend with my cousin and her fiance who had both been laid off from jobs in adventure travel. We brainstormed about how they could build careers as entrepreneurs or consultants.

A few days later I had lunch with a colleague who is in the midst of a negotiation with her boss about moving from employee to consultant because she thinks she’d have more opportunities if she diversified her client base rather than remain at one company.

Those conversations came in handy this morning when I was interviewed by Tory Johnson on how to break into freelancing for a video series promoting her new book, Fired to Hired, which will be published in early August.

Here’s a summary of our chat:

Dip into freelancing while keeping your job. Start by quietly spreading the word that you are available for projects and taking on assignments that don’t present a conflict with your current job. The goal is to test the waters to see whether your services are in demand and to have at least one or two clients lined up once you’re completely out on your own.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Career advice for grads, and the rest of us

Graduation speeches are long on lofty advice, cliches that ring true, and humor: follow your dreams, be authentic, wear sunscreen. But they are often short on career advice. So now that we’ve all watched videos of the best of the lot on YouTube and shared them by email or on Facebook, it’s time to get down to what new grads need to know about how to get a job and build a career. And since 50-somethings and 20-somethings are likely to be competing in today’s market, most of these principles make sense for the rest of us as well.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Finding the perfect part-time work

Part-time work is on the rise, and it’s no surprise. People are taking on extra jobs to make up for hours or income lost, an out-of-work partner, or even a business facing hard times. But part-time jobs can me more than a stop-gap money generator. They can also be a training ground for career reinvention or an audition for a full-time position with both parties getting a chance to try before buying.

I was on “The Today Show” on Sunday speaking about how to find the best part-time jobs and what to think about before taking one. Television goes quickly so while we covered a lot, there was much more I wanted to say — which I’ll do here.

Before you start searching for a part-time job, there are a few things to consider, especially if you already have a job and you’ll be layering part-time work on top of that.

1. If you have a full-time job, try to find something that is compatible with your full-time job.  So, if you have a job that requires you to be functioning early in the morning hours, bartending into the wee hours would probably not be a wise choice. Also try to find work that doesn’t create conflicts of interests with your main job — so if you’re a patent reviewer for the federal government, I wouldn’t recommend consulting for inventors coming before the U.S. Patent Office. {Read the rest on Yahoo!}

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Who’s Finding Jobs Now?

While headlines continue to report on the grim state of the job market, people are getting hired every day. This ongoing series will bring you snapshots of who’s getting hired now with the back-stories of how they’re snagging the jobs.

This week’s job successes include a nonprofit manager who made a move when it seemed like no one was hiring, an engineer who tweeted his way to a new gig, and an event planner who created a full-time position out of two part-time jobs to bring in extra cash during her slow season.

Dan Zarrella, Boston, Mass
– From one job in online marketing to another position within the same industry.

Time searching:
About a month


Techniques:
Enhancing and promoting his “personal brand.” Networking on Twitter.

His story: When Zarella got laid off in December from a position at an online marketing firm, he took an approach that is becoming increasingly common — he immediately worked on enhancing his personal brand and made himself more known in the community where he wanted to find his next job. (For a quickie course on personal branding, read Dan Schawbel’s excellent new book, “Me 2.0″) He tells his job search story — on the blog of HubSpot.com, where he eventually got hired.  Even before he lost his job, Zarrella had the foundations of a good personal brand in place. He already had a personal blog, on which he identifies himself with the clever moniker “The Social Media and Viral Marketing Scientist.” He also used the extra time he had to develop some online tools related to Twitter, the microblogging site that is an essential networking zone for people in technology-related businesses. “Rather than trying to interrupt people in my space with advertisements about myself, I created things that people wanted to use and let them come to me,” he wrote about the experience.  He also posted on Twitter that he was looking for a new job and asked people who was hiring in the Boston area. A few people responded to his messages and directed him to Hubspot, where he saw that there were openings and submitted his resume according to the usual procedures. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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The Secrets of Smart Freelancers: 5 Questions for Michelle Goodman

<The freelance marketplace is a cauldron of activity. Those of us who have been at it for years are finding work from the very employers who have been showing employees the door. And many of those exiting employees are realizing that it’s about time to acquire some freelancing skills — whether for short-term survival or long-term livelihood.

When it comes to dispensing smart advice about freelancing, there is no greater guide than Michelle Goodman, author of the books, The “Anti 9-to-5 Guide” and “My So-Called Freelance Life.” Not only does Goodman have the answers to the most vexing questions about freelancing, she is also a vocal advocate for the rights of freelancers, and for reminding independent workers to speak up for ourselves. Below is Goodman’s wisdom on how to survive and thrive as a freelancer today.

Marci: Freelancing must be more competitive than ever with all the formerly employed folks now in the game — is there enough to go around? {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Slashing By Necessity

This morning, the public radio show, The Takeaway, invited me to come on to talk about underemployment. {Listen here.} Specifically, they wanted some advice for the growing number of people who are working part-time but would prefer to be working full time, and for people who are working in jobs for which they are overqualified.

As background, the producers sent me this interesting article from Slate.com by Daniel Gross. According to the article, though the unemployment rate might not be as low as it was, say, in 2003, those numbers might not tell the whole story since neither the unemployment rate nor the payroll jobs figures captures “people who work part-time because they can’t find — or their employer can’t provide — full-time work” or “people who have left the work force entirely.”
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