Sometimes when you have a hard time finding work, the best thing to do is to hang your shingle and start working as a freelancer. Freelancing can be difficult work, but on the whole it’s better to have it on your resume than to show time during which you were unemployed. Consider the following reasons:
– Resume gaps can derail your career. Employers may receive thousands of applicants for a single position, and when they do, they need to cull the resume pile by any means necessary. In a hypercompetitive environment like that, resumes that don’t show continuous employment are often discarded.
– Not working can dull your edge. A short period of unemployment won’t hurt you, but as the distance between you and your last job grows, so do a variety of risks. Your skills may atrophy. Your work ethic may be called into question. In addition, an employment gap may be taken as evidence that you aren’t employable.
– Freelance work demonstrates desirable qualities. A successful freelancer must be self-motivated and capable of making things happen. Freelancers take complete control over many aspects of their work, like which clients they work for and what kinds of projects they take on, which can impress potential employers.
– Freelancing can lead to many of the benefits enjoyed by full-time workers, reducing the pressure of not having a full-time job. Freelancers who handle enough work can sometimes join trade groups that allow them to sign up for benefits like disability and health insurance at group rates.
– You’ll learn what your work is worth. Large firms in some fields directly bill clients for hours spent, then take most of the money off the top and pass only a fraction on to employees. As a freelancer, you’ll learn what clients pay for your work, and you’ll be able to use that information when negotiating a salary for a full-time job.