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Returning to the workforce: A guide for freelancers

Whether your freelance work has begun to dry up or you prefer the stability of full-time employment, there are many pros to returning to the workforce. Whatever your reasons, here are four useful insights to help you land an enjoyable job working for someone else.

1. Make sure it’s the right choice for you

Many benefits come with returning to the workforce. Predictable, regular income and hours are usually top of the list. But benefits, holidays, career advancement and the chance to work with a team are also big pluses. But, on the other hand, you will lose the flexibility and control you enjoyed as a freelancer.

If you’re returning to the workforce unwillingly or temporarily, you should consider your other options first. Ask yourself, could you continue to freelance by:

  • Teaming up with another freelancer
  • Diversifying your service offering
  • Pivoting your business plan
  • Learning some new skills

2. Figure out what role will make you happy

When returning to the workforce after freelancing, don’t settle for the first job offer that comes your way. Seek out a role that will challenge and motivate you. As a freelancer you probably worked on all kinds of projects and tasks, so think about which ones you liked most.

  • Did you prefer working with startups, SMBs or corporations?
  • What industry sectors did you find most interesting?
  • Did you have any clients that you’d like to work for in-house?
  • Did you enjoy the variety that came with freelance work? If so, a role in an agency or consulting firm may suit you best

You should also think about where you’d like your career to be in five years, because this may inform your focus areas.

Consider discussing your options with a recruiter. They can share advice, industry insights and current openings with you - just some of the benefits of consulting a recruitment agency.

3. Update your CV with plenty of information

Freelance work in Ireland has increased over the past 20 years, but its growth has been slow. In fact, it accounts for just 2% of the Irish labour market - well below the EU average.

So, it's fair to say that many employers won’t be familiar with freelancers and how they work. While hiring managers in creative industries may have experience working alongside them, others won’t.

Ana Ribeiro, Senior Marketing Recruiter at Prosperity, acknowledges that some employers can see freelancing experience in a negative light. “You don't really know if the person was actually working or taking a break. So when you freelance, your CV needs to state that you have a wide range of clients,” she says.

It is easier to lie about freelancing on your CV than other roles, so provide information to address doubts before they arise. Link to projects you’ve worked on, sites you’ve built, articles you’ve written or create a digital marketing portfolio. Alternatively, you could ask past clients for recommendations or references.

4. Showcase your experience in a good light

Freelancing usually requires ambition, independence and a willingness to take risks. It also demands varying hard and soft skills. While some employers will admire these traits, they may also worry about your ability to return to regular working hours and take directions from a manager.

In reality, self-employed people in Ireland usually work ten hours more per week than workplace employees. If you are one of these hardworking freelancers, be sure to communicate this.

Through cover letters and interviews, describe how busy and organised you were while freelancing. You should also highlight how you worked alongside each client, as if they were your manager.

After being your own boss, returning to the workforce can be difficult. But following these tips should help you find a fulfilling role that brings happiness to your working week.

Submit your CV to Prosperity

If you’re returning to the workforce, reach out to our recruiters for some guidance. Alternatively, you can send your CV our way and we’ll help you search for relevant openings.

 


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