In the digital age, all it takes you is an internet connection and a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone to create an opportunity for yourself. In a previous article, I explained how I changed the way I did things from adopting a ‘why’ attitude to a ‘why not’ approach.
In this article, I want to explore the options we usually have at hand, but don’t utilize to our benefit whether be it in searching for a job, looking for freelancing gigs, or starting an online business.
I am not an HR consultant, nor am I familiar with the innards of HR departments. But I know one thing for sure: after I became an academic, and after sending over 250 resumes across a range of sectors and positions, I was not called for a single interview. The reasons? I was almost always either overqualified, underqualified, or simply had no experience.
Not even my connections could get me an interview. Why? Because they wouldn’t even risk recommending me not knowing what I had to offer. All I had was a resume filled with conferences, degrees, courses, and a little more. My volunteer work and job experience before I became an academic were rendered useless. Languages, skills, or any extra info wouldn’t tip the balance in my favor either.
If you think about it, companies receive anywhere between hundreds to thousands of resumes per job posting. In such a competitive environment, what you think makes you a solid candidate is diluted amidst the flood of resumes that get stacked in the databases. No matter what HR consultants tell you, I noticed, unless you have a strong recommendation letter from someone with solid connections that could guarantee you an interview, you are not going to get that call.
The same applies to freelance gigs or starting a business, although the dynamics are a bit different.
What is common to all of them is the following: ‘you need to put your work out there.’ Your resume won’t even stand out without a proper portfolio that showcases what you have to offer, the projects you’re willing to pursue, and how you intend to implement them.
What better way to do that than making your work available online for the rest to check out?
Say you like to write articles or work in the marketing sector. You have plenty of options out there to create your own content and upload it to the cloud. Not only that, you can even make a few things available for free so people can have an idea about the kind of stuff you’re creating, and you can sell other digital products to earn a few bucks.
At first, things might not easily pick up. This is why it is essential to build an audience: people who like and are interested in what you have to say. For example, I learned more about how to build my Twitter audience in an online course offered by Daniel Vassallo. You can check it out here.
When you have a small base of followers, and you start sending out newsletters and making your work available, you start getting honest feedback, which I think is a much better indicator of how to refine and improve the quality of your content.
You learn more about yourself and your audience by listening to what they have to say. An experience of this sort is much more important, I have come to realize, than, say, the feedback you get at a company you worked for. In the digital marketplace, you directly get feedback from those who are interested in your work. Mostly, the criticism and suggestions you receive are more genuine.
Not only your downside is minimal, you really have nothing to lose. The time you spend creating is an investment, and the upside can potentially be infinite.
Your chances are much higher this way to create a network that might generate more opportunities for you. In the gig economy, it is not your A4 boring resume that will get you the next job, gig, or sale.
Building an audience, creating your own content, putting it out there, and improving the quality of your products is more valuable as an experience for your own personal development. It also allows you to diversify your income streams. This is what I have been doing for the past 5 months (medium discount applied).
You can follow me @decafquest for more info and updates. Thank you.
What are you waiting for? Start creating!