Going freelance is often hailed as the road to professional freedom, and it is certainly a career move that more and more people are making. At the same time, there are plenty of reasons why freelancers might be tempted to pursue a regular, salaried position; fixed working hours, paid vacation and a guaranteed paycheck to name just a few. However, swapping freelance for in-house is not without its challenges, and being prepared is key. Here are some tips for a smooth transition.
Expect new challenges
Anyone who has worked for themselves will know just how stressful it can be – from financial uncertainty to an unregulated schedule. Swapping to the regular paycheck of a nine-to-five may therefore seem like a great relief – and in many ways, it will be. However, an in-house position comes with its own set of challenges, so it’s important to go in with a realistic approach. For one, you will most likely go from being your own boss to taking instruction from more senior employees – which may mean losing a bit of your authority. Likewise, you will need to adjust to a new dynamic and get used to working as part of a team. From office politics to shared decision-making, make sure you are prepared to be adaptable.
Be flexible in your requirements
If you’re absolutely set on trading freelance for in-house, you will need to be flexible. Sure, as a freelancer you know all about flexibility, but you can also be more selective about the projects and people you work with. When it comes to finding a salaried role, you might not have this luxury. Of course, the ideal scenario would be to find an in-house position doing exactly what you are doing now, but in reality, you may need to diversify. Don’t get fixated on a specific job title; instead, consider other positions that relate to your freelance work. Your time as a self-employed web developer could potentially lead you to a job in marketing, consulting or even graphic design, for example. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a fast return to a salaried position, you might need to consider a few different routes.
Know how to sell yourself
As a freelancer, it’s possible that potential employers may view your application slightly differently. They might have reservations about your ability to work in a team, for example, or to fit into a standard office environment. They might not – but it’s absolutely essential to leave no room for doubt. When writing your CV and application letters, know how to sell yourself to prospective employers; think about the skills you gained and practiced as a freelancer, and how these transfer to an office environment. If you successfully managed to build a solid client base, this means you have great people skills; if you completed demanding projects within a short time-frame, you are most likely able to work under pressure and meet deadlines. As well as focusing on transferable skills, be sure to express your enthusiasm for joining a team and taking on an in-house role.
Optimise your CV
Before you can convince potential employers of your skills, you need to catch their attention in the first place. In today’s job market especially, CV tailoring is an absolute must. As technology plays an increasing role, there are certain strategies you can use to get your application seen. More and more recruiters are using talent management software to help filter out the right candidates, so it’s useful to understand how such programs work. TalentSoft, for example, is a cloud-based solution that offers an innovative CV reader function as well as CV parsing, which will only pick up CVs containing certain predefined keywords. By optimising your CV with relevant words and phrases every time you apply for a different position, you can help to make sure your CV is a “match”. Think of it as SEO for your CV – and, of course, be sure to write a unique cover letter each time.
Use your connections
The bulk of your experience might be as a freelancer, but this certainly doesn’t mean you have no connection to the corporate world. The chances are, you made at least a few contacts while working for yourself, so don’t be afraid to use them. Talk to previous clients about your decision and ask if they know of any opportunities – they may be able to recommend you, or know somebody else who can. At the same time, leaving your freelance career behind does not mean sacrificing your freelance network; you never know what opportunities might present themselves in the future. What’s more, an established client base can also be a great selling point to prospective employers.