As many college graduates know, it’s difficult to land a job coming right out of college, especially if you have never held a job in your field before. As a result, college graduates have now gotten creative by building their work experience through internships and freelance work.
But after years of working for yourself as a freelancer, how does one then transition into corporate? How do you leverage the freelance experience you have built to land a well-paying job in your field?
Choose the Right Title
The process starts with choosing a title that will show you in the best light. “Freelancer” is a loose term that can mean any number of things, but the words entrepreneur or small business owner carry much more positive connotations.
Keep this in mind when writing your resume, your cover letter, and when attending the interviews you are called in for. If asked how many employees you managed at your small business, it is acceptable to say that the people you worked with were mostly clients, or other independent contractors. Do not lie to your [potential] employer.
Emphasize Entrepreneur Skill-sets
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you will have learned skills that corporate employees rarely gain, unless they worked in those specific areas. Be sure to use these skills to your advantage when applying for a job. They often include:
- Leadership and general people management
- Project management
- Account management
- Customer service
- Sales and marketing
- Budgeting, book-keeping and basic finances
- Risk mitigation
- Creative and independent thinking
These are skills that any sensible organization will want on its team, so be sure to include this on your resume, and in your cover letter. During the interview, be sure to have examples to illustrate each, if asked.
Address their Fears
Despite the wealth of skills entrepreneurs bring to the table, especially for entrepreneurs who traveled a lot for work, there are many risks for employers who choose to bring them into their company. Some of the most common fears employers will have, include:
- That you will not commit to the job, and they will need another replacement soon
- That if you leave, you will take their clients/customers with you
- That you have worked alone for too long, and may not be a team player
- That you may not be familiar with general industry practices, as you’ve run an independent practice for so long
You will need to find ways to assure management that these risks do not apply to you during the job application process, and after you’ve been hired. Rather than take the blunt approach of bringing the issues up yourself at the interview, follow the age-old marketing advice of: show, don’t tell.
Great ways to do this are:
- Mentioning commitment to long-term clients you have worked with on your resume
- Mentioning a willingness to sign a non-competitive agreement
- Placing emphasis on working with other people, or managing teams
- Showing or mentioning that you have kept abreast with industry practices via your college degree, professional certifications, or independent reading.
Are you a freelancer looking to enter or re-enter corporate life? Confused about where to start, and how to convince employers that you are committed to joining their team as an asset and not a threat? We’d be happy to help. Shoot us an email to get started!
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.