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What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

Most people jump into freelancing because of the time freedom it provides. Or, does it really? Does this mean all freelancers are better off than everyone else? In reality, freelancers don’t enjoy unlimited time freedom. We work on a schedule, too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to budget.

If you’ve been toying on the idea of freelancing to have more time, here are important facts you should know.

There is no such thing as, “I can work when I want to.”

Freelancing comes with freedom, but with a price tag—responsibility. You can choose to work on your terms and schedule, but you can’t work when you only feel like working. This is business; you have to put in the hours to offer quality work to your clients. Freelancing requires hard work and perseverance. Prepare to work not only when you want to, but more importantly, when you have to.

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“I can work while on vacation.”

First off, vacation is vacation, work is work. Don’t mix the two, otherwise you’ll sacrifice one for the other.

Other people can work while on vacation. But not all people can do that. Determine first if you’re the type of person who can work while on vacation. But don’t confuse yourself by thinking that freelancing can let you have a vacation while working. It really depends on your preference and working habits.

“I can spend more time with family and friends.”

This can be the greatest freelancing benefit that you can have if you plan and manage your time effectively. You have to purposely allot time the time and stick with it. Set a schedule that you can work on so that you can spend meaningful time with your family.

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But if you allow your work to overwhelm you, you might not be able to spend your time with your family. It will turn out that you’re home, but it’s like you’re not there. So learn to budget you time wisely. Other freelancers love working early in the mornings or late at night, when the kids are still in bed, so that by daytime, they can spend the whole day, or most of it, with their family.

It all depends on your priorities and how you manage your time.

You have to be the boss and employee at the same time.

Without someone checking on your work, you have to be responsible enough to finish a job well done. Nobody will check your time in and out. So it’s up to you on how you spend your hours with the Internet or social media.

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Be prepared to be accountable. Other people don’t succeed in freelancing because they don’t have enough accountability.

“I can choose not to work on holidays and weekends.”

True. But with your laptop just around your bedside, this is almost impossible to do. Especially if you love and enjoy your work, it can be hard to pull yourself out of it! The best remedy is to set up a separate home office. Avoid going into your home office during holidays and weekends.

Be firm to clients that you don’t work on weekends. Once you give into a client that you can work for him or her over the weekend, you might be tempted to do it for another client again. And be firm with yourself, too! Make weekends and holidays non-negotiable, non-working days.

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Yes, time freedom is achievable, but only when you know your limits and responsibilities. By keeping these in mind, you’ll be better off with your time management and career as a freelancer.

Featured photo credit: dhester via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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