Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Im a writer with 20 years of experience varying from freelance to full-time gigs. When I look for a job, people immediately see "freelance" and roll their eyes.
Making a living as a freelancer is more difficult than sitting in an office and doing the same thing day after day. Yet, it gets no credibility.
I've written over 50 books. That should count for something. Why doesn't it and how do I change the perception?
A: Invite people to commend your 50 books. Mention them at the top of the resume, even if youre not looking into a book project. Sell their breadth of subject matter so that it applies to the content of the position/assignment youre seeking.
If a word turns people off in your market, dont use it. You could be cobbling together multiple writing projects and call yourself a writer. The conditions of your employment arent half as important as the writing itself ... and all of the other things you do, including marketing, negotiating contracts and completing projects to maintain your business.
Come up with synonyms. For you, freelancing involves researching, coordinating and implementing projects. Pull out your thesaurus for additional inspiration.
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I am a software contractor; so whenever Im on the market for a new contract (and even when Im not), headhunters find my resume on jobs sites. If it matches technology skills they have an opening for, they contact me and encourage me to apply.
However, many are essentially designing reports soul-sapping, meaningless, low-paying and dead-end. But it often takes time and energy to determine that. Any ideas how to eliminate low-quality leads quickly?
A: First, dedicate a low-energy part of your day to leads so you wont be as driven to spend as much time on each opportunity. Second, calculate the percentage of past leads that proved false to you.
Let opportunities collect in your inbox rather than interrupt your paid work. At the low-energy time, disable your email alert. Read one lead. Close your eyes and ask yourself what it means. Summarize that meaning into one sentence. Does it add up to designing reports? If so, scuttle it.
Check to see if the percentage of the new non-opportunities just about equals that of the old. Ask chronic offenders to bypass you in the future. Or block them.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at email@example.com. © 2011 Passage Media.)