Let’s Unleash the Experts: Five Ways to Pay the Bills While Looking for Your Dream Job

So many people are so busy looking for that perfect job that they forget there is work they can be doing that not only brings in cash to pay the bills but also keeps your name and experience circulating among those who may be hiring.

Betsy Richards, Director of Career Resources at Kaplan University, has 18 years of career resources experience and has helped build career services at Barry University, Florida Atlantic University and now at Kaplan University  www.kaplan.edu, where she helps Kaplan’s 58,000 online and campus-based students achieve their professional goals. She offers her top five tips:

  1. Make sure you have income coming in while you are searching for your dream job. If you have a job, keep it, regardless of how different it is from your ultimate career goal.   While enthusiastically and effectively fulfilling your current job requirements, you can actively prepare for your next career move.  This includes working with the human resources department in your company to find out about open positions or internal training opportunities to help you develop the skills to market yourself for your dream job.  You can also take on new or additional assignments to build your qualifications.  Likewise, you should research what is available in your community and through professional associations that would enable you to develop the right skills.
  2. If you are starting your job search and aren’t finding many positions you would love to apply for, start applying for temporary to permanent positions.  Many may shy away from these jobs because they don’t include benefits or promise security for longer than a few months, but more and more companies are expanding their temp-to-perm opportunities into the future spanning two to three years.  Since most companies prefer to hire from within, once you get a job, you have a better chance of positioning yourself to be considered for a permanent full-time position, and hopefully your dream job over time.
  3. You may need to find part-time hourly wage work in order to have income flowing in to pay basic expenses while figuring out what you will do next.  You may need to lower your bills by cutting out unnecessary expenses, taking in a roommate or moving in with a family member.  If you are in this position, you may consider going back to school to earn a degree in their desired field or taking courses to advance your knowledge. You could also find a relevant internship (paid or unpaid) or volunteer for a non-profit or start-up to develop experience and build your resume.
  4. Freelancing is another option. Employers don’t have expectations that you’ll work with them during their normal hours, so you can do the work late at night from home or whatever works for you.  When marketing yourself as a freelancer, you are offering to complete a project for a company or a consultant.  There are many places to search for freelance opportunities, including job Web sites, such as craiglist.com, newspaper classified sections or supermarket bulletin boards.  You’ll need to tailor your resume for the type of freelance work you are seeking and prepare an “elevator speech” and letter for phone and email replies to listings.  Be sure that it communicates the skills and experience you have that are specifically relevant to the freelance work advertised.  You can also list your services on professional organization and industry-related Web sites and job boards.
  5. If you have years of experience or expertise in your field, consulting is an option.  While you will probably be working less than eight-hours a day, the client typically determines how much they want you to work and you set the hours. This is a way to use your MBA-level expertise to provide companies with strategic counsel and get paid a professional rate as you continue your job search.

Thank you so much, Betsy! Great information!

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2 responses to “Let’s Unleash the Experts: Five Ways to Pay the Bills While Looking for Your Dream Job

  1. Thanks for the wonderful tips on freelancing (not my interest), and job seeking suggestions. I am a Kaplan Student currently (Augst, 2009). I work part-time and attend classes full-time as well. This is good advice for students and others to take advantage of. Especially in the current economic state, it is difficult to find a job when you are unemployed. If you already have a job, this shows an employer that you are dedicated and responsible. It is always a good idea to keep a current position while seeking employment elsewhere.
    Thank you for your contribution to the topic.

  2. Thank you for your ideas and wonderful 5 tips. I fully agree with your tips.

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