As a freelancer, you’re blessed with the freedom to move from job to job, which means you regularly get to experience new people and things. The downside is that you're constantly seeking new employment, and sometimes seem to spend as much time looking for work as you do actually working. One way to ease the stress of a freelance career is to build long-term relationships with short-term clients. Here are four tips to start turning that few-day or few-week job into a more permanent working relationship.
1 - Listen for holes the company needs filled, not just currently, but in the future.
To know how you can help a company down the road, it helps a great deal if you know your field inside and out. If you’ve always been an "I just do my part" kind of person, it’s time to start thinking bigger picture. Many jobs have the same basic process to completion. When you know this process from start to finish, you open up a lot of opportunity that would otherwise remain closed.
During the interview, listen for hints about upcoming projects. If you have the skills to help, let the interviewer know. Don’t say, “I can do that.” It sounds like you're fishing for employment. Instead, tell them about a similar project you worked on and how you helped bring it in on time and on budget.
2 - Slip in your additional skills.
Not every job requires your entire skillset, and hiring managers will focus on those skills required for the current position. That doesn’t mean you can’t let the manager know what else you can do.
Creative jobs are often long-term projects, and managerial skills come in useful down the road. So, if you’ve managed, make sure you bring it up. Just don’t oversell it. If it sounds like you would rather be a manager than in the position for which the company is hiring, they may think you’ll be dissatisfied. Try something like, “I managed a team at my last job, but I’m really anxious to get my hands back in the graphic design/copy writing/animation for a while.”
3 - Let them know you like to go steady.
You can’t expect a hiring manager to know you’re looking for a long-term relationship. You do work freelance, after all, and you're in the process of interviewing for a short-term position. To let them know you’d like to be considered for future opportunities, mention other companies you work for on an ongoing basis. Just make it clear you have plenty of time to fill, so they won’t think they’ll have to work around your busy schedule, and try not to mention their competitors.
4 - Nail the interview.
It sounds obvious, but all this will be for naught if you don’t get the first job. So, don’t get so involved with talking about future potential employment that you forget to prove you're the best candidate for the job that brought you in. Once you’re involved with day-to-day company operations, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate what an integral part you could be of any future team.