Freelancers: Is your career path same, same but different?

same same but different

A recent study conducted by Assistant Professor Ming D. Leung from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business reveals that freelancers have the best chance of securing more work if they follow an incremental career path rather than take on exactly the same types of jobs every time. Over a 6 year period, Leung has analysed millions of job applications and more than 100,000 worker profiles from around the world and believes that the online workplace will certainly affect hiring trends in the future. Leung says

 “. . . freelancers who exhibited some movement in their past history by taking jobs that were similar to one another but not the same, were more likely to get hired than those freelancers who accumulated experiences from dissimilar jobs or from jobs that were identical.”

So, how can you improve your chances of getting more work? Years ago, freelancers specialised in just one particular area. With the virtual workplace giving employers greater access to a  global pool of talent, prospective employers want to know more than just your job history and ratings/feedback from previous projects. They want to know how engaged and committed a virtual, non-local worker will be. Moving between similar (and not identical) jobs and showing some diversity will make you a more attractive candidate who demonstrates credibility and competence.

The key to freelancing success is to constantly learn and tackle projects outside your usual area of specialty. The virtual workplace means more competition for work so the more flexible and competent you are, the better. By being a dynamic team member, there’s more chance that you’ll be asked to move from one project to another. Diversity is king!

In short, don’t always stick within your niche area. As the online workplace rapidly changes, work across 2 or 3 areas just in case the demand for your core work suddenly drops. And remember, happy clients are your best references!

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5 Resolutions That Will Catapult Your Career Into The New Year

The Christmas break is an ideal time to sit back and reflect on the year that was and think about all the things you want to achieve in the next year. How was the past 12 months? Did you achieve everything you set about to do at the beginning of the year, did you learn new things or did you get a new job or a promotion? Maybe you changed career, left your job or maybe you did nothing differently at all. Whatever the situation, use the Christmas and New Year break to really think about your goals and the things you want to change in your career.

So, where do you start? Firstly, write a list of all the really great things that happened in your career and a list of the things that didn’t pan out so well. Could you have changed any of those bad things? If the answer is yes, then this could be one of the areas to work on in the future. Below are 5 resolutions that will help you make some clear plans and catapult your career into the New Year.


Resolution 1 – Be more organised with your email

Being disorganised is an obstacle that prevents us from reaching our full potential. Working in a disorganised work environment means you waste a lot of time and lose focus. The first place to start getting more organised is with your email. Put aside some time to totally clear out your Inbox, file the important emails away but delete everything else. The idea is to have a clear Inbox at the start and end of each day. You’ll be amazed how much of a positive difference this will make to your daily activities.

Resolution 2 – Improve your relationships

Building better relationships at work will open the doors to bigger and better things. Start taking the time to get to know your co-workers and network right across the organisation. Someone who is well-regarded, social and confident around the office is the one who is front of mind when new opportunities become available.

mature age student

Resolution 3 – Study/learn new skills

You’re never too young, old or too settled to study and learn new skills and it’s really important if you want ultimate career fulfilment. Open your mind to be challenged because we need to be inspired to try new things and develop. I went back to university at 38 years old and commit to several learning courses every year. If you’re thinking of going for a promotion or new job, learn the skills that would get you that type of job. There are also plenty of reasonably priced and free online courses on the market, so there’s no excuses for not giving it a go.

Resolution 4 – Relax more

If you’re feeling stressed, ask yourself if the stress is coming from outside sources (work colleagues, boss etc.) or is it self-induced? If you work in a stressful workplace, a good way to reduce your stress is to write ‘To Do’ lists every day, delegate tasks or simply stop thinking you can ‘do it all’. You can’t place the world on your shoulders – so don’t. If your stress is self-induced, it’s time to take some well-deserved time out to relax. A 30 minute walk outside or visit to the park at lunch is an ideal way to take some ‘you’ time to totally switch off. Take up some type of sport (walking, jogging, yoga, the gym etc.) or anything that will remove you totally from your work environment. In no time you’ll be feeling more like yourself and more energised than ever before.

reduce job stress

Resolution 5 – Find your dream job/get a promotion

You may be quite happy in your current job but it’s always good to strive for more each year. Think about asking for more responsibilities, take on some additional training or even go for a promotion. Don’t be shy about letting people know that you’re looking to move upwards in the company. You just never know what opportunities will come about so keep an open mind and be ready for the opportunity. You may be one of the thousands of people who decide to work for themselves. It’s hugely rewarding and it means you can be the boss. It takes a little planning but once you have the basics in place, the world is your oyster.

If you’re unhappy in your job altogether, now is the perfect time to think about what you really want to do.  Your ‘dream job’ is a job where you do something that you really love (and get paid for it at the same time). If this ends up being a complete career change, start getting the skills you need to do the job and volunteer if you need to so you can put these new skills to practice.

So you keep on track with your new goals, set up some email reminders every month to keep you motivated. It’s all too easy to slip back into old habits but if you stay vigilant, you will enjoy the results.

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Resume Writing Tip # 3 – Does Your Resume Pass the 10 Second Test?

It’s a well known fact that recruiters and hiring managers spend just 10 seconds (if you’re lucky) briefly scanning each resume to find potential candidates for a position. Not only are they pressed for time, but by about the 20th application, they’re pretty much over the whole process. Pages and pages of blah blah blah. What they really want to see is an application that’s straight to the point and gives them all the information they need without spending too much time trying to decifer your story. Below is some pointers to help your resume passed the all important 10 second scan test.

10-seconds test

Be concise, structured and specific.

Don’t beat around the bush. Your reader doesn’t have the time or interest in reading about your entire personal and career history. They only want to know if you have the skills they’re looking for and what benefits you’ll bring to their organisation. That’s it. They don’t care if you’re married or divorced, have 4 kids in primary school or spent 3 years backpacking across Europe in 1988. Keep the information relevant to the job your applying for and only talk about the stuff that’s  really going to interest your target audience. I’m talking about your achievements, examples of when you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the role and unique talents that make you stand out ahead of all the other candidates.

Target Audience

Everyone has an opinion on how long your resume needs to be. In Australia, keep to between 3 and 5 pages. Ensure the structure simple and clear. On the front page, start with the most important information such as the profile or opening statement and key skills, followed by your employment history and achievements. Finish with qualifications and training and the less important information. Target each section of the resume to the position you’re applying for. Read through each job advertisement and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated each required skill. Anyone can say that they’re a great communicator, so why not go that extra step further by showing when you have demonstrated great communication skills. You can bet no-one else will and this could make the difference between getting noticed and getting overlooked.

When you target your resume for a particular role, this also means you’ll probably need to change the details on your resume quite a few times. It’s not unusual to have 10 different versions of your resume in circulation whilst you’re in job search mode. Don’t make the mistake of using just one resume for every application. Looking for a job can be a full-time job in itself and it takes time and effort to get it right.

Just remember, if you keep it concise and specific to each job, hiring managers and recruiters will love you because you’ve made their job that much easier.

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Is being the ‘stand out’ candidate more than just good resume writing?

It certainly is. The stand out candidate in any job application isn’t just the person who ticks all the boxes and sounds fabulous on paper. It’s the person who can offer more than the standard candidate. They are the ones who outshine everyone else with the right skills, the right qualities, inner confidence and most importantly – the right attitude.

job confidence


Employers are looking for someone who can project a professional image for the organisation. You will be the face of the business in every interaction you have with members of the public, clients and internal staff so they’ll be looking for people who are well groomed, polite and approachable. This also goes for your resume and cover letter. Make sure all of your job application documents are neat, readable and free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you nail these simple requirements, then you’re well on your way to making a great first impression.


Having a well written resume is essential in the initial screening stages. You can kiss the job goodbye if you have failed to fix up any spelling mistakes because the employer or hiring manager will see this as a lack of attention to detail. If you miss these small things in your own application, they’ll think you’ll probably make the same mistakes in the job. It’s a risk they probably wouldn’t take. I’m not saying that you need to use a professional resume writer to create the documents; I’m just saying that it’s a good idea to get a friend or colleague to read over everything for you before you submit the resume for the job. It’s very easy to miss little mistakes so get some fresh eyes to have a good read through everything for you. It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from these same people.


Successful worker are confident workers. No-one wants to employ a person who second guesses themselves all the time and who struggles to communicate positively with their co-workers. Show your confidence in the interview by maintaining good eye contact and demonstrating enthusiasm when you respond to questions. Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments but don’t go overboard on self-promotion. Concisely describe and offer examples of your talents and achievements.


Being versatile is one of the key attributes of a stand-out job candidate. If you’re willing to take on anything thrown at you by the boss, you’ll be giving yourself the best opportunities to grow in the organisation. The employer will be looking for people who are multi-skilled and are willing to take on other roles if team members are absent or sick. The more versatile you are and willing to learn new skills, the more valuable you’ll be as an employee.

So when you’re applying for a job, put yourself in the recruiter’s/hiring manager’s shoes. Would you be the stand out candidate?

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Multiple Job Offers – What Do I Do?

Having more than one job offer may seem like a job seekers dream come true but what if you can’t decide which position to go for? In an ideal world, we look for work when the time is right, our ‘dream job’ appears with a great salary and you apply for it and get offered the job straight away. If only it was as simple and straightforward as that. Typically, you end up looking for work when you least expect to and don’t get the job offer when you need it most. But just say you were in the enviable position of having to decide between more than one job – how would you work out which one to take?

multiple job offers


Ask for time to decide

Hiring managers know how competitive the job market is and they will understand that you may need time to decide which job is best for you – but don’t ask for too much time though. It’s a fine line between playing it safe and losing the job to someone else who was keen to jump on it. Use the time you have wisely, and this means doing some research on each company. Write down some notes on each position that you can compare with later. Check out each company’s website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, LinkedIn page etc. to get a good feel of the company values and culture.

Consider the pros and cons

I find the best way to compare what’s on offer is to simply get a notebook and write down the pros and cons for each job so you can get a good  idea of the ‘big picture’. Things to consider are:

  • Job location – do you need a car to get to work or is the job close to public transport?
  • Time – how long will it take you to get there?
  • Salary/wage
  • Hours
  • Job responsibilities
  • Future opportunities – is their room for you to develop and move up in the company?
  • Is it a big company or small company – would this make any difference to your future career plans?
  • What do you like most about each position?
  • Picture yourself in each job – can you see yourself actually doing that job and being happy?

Go with your instincts

So, after you’ve weighed up the pros and cons, you should have a good feel for which job excites you the most. If you’re still unsure, trust yourself and listen to your instincts. You’re less likely to regret your decision if it’s based on what you truly feel is right for you at the time. As Agatha Christie once said . . .

“Instinct is a marvellous thing. It can neither be explained or ignored.”

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The ‘secret sauce’ to making freelancing work for you

If you’re sick of the drone of 9 to 5 and crave flexibility and freedom of choice, then working as a freelancer could be your ticket to your dream job.  More and more people are joining the freelance community every day and especially millennials who are breaking away from the traditional working environment in droves. Although freelancing is hugely rewarding (over 9.5 million people worldwide can’t be wrong), be prepared for plenty of uncertainty and learning as you build your business. It’s not always as ‘cushy’ as it sounds. But in saying that, if you have all the right ingredients, then you’ll make a successful freelancer and enjoy an amazing job where you control your destiny.


Specialise and find your niche

The first ingredient is doing something that you truly enjoy. If you love what you do, you’ll be more engaged, enthusiastic and driven to succeed. People will recognise your ‘passion’ and you’ll find you’ll become more creative and daring. Instead of doing something exactly the same as everyone else, find out where the gap in the market is. Play where no-one else is playing.

find your niche

Find the right projects and people

Once you’ve identified your niche and the market needs, start looking for the right projects that will position yourself as the expert in that field. Join groups that attract others just like you as well as your target market and learn everything you can about the industry, technology, new developments and how things can be done better. The more you know, the more you’ll be equipped you’ll be to grow and develop with your market.

Represent your experience

Many freelancers find it difficult to outline their experience on a piece of paper. Most have a lot of short-term projects with a multitude of clients, so condensing this down into something that resembles a readable document is quite hard. If you’ve written press articles or done any online interviews, these are also difficult to represent in a resume. A simple solution is a digital portfolio or visual resume. They’re ideal for showcasing multiple projects, utilising tagging technologies and providing a more engaging way to tell your unique story. New technologies like Trumpet Page give you the tools to easily create your own digital portfolio and with built-in writing support and insider freelancing tips, you’ll also learn how to better market yourself for work and get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers for their next big project. To find out more about creating your own digital portfolio or visual resume, go to

Although working freelance has it’s own unique set of challenges, if you work with these 3 key ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to a successful freelancing career.

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5 Books Every Freelancer Should Own

Getting started in freelancing isn’t always easy so we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 books to get you inspired, motivated and get your business on its feet. But this list isn’t just for the newbies. We’ll also tell you about the best books that will help you take your established freelancing business to the next level.

No. 5: The Principles of Successful Freelancing by Miles Burke

Principles of successful freelancing

This is a fabulous all-round resource for the new freelancer. It’s a clear and concise guide on how to get you freelance business started; how to manage your money, win clients, grow your network and overcome those early fears when you first start out on your own.

No. 4: Unlimited Freelancer by Mason Hipp and James Chartrand


For those of you who have been freelancing for some time, Unlimited Freelancer is a guide to expanding your business and increasing your income. Unlimited Freelancer shows you how to remove the daily struggle of a 1 man/woman show into a thriving, larger multi-person company.

No. 3: My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman


This is one of my favourites but not because it was written by a woman, but because it offers real stories from real women who have taken a risk. Michelle’s honest and humourous account of her own experiences will resonate with many women as she shares with you her secrets to starting out, handling the freelance lifestyle and juggling the family. My So-Called Freelance Life is a how-to guidebook for women who want to avoid the daily grind and turn their freelance dreams into reality.

No.2: Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

Escape from Cubicle Nation

As the title suggests, Escape from Cubicle Nation is a story about fleeing the life of a corporate prisoner and becoming a thriving entrepreneur. This book provides the reader with both emotional encouragement and practical advice on how to start out and build a business. She covers all the nitty gritty stuff like business models, legal obligations, insurances and helps you to work out exactly what type of freelancer you want to be. A must for anyone thinking of starting their own business.

No 1: How to be a Rockstar Freelancer by Cyan and Collis Ta’eed

freelance rockstar

The ultimate guide for freelancing without worry! This book gives you 212 pages of expert freelance advice from the Australian masterminds behind popular freelance blog site FreelanceSwitch. It’s jammed packed with basic, unexpected and insightful advice, covering everything from how to charge, how to get paid, managing your business, CRM systems and filing to eventually expanding your business. A well-deserved winner of the No. 1 spot on our must-read list.

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