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!