Small ads websites with “jobs” categories and websites specialising in job seeking, in particular, those with categories for freelancers, are packed with opportunities for independent workers.
Businesses and individuals posting ads are aware of their needs and have a precise idea of what they’re looking for. The freelancer, thus, has a clear view of the assignment, in terms of deadlines, budget and tasks to accomplish.
Even though the competition is fierce, as is the case for platforms and agencies, the opportunities are often serious and better paid, because there are no intermediaries.
Get assignments through advertisements; it couldn’t be simpler! You need to:
Identify the websites with adverts that suit your profile;
Create alerts, to be amongst the first to receive the offers and reply to them;
Adjust your freelancers CV, so that it draws attention.
Start looking for websites advertising jobs for freelancers
There are many websites helping job seeking and small ads websites. However, it’s difficult not to get lost in the number of advertisements. There are several ways to find out if these spaces offer opportunities dedicated to independent workers.
Some websites have search filters such as “self-employed”, “independent”, “liberal professions” or “freelance” in their advanced search settings.
Those that don’t still may contain ads for gig workers. It’s enough to add the term “freelance” (and others like it) in the search bar, next to your profession.
It’s important not to limit yourself to statuses. For most clients, individuals and business alike, what counts is the final result, i.e. the performance of service provision.
Very small, small and medium-sized businesses and individuals generally have flexibility over the contracts they offer. Sometimes the status for the assignment corresponds to a tax benefit to the client. In that case, it’s up to you to decide how flexible you are about accepting other types of contract.
Create email alerts to stay informed
Ensure you don’t miss any opportunity, by creating systems of alerts to receive proposals as soon as they are posted.
There are several ways to do this:
Most job and small ads websites offer an option to “create an email alert”.
It’s also possible to aggregate the alerts using an RSS feed. This method seems technical, but nowadays there is free software to collect RSS data, such as Feedly.
Google Alerts also enables creation of alerts. However, they are very broad and also include news as well as adverts and employment offers.
Don’t hesitate to create alerts on each website, using as many criteria as necessary. These alerts operate on a system of keywords or categories. Your business proposal will certainly be covered by several of them. Also, add all available variants of “freelance” (self-employed, independent, liberal profession etc.).
You can also adjust the frequency with which you receive the alerts. Daily job postings are ideal so you can reply to them quickly.
Finally, you can post your CV on these sites, or embellish your profile with keywords (especially on LinkedIn). This will allow recruiters to find your profile and contact you by email or via the website. Again, don’t forget to activate the notifications.
If these methods seem laborious to you, do it one site at a time. Note where you have signed up (e.g. in your marketing action plan, as we shall see a bit further on).
Tweak your CV to attract attention
It seems easy to apply to these offers. It’s often enough to send an up-to-date CV and a cover letter. However, your application must identify your qualities as a freelancer, which are different from the skills sought from employees.
The CVs used for seeking salaried employment are quite different. Recruiters look for long-term, multi-skill profiles of people wanting to progress, and they pay attention to training and work experience.
A freelancer CV needs to be modified as follows:
Adapt your role: also, the name of your profession according to the proposal. For example, an IT engineer doing web development can call himself a “Full Stack Developer”, a “Website Developer”, an “IT Engineer” among other titles according to the assignments they are applying for. Use same term the client provides in their advert to describe the role they are looking for.
Indicate your best skills: go over the list of your assets (know-how, life skills and knowledge) and select those that make you successful in your freelance work.
Be concise: only show the experience, training and skills associated with your business proposal. A one-page CV is often sufficient. However, you can add a second page with visuals or references if you have broad experience. Recruiters scan CVs in just a few seconds. To grab their attention, you need to cut to the chase.
Transform your CV into a portfolio: your CV should reflect your business proposal. Add personal and original touches, while keeping professional. Show the list of your references, and add visuals if your services lend themselves to that.
Supplement your CV with a short cover letter: this can also be an email or a message sent at the same time as your CV. Once more, stick to the essential information. It's ideal to add your sales pitch and your business proposal while connecting with the potential client: Why do you want to work for them? Why are you the person they’re looking for?
Here’s what you need to remember about looking for assignments using employment websites and small ads:
+ A client already aware of their needs (and seeking solutions)
+ A clear view of the assignment (deadlines, budgets, services to perform)
+ It's similar to recruitment, rather than to the sale of services
- Answering adverts is time-consuming
- Lots of competition
- Not much control over the sales procedure
- Very unpredictable assignments
Discovering new services to offer, finding one’s first clients without getting into the system of direct selling straight away, testing out an activity.