“The future of work won’t be about degrees.”
— Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork
Earning a college degree used to be the ticket towards professional success.
3. BECOME A FREELANCER
Once you’ve learned a new skill set, the best way to continue learning in the most practical way is to put it to practice. You can do this by becoming a freelancer.
A freelancer is someone who offers their services for a fee. This can either be project-based work or ongoing services. The beauty of this approach is you can do this work remotely from anywhere on a schedule that’s defined by you.
When getting started, look to your current network for opportunities. Completing a few projects will give you confidence, expand your body of work, and bring even more credibility to your skillset.
Early on in my career, I struggled to find a full-time position. Becoming a freelancer gave me the hands-on experience of the new skills I was learning.
4. Build a portfolio of work
At the end of the day, businesses care about results. Anyone can talk the talk, but having a portfolio of work is one of the strongest assets you can have to show prospective employers you also walk the walk.
When building a portfolio of work, make sure to:
- Determine your audience and customize your portfolio of work accordingly.
- Document the impact of your results, whether that be quantitative or qualitative.
- Document what you’ve learned. This can be as simple as jotting down a few bullet points for each project you work on.
Your portfolio is the proof behind your pitch.
Creating a portfolio of work and being able to communicate learnings for each project I worked on is what helped me land my first full-time job.
If you want to learn more about how to build a portfolio that’ll help win over prospective clients, check out this resource.
5. Become a guest blogger
As you begin developing subject matter expertise, you’ll want to start building online authority. Guest blogging is an effective way to network with potential clients while further expanding your credibility as an industry professional.
Another advantage of becoming a guest blogger is it strengthens your online reputation. Most companies you guest blog for will create an author profile which can show up when someone does a search on your name.
There’s a lot that goes into becoming a successful guest blogger. The first step is becoming an email outreach expert. If you want to learn more on how to become a successful guest blogger, check out this lesson I created with HubSpot Academy.
6. Manage your online reputation
Do a Google search on yourself. What’s shows up on the first page?
It’s important you manage your online reputation. This way you can control your narrative when people research you (which clients will most likely do).
Here’s a list of tips to owning your brand and claiming the first page of Google:
- Create an identity on every social channel. This doesn’t mean you need to be active on each channel, just fill out the profile and make one post that directs people to your primary social channels. I recommend making LinkedIn and Twitter your primary public social channels.
- Join sites like Medium and become an active contributor.
- Create a portfolio website that tells people who you are, how to contact you, and where to engage with you.
To learn more about how to own your online reputation, check out this resource.
7. Increase your credibility with testimonials
We live in an age of recommendations. If you’re looking for a place to go to dinner, you’d probably choose the place that has the most raving reviews. The same can be said about you. Don’t expect prospective clients to take your word at face value. It’s much stronger to have those you’ve worked with to speak on your behalf.
If you have a positive experience with someone you’ve worked with, ask them for a testimonial. One effective way to go about this is by asking someone to recommend you on LinkedIn. This way your testimonials can be easily surfaced when people find your LinkedIn page.
Editor’s note: If you already have an Upwork profile, feedback from previous projects can help future clients gauge your portfolio and expertise.
And that’s it! Seven steps to building a skills-based resume. If you want to create a resume that ties all of the above steps together in one document, then check out this resource.
One last piece of advice: Give yourself credit with each milestone you accomplish. It can take time to get to where you want to be. Be patient, trust yourself, and get the most out of each opportunity that comes your way.
This article was submitted by Justin Champion and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.
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