CEO Sundays: Benefiting Your Freelance Tech Career Through Online Job Search Communities

By March 10, 2013

Image courtesy of Flickr

Do you dream of quitting your day job for a more flexible schedule? What about turning your “side gigs” into something a bit more full-time?

If so, you’re not alone. And fortunately for you, careers in freelance are in high demand. If you’re certain now is the time to transition, then there’s one thing you need to go full-time freelance: online job search communities.

The Freelance Boom

In the face of the continually uncertain job climate, both small and large employers are looking to keep costs at a minimum. Although work is still likely to be flowing in, businesses everywhere are being faced with a level of uncertainty, which could potentially affect their overall commitment to hiring. The answer: drive down costs by only hiring workers as you need them and utilizing them on a short-term or project basis.

Nearly one-third of U.S. workers are no longer employed at the average 9-to-5 job. This means roughly 42 million men and women belong to the freelance segment of the workforce, although many assume the number is much higher than reported. This number isn’t surprising due to the lure of freelance opportunities–choosing your own hours, location, and reaching a new level of flexibility.

While the freelance workforce is clearly booming, technical, IT, programming, and creative positions take the cake for the fastest growing areas in the market. Home to a highly skilled workforce, the tech sector makes for a healthy freelance environment. And with the increased demand for design, development, video, and mobile skills, tech workers everywhere are looking to cash-in on the benefits of a freelance gig.

Your Freelance Career Needs A Job Search Community

Making the switch to freelance may sound like a dream, but many freelance-wannabes are left scratching their heads when it comes to kick-starting their employment transition.

The light in the darkness for many comes in the form of online job search communities–think niche job boards and LinkedIn. Often dedicated specifically to the creative and technology space, these online communities are where job seekers and freelancers can interact, learn, share, grow, and seek out employment opportunities.

The key to success in a creative or technology freelance career often comes down to a strong online personal brand and presence–online job search communities give the best of both worlds. Whether it’s finding your next gig or maintaining the ones you have, scouring the Web for opportunities is time consuming. The proper utilization of online job search communities cannot only save you time by streamlining your search, they can also transform your freelance career from part-time to full-time with an increased level of connections.

The growing interest in freelance tech and design careers hasn’t gone unnoticed. Niche job search communities dedicated specifically to freelance opportunities are springing up left and right:

Get Social To Build A Presence Beyond The Job Boards

There’s a variety of ways to seek out freelance opportunities, but effectively showcasing your skills trumps it all when it comes to landing the gigs you really want and need. Successful technology freelancers need to bring a strong social element into their job search.

The foundations of a strong and effective social presence start simply by creating, maintaining, and expressing thought leadership on the social channels most relevant to your career needs. This is often a game of mix and match and may involve sites like Twitter, GitHub, or StackOverflow. These kinds of social platforms will not only let you showcase your talent, but they will also benefit you by allowing you to interact with others within your community–immediately allowing you to stand out as an expert in the skills that matter most to you.

Working towards expert status through social activity on websites, groups, and forums will immediately boost your connections and more effectively link you to clients. Here are a few rules to follow to build your social presence and benefit your freelance work:

  • Follow the policies set by the platform or forum.
  • Complete your profile as if it were a resume.
  • Activate your reading skills and familiarize yourself before posting.
  • Take a helpful approach throughout your interactions.
  • Take advantage of the job board or marketplace once you’ve established yourself through interactions.

The boom in freelance opportunities is changing the landscape for tech and design workers across the nation. While competition thickens, it’s essential to utilize online job search communities to get the clients you want and deserve.

Has an online job search community enhanced your freelance career?

About the Author: 

Amit De is the CEO and Co-founder of Careerleaf, an all-in-one job search platform that cuts the time to apply in half. Connect with Amit and  Careerleaf on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.