Life develops in different ways. For example, like this: a few years ago you collected a flower in a pot, a mug and a plush hippo from your desktop in your office, threw it all into a box and, running out into the pouring rain, shouted: "Freedom!" Feeling exactly like Kate Winslet as she stood with her arms outstretched on the Titanic's bow. Now you can feel your ship slowly but steadily sinking into the icy waters of fatigue.
After full of bumps, permanent exhaustion, work on the weekend, you passionately want to go back to the office. You are thirsty again to drink coffee with colleagues for half an hour, to wage "air conditioning wars", and even a team building party on a weekend does not scare you. It seems that returning to office work will not be difficult, but suddenly you are faced with a problem: as soon as potential employers hear the word "freelancer", their desire to hire you on the staff fades away. We figure out how to get back to the office with minimal losses.
Prepare for change
Going back to work for hire requires the same careful preparation as going freelance. “This is a huge, gigantic shift. After all, when you were a freelancer, you were your only boss,”says Teresa Rilly, vice president of operations and strategy at recruiting consultancy Atrium Staffing. - When you return to the corporate environment, you will have to force yourself again to fit into the policies of the company for which you intend to work. And that can be tricky."
Think again why you left your previous job and how you made the decision to work for yourself. If once you left your former place, because you hate being commanded, then hardly, having come to a new position, you will suddenly fall in love with it. Most corporate structures are still hierarchical. Answer yourself to the questions: "What exactly do I want?" and "Do I really want to work in the office again?" Remember that although you will now have a stable salary and even a paid vacation, you will have to spend time (and money, by the way) traveling, communicating with colleagues and obeying someone else's schedule. If this is exactly what you would like, go ahead and search.
The ability to build connections and make useful contacts in the right way helped you become a freelancer and find your first orders. So let it do you well here too: one way to go full-time is through your current clients. “One of the tenets of freelancing is that work is result-oriented, whereas if you work full-time, you are expected to work with full dedication and complete as many tasks as is necessary for your position,” says Catherine Hawkins, co-founder and director of marketing agency Eucalypt Media. Hawkins herself previously worked as a freelancer, then became an employee of the site gimundo.com, and then she and her husband bought it themselves.
Hawkins encourages freelancers looking to start working for their full-time clients to prove they can be relied on. “Before you even start talking about the prospect of getting a job with a client on the state, make sure that you complete all tasks flawlessly,” she says, “deliver them on time and do everything in your power to make the manager's job easier.” You should step out of the shadows, stop being just a function, and instead become a living person, open and ready to help. In the end, if you want to become part of the team, act as if this has already happened: take an interest in the health of your colleagues, congratulate them on their birthdays and corporate holidays. And, of course, keep an eye out if they have a vacancy.
Ask for recommendations
What customers say about you, be it a comment on the website or a full-fledged recommendation letter, is one of your most valuable currencies. Fortunately, if you've been freelancing for a while, you have clients and hopefully they are happy with your work. It is best to ask for recommendations in hot pursuit, that is, when the project is just completed, and not six months later. Customers are especially eager to sign letters of recommendation if the project was urgent and difficult, when you really helped them out. For example, if a customer calls you at half past one in the morning and begs you to submit a project in the morning, you have every reason to ask him for positive feedback. But even in the case of just a job well done, if the customer thanks you for your work, as if by chance ask if he will issue his gratitude in writing.
Also, be sure to inform the client that you are looking for a full-time job and ask if they would mind if asked for a phone recommendation. If the client says that it is difficult to get a formal letter of recommendation with a signature (for example, due to bureaucracy), invite him to write "on his own". Ideally, the letter should indicate the work you have done (“translated the presentation for the marketing department,” “designed the website,” etc.).
Work on your resume
Freelance Designer: 2010–2016 - this is what your resume should not look like if you are looking for a job in the state. Instead, it should state a few other things. First, your projects. List successfully completed projects, starting with the last or even the current one and ending with the very first, just as you would have done it in a “regular” resume. If it was a work that was later "published", you can, after agreeing with the customer, give a link to it. Long-term projects should be indicated as a separate place of work with a detailed description of tasks and a demonstration of the result.
“It is very important to make it clear to a potential employer that while working as a freelancer, you did not leave the area of business or profession in which you were before,” emphasizes Anna Benko, senior consultant of the Financial Institutions practice of the recruiting company Hays. - A potential leader should see that you have your finger on the pulse: you know about the latest industry news, have not lost connections, have not forgotten the program. To do this, when describing your freelance experience, indicate only information that will be relevant for the vacancy for which you are applying. Place special emphasis on the experience you have gained as an employee. Most likely, it will be about him at the interview”.
You can also specify the companies for which you worked. They should only be named if your clients agree that the names of their organizations should be made public. If not, you can simply indicate that you have worked, for example, with an international consulting agency.
Also, numbers should be present on your resume. In fact, this is the most important point, although the information for it is the most difficult to collect. What could it be? Percentage of sales, number of views, likes - whatever. Of course, it is desirable that these figures can also be confirmed, but, unfortunately, this is not always possible.
Prepare for uncomfortable questions
So the moment has come. Someone was impressed by your progress and they invited you for an interview. What almost all freelancers fear when crossing the threshold of a new office and meeting a nicely smiling recruiter is bound to happen. You will certainly want to know about: "Why did you decide to return to the office?" There seems to be no right answer to this question. Self-employment will almost always create distrust in the HR professional. Even more distrust will cause the desire to return to office work: you will be treated not just like a spy, not like a deserter who played for the opposing team yesterday.
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper Rabota dlya Vas, editor of the portal spb.rabota.ru, recruiter Igor Abramov believes that it is not the freelance career itself that hinders the job seeker, but rather its failure: “Why did the freelancer decide to change the form of employment? Something went wrong? - he notes. “A former freelancer going mercenary is a sad story because it’s, by and large, a story of career failure.”
Anna Benko believes that the desire to return to big business is a completely rational motivation: “I understand the motives of a candidate who says that he wants to become a part of something bigger. The job seeker may respond that he is attracted by the opportunity to work on a larger volume of tasks or with larger clients. He can say that he wants to gain new experience, knowledge of methods and technologies and the opportunity to immediately apply them in practice - after all, there are no colleagues and managers in freelancing who can teach new things."
“If you are asked why you decided to return to the office, tell me that you want to work in a team again,” recommends Alla Bryakina, HR specialist. - Man is a social creature, and freelancers have a very limited social circle. You can always say that returning to the office is an opportunity to forge new connections and again work side by side with colleagues."
Another difficult question is why, in this case, you once went to freelance? You shouldn't answer in the spirit of "I wanted freedom", simply because it will entail a logical continuation: "And now, what, you don't want to?" If this question baffles you, just answer that you saw new development prospects for yourself.
Highlight your strengths
Often, former freelancers are so nervous when they come to interviews that they forget to mention their merits, which once helped them build their own business. “People who have worked for themselves have a lot of experience,” says Sam Notley of Alexander Mae Recruitment. “They have worked for many companies, with different people, systems and processes. They know which of these systems and processes were working and which were not. Viewed from this angle, freelancers have a huge knowledge base."
Tell us how good you are with time management and self-organization: after all, you managed to independently think over your schedule, complete tasks on time, and even sometimes rest. Mention that you know how to find common ground with different people - after all, you have had so many clients who were satisfied with your work. Share what you've learned over this time: Recruiters love hearing how someone was able to overcome difficulties. For example, mention that it was very difficult for you to distribute your tasks, especially when there were too many of them.
We know that we often lack self-confidence. Before going to an interview, be sure to think about what kind of victories you will talk about. Remember that this is not an interrogation, but a dialogue. And think not only about what you can offer the company, but also about what the company will give you.