Why You Should Freelance When You Are Between Jobs

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People look into freelance work for a variety of reasons: Financial necessity, filling gaps in work skills, getting your foot in the door at a new organization, or staying active while not employed full-time. No matter what your reason is for seeking freelance work, it’s helpful to know the ins-and-outs of pursuing this type of employment, as well as the benefits it can provide you and your career.

Some believe that contract employment can be seen as a negative in the eyes of a future employer because it can be seen as beneath someone with an undergraduate college degree, or those with an MBA or another graduate degree. Keep in mind that these days, freelance work no longer means being relegated to the filing papers or just taking messages. Today contract work can entail a wide range of skills and areas of interest. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that contract work can serve as the bridge to your next career move, as employers that get to know you in a temporary capacity are more likely to hire you in a full-time capacity later on.

Understanding why employers want to hire contract workers can help you see the benefits of undertaking contract work. Employers may have periods where there’s a large volume of work that needs to be completed, and they need temporary workers to handle the additional workload. Another reason an employer may need temporary staff is that certain projects don’t warrant permanent staff to handle, such as IT project, construction jobs, or event planning. If an employee is on maternity leave or is out on some other kind of long-term leave, then a temporary employee may be needed to fill in that position in the meantime. A company might hire a freelance worker simply  because it’s the most cost-effective solution at that time. Whatever the reason is, know that a temporary position offers you an opportunity to show your worth to the company.

Even if you don’t end up working full-time for whichever company you do contract work for, remember that employers want a minimum of gaps in your employment history and that having contract work on your resume fills those gaps. Seeking out temporary employment is a sign that you are self-motivated, and have an interest in keeping up and honing your work skills even if you are not employed full-time. Keep in mind that many temporary jobs are advertised as "temp-to-perm" positions, meaning that the employer is interested in first seeing how well of a job you do before committing to keeping you on full-time. 

If you want to fast-track your temporary employment search, consider signing up with a temporary staffing agency, which can help to place you temporary work positions, provided you pass any tests or screenings they require. 

If you are collecting unemployment benefits,  your contract work can have an effect on those benefits. You’ll need to report your income earned, as well as how long the work lasted, whether it was a full-time or part-time schedule and whether you were a company employee or a contractor. Every state has different rules regarding the kind of impact freelance work has on unemployment benefits, so make sure and find out your state’s rules before accepting any freelance work. You’ll have to report the money you earn  as you receive it, either every time you receive a partial payment, or when you receive a total lump sum. Differences in when you receive payments can possibly affect your unemployment benefits. 

Covering a wide range of fields and specialties, the following  is a list of websites to help you in your search for temporary employment:

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