This post is for people who are either self employed or for those who are looking for a new job and its focus is on aggressively market your skills.
Three years ago I started offering programming consulting. I was new to the industry, and there were a lot of better people than me out there (this is still true of course), so what I did for finding new work was to aggressively search into forums and mailing lists for programing jobs and opportunities. In less than one month I’ve been able to find three new clients, one of them I’m still working with. I’ve done this in Italy, where programming jobs are far from abundant, especially in my niche, so I’m sure this method will work almost everywhere.
I believe that even in this financial situation, there’s a lot of work to be done waiting for us, but the problem is that we often spend our day updating our site, chatting on the internet or reading the news paper. This is generally ok as long as you are happy with your financial situation or if you already have a full time job, but if instead you are looking for more work, there’s a better way to spend your time.
Suppose you are a professional designer and you want to find a new client, so that you’ll have enough money to go on vacation this year, how could you do that? First, you should ask yourself how actually you have found all your past clients, so that you’ll have an idea of what worked for you till now, and then you could evaluate how much time you devote to those activities in your day. You might come to the conclusion that you actually spend only 15 minutes a day browsing job offers and the rest of the day doing low value activities. If you are unsure about what activities worked best for you, a good approach is to ask yourself: Did I ever got a new client through my blog? Did I ever got one from email marketing? If you are just starting out, I’d recommend to see how others are already doing in your particular business, there are a lot of free resources online, just keep experimenting.
If you are not self employed, I’d suggest to use a similar approach: devote a fixed time like 3 hours a day to knock at every door or to give a call to every office in your business to present yourself. Naturally you should do your homework before calling to prepare a good presentation, again, use google. Let’s do some math: if you contact five different people/organizations every day, that means in one month you’ll have made nearly 100 contacts (assuming 20 working days per month). A very high number, I’m having an hard time thinking of nothing coming out from this.
What if you are already working long hours?
You should still market yourself when your working agenda is full. Accordingly to some people, you should spend nearly 50% of your time marketing your skills and the other 50% doing actual work. This time, my recommendation it to focus on providing genuine value ,even for free, I’m thinking of starting a technical blog, or joining a local organization, this will help to establish yourself as an expert, you’ll be amazed to see the results.
Finding new paid work is certainly not easy, but the worst mistake people do is to spend their time and energies on the wrong activities. The next time you are looking for a new job, try this method, and let me know how it works for you. Maybe you’ll not find your dream job this way, but its a good start whenever you need to pay your bills.
Update: Once you got you job, you might want to read this article on how to get promoted.