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Looking for both solopro and full-time work? Advice for 2009

When you phone a corporate executive about work opportunities, the most important thing is not to sound desperate.

A thinly veiled “I’ll take anything I can get” is the message most likely to yield nothing.

You prepared all your marketing tools—LinkedIn profile, resume, job club handbill, website, blog and more—to present you in the most positive light and highlight your appeal.

In other words, you are a winner.

Resolve now to maintain that stance without wavering.

Some solopro freelancers and consultants believe that they are more desirable than the rest of the pack because they have married themselves till death do they part to their business model. They would never stoop to full-time employment.

They believe this gives them an edge in getting assignments.

I used to believe this too. I believed that I must irrevocably wed myself to freelancing in order to offer my services with authentic conviction.

Demonstrating this devotion doesn’t matter to me now. (Which is kind of curious because I am more certain about self-employment now than I was back when this dilemma absorbed me more deeply.)

Individuals who lost their corporate jobs this year are asking if they should tell a prospective solopro client that they are also looking for a full-time job.

It is eternally true that asking for both makes you less eligible for either.

But today there is a new facet to the issue: You don’t need to express interest in a full-time job because they already know you are open to it.

How do they know?

By looking at your resume or LinkedIn profile. Anyone who has been employed consistently for 20 years and is now unemployed can be assumed to want a full-time job if the right one comes along.

It’s common sense. You don’t need to ask managers about payroll slots.

What if you propose solopro work and then they ask if you are available for a “real” job?

If you are totally committed to self-employment along the lines described above, you may believe you must express this commitment before learning the whole story because of “brand consistency” or whatever.

But here’s my new answer: “I am always open to opportunity. And if this opportunity is not right for me, I may know someone else who can benefit from it. So I’d love to hear more.”

(Anyway, you are itching to know the pay range, aren’t you?)

The current job market is exceedingly temperamental. It’s important to respond to availability questions just right. And it is difficult, if not impossible, to know in advance what “just right” is.

In addition, there doesn’t seem to be much hiring lately. Companies may be open to hiring contract experts, either so they can start a project without committing to a new hire or to try out a good candidate in anticipation of creating a new position sometime in the future.

Originally posted 10-27-09

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