The most surefire way to find any kind of job—flexible or otherwise—is to make networking an extreme sport. This is what most people do not do…whether they are new college grads or seasoned executives. Today everyone spends way too much time on job boards—which are too often black holes. The best strategy is to continually expand your community of influential connections via LinkedIn. In addition to this networking powerhouse, take advantage of these five other shortcuts to flexible jobs.
- Small Business Specialists: A frequent concern I hear from aspiring independent workers is how they should price their services. In addition to your own research, SCORE, a nonprofit advisory service supported by the Small Business Administration, can help you learn the business of being a freelancer or consultant. The organization has more than 300 local chapters offering free or inexpensive workshops that can get you to clients faster and on more solid footing. To form an LLC, you might want to check out my accountant’s recommendation—www.ink-it-now.com—they were fast, thorough and inexpensive—a great alternative to high attorney hourly rates.
- Association Job Boards: Many industry association job boards list competitive consulting work and freelance assignments. These organizations give you concentrated networking opportunities in your field as well—rather than dealing with more mass-market, industrywide resources.
- The Inside Scoop: Fairygodboss is a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, advice and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who believe in gender equality. A crowd-sourced database gives women insider perspectives on employers who have part-time or telecommuting jobs, compressed work weeks, allowances for work-from-home days, or flexible workday start and end times. Women who review their jobs on the Fairygodboss site rate their employer’s flexibility culture and policies, and half the employers are rated as somewhat or very flexible. Encouragingly, less than 10% of women contributing to the site consider their employers very inflexible.
- Boutique recruiting firms: Notice that I didn’t just say recruiting firms…I said “boutique recruiting firms”—specifically those focused on helping women prepare for or find flexible work. The Gig Economy has spawned a growing number of firms specifically focused on matching women to a wide range of family and life-friendly jobs. Top-tier companies of all sizes and in all industries use these firms as challenging, lucrative, short and long-term assignments. Many of these firms have a national focus, working with clients in one specialty area (like law or technology) or across a wide range of industries and job functions. Check out 28 firms in the Flexwork for Women Alliance on my website.
- Job boards focused on flexwork. Zero in on job boards featuring many kinds of flexwork (a good resource is the Forbes article “79 Websites to Get Freelance Jobs Fast”). My personal recommendation is FlexJobs—one that I believe stands out in terms of quality and mission. FlexJobs was started by Sara Sutton Fell, known as the “Queen of Remote Work”—who is widely known for her commitment to providing education and awareness about the viability and benefits of remote working and work flexibility for both employers and employees.
Though I do highly recommend FlexJobs, I say again to be careful not to conduct your job search solely on job boards. I advise women to spend only about 5% of their time on these sites—do a quick scan of those that have jobs that fit your profile and then get right back to networking!
This post is an excerpt from my book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead.