How to get a job today!

The way to get a job today—this very day–is to declare yourself employed. Decide that you are a self-employed consultant and that makes it so.

Let’s be clear about this: it doesn’t mean you will earn any money today.

Sorry ‘bout that.

But it does start the wheels in motion to start earning money. It does give your life a proactive focus. It counteracts the extended frustration of a regular-job campaign. And it provides a seamless work history for your resume.

The first step is to select a name for your business . . . or not. You can call it [your name] Consulting. Or [your initials] Consulting. Or just list it on your resume as “consulting.”

Step two is to determine what services you offer. Go for a single word to start, probably something you did at your last good job or else a service you already offer friends and family.

The more ambitious your marketing, the sooner you’ll get paying work. But simply focusing your thoughts on what type of assignments you welcome and whom to contact may be enough to get some results or at least be alert to opportunities you can pursue.

Now back to the resume.

Detecting oh-so-shameful gaps on the resume seems to be a primary objective of corporate HR personnel. Apparently the gaps are more telling than the achievements even though those still employed know many fine people with gaps.

So fill that gap on day one of unemployment by a clear proclamation that you are employed.
Feel free to back it up by printing out a page of business cards on blank card stock purchased from the office supply store.

All of your projects—even volunteer assignments—appear under the single job heading. No need to assign dates to these projects since only job titles merit dates.

These are your achievements and the list will grow over time.

Remember that marketing in itself is also a measurable –and time consuming—achievement. Be sure to include your efforts and results in this area among the bulleted accomplishments.

So start your new job today.

Congratulations on being employed!


7 responses to “How to get a job today!

  1. More and more people are using the “consulting” method of gaining employment and income. In fact, I spoke to someone last week who was laid off, returned to the same job as a consultant (for more money) and then was offered his old job back.

    Looking for consulting gigs is much like looking for a job, but easier. Don’t do it randomly, do it intentionally. Focus on where you want to work and then work to meet people inside the company. The old days of submitting resumes’ to HR are gone and won’t return!

    Thanks for the article….


  2. Marlene Cohen

    When I get to read your columns, I’m struck by the wealth of new insights and contacts. You have a lot to offer and a clear path to using your strategies.

  3. The only caveat I offer is that it’s become a joke among consultants and their clients that if someone has a consulting practice named, perhaps, PegKelley Consulting or PK Consulting, it is likely she is between jobs! This is not always the case, of course, but often enough that not having a descriptive name labels you as a newbie or a job-seeker.

    Very good points otherwise.

  4. Nice job, Diana. Encouraging people to think about self-employment in a low-risk, non-scary way. After all, what do you have to lose?

    A friend once told me “there’s a fine line between self employment and unemployment.” Your article and that quote inspired me to write my own blog post on this topic:


  5. Peg,

    Yes, you’re right. I thought of the very same thing when I wrote the post. “Consulting” has long been interpreted as a euphemism for unemployment. And if you haven’t had any paying assignments, or if those assignments have been casual, brief and nonstrategic, there’s an element of truth.

    But the bigger problem is the corporate hiring process in which people who are still employed take greater pleasure in detecting gaps and flaws in employment history than in discovering talented people whose hiring could benefit the organization.

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported that some employers are only hiring people who are currently employed, based on the assumption that the best people don’t get laid off. How’s that for substituting the application of an incorrect assumption for an effective recruitment process!

  6. OK, don’t clients ask for references? How do you get those for your first contract?

  7. Admittedly, you have no past clients on the day you start a freelance or consulting business. You really are working because marketing is real work. But you have no completed assignments to demonstrate your expertise.

    Your references are from your previous job. That’s the advantage of freelancing or consulting in the same field as your last good job–you have relevant references to call upon.

    I’m not recommending that people lie about their current job. It is what it is.

    For some prospective employers and clients, what is doesn’t meet their standards. So be it. That’s one reason (of many) to contact lots of possible clients. Ignore the hyper-critical and keep going to find people whose need to get work done is greater than their need to find out what is wrong with other people.

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