Would you agree that behind every great leader, is a great personal assistant? While leaders have the power and influence to make decisions that can affect the future vision and plans for a business, they’re not the ones making it tick. There’s another person that is an unsung hero who can provide support and assist across multiple divisions in a company and make sure diaries are planned, meetings are booked, research is documented and clients are greeted with professionalism. First impressions count and most people don’t walk into an office to be greeted by a CEO, these unsung heroes matter…
After years of working the 9 to 5 lifestyle, I felt stifled. At day’s end, there did not seem like much room for creativity left in the corporate world. Rumors of company cutbacks pushed me to start thinking what if I lost my job? That in addition to the fact that I needed some extra cash to pay for my college classes pushed me to a brown study mode where I began to identify my marketable skill-sets. I had done a few résumés for my colleagues and students with great reviews and feedback – until one day someone offered to pay me to do theirs. Hence, my ah-ha moment!
I began on a small-scale and grew my clientele base over time via word-of-mouth and eventually social media. Although, this has never been a full-time gig for me, it has allowed me to work whenever I need to and make some extra income. There have been times, I’ve had to turn clients away. But I did not become a great resume-writer overnight, which is my key takeaway here: you must maintain a solid grasp of the latest developments in your area of expertise and focus on selling or marketing one skill that you have truly mastered. Clients looking for freelancers do not want a jack of all trades.
My advice to those who want to become freelancers is to take a close look at all of your current skills and interests to see if any of them can be turned into a freelancing career. This can be just about anything you’re really good at, have good knowledge of, and most importantly really enjoy doing. The possibilities are endless and can run from copywriting, business writing, and audio production to catering, cartooning, researching, social media virtual assistant, photography, proofreading, language translation, medical transcription, tutoring, voice-overs and dog training. The potentials are well worth looking into. Best of all, it’s a business you can run out of your own home right from your kitchen table, although I highly recommend establishing a home office free of distraction. You can establish your own hours and take it to any level you desire! Most importantly, pursue a path that you REALLY are good at, otherwise you will find yourself pushed outside the door by your more qualified peers.
We have recently been on a hiring spree to grow the Nabbesh team by recruiting expert freelancers from across the Middle East to work on specific tasks or even manage certain business areas.
Our needs range from technology related jobs, to data analysis tasks to business development and community management! So of course we put Nabbesh to the test!
We were not able to fill all the positions yet, however we thought we’d share with you our top 5 tips to land a job via Nabbesh. Quite frankly, these tips are built into our selection criteria!
1 – Be professional
No matter how friendly or casual a job description may seem, make sure your application is professional. Do not use jokes, caps, shorthand or inappropriate language. Before you submit your application, make sure it is free of typos or major grammatical errors; it can be a turn off for employers. Make sure you spell the employer or the company’s name correctly. If English is not your first language then clearly mention it in your application in order to set the expectations, employers will respect you for that.
2 – Read the job description
There is nothing more off-putting to employers than someone responding in a generic way for a specific job description. For example “I am interested” or “I can do the job” which can signal to the employer that you did not make any effort to address his or her needs. Take the time to read the job post, understand the requirements and address them in your application. Highlight key strengths that you may have in relation to the job like relevant industry or market experience, refer to your skills listed on your Nabbesh profile page as well as highlight your portfolio on Nabbesh.
3 – Be specific in your application
Employers have a short attention span and they quickly scan for relevant information with respect to their job post. Be brief, make sure you get the employer’s attention but not necessarily tell them your life story. Do not by any shape or form copy and paste your CV into the job application as this will certainly lead to your application being ignored. From our experience, CVs are secondary to how you phrase your job application and how you convince the employer that you are the person for the job!
4 – Show your enthusiasm
It is quite nice when you end your application with comforting notes like how much you would love to work for the employer, that you are willing to provide the employer with additional information if needed, that you are available to start immediately and that this is an opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss! Flattery goes a long way.
5- Follow up
Employers may be busy and may forget to respond, or they may have several applicants that they are interviewing or several proposals to go through. If you follow the above tips, we are almost 100% sure that you will get a response. In case you don’t, it is always beneficial to drop the employer a gentle reminder mentioning that you are looking forward to hear from them and always offer additional information if needed to further emphasize why you are perfect for the job!
We wish you good luck! And we are still taking applications for the jobs on Nabbesh. To apply please visit http://www.nabbesh.com/careers
This is a Guest Post by Anne John, a software engineer who switched careers to follow her passion for the written word. Currently she works as a web content manager with an online women’s magazine and moonlights as a freelance writer and editor.
Freelancing comes with many perks such as the ability to choose your work assignments and work flexibility. However, it has its downside as well. A common problem that most newbie freelancer writers face is keeping up your morale as you kick-start your freelance writing career. Trust me, I’ve been there. As a beginner, you haven’t built up a strong portfolio yet and with every pitch you send out, your hopes go soaring, only to fizzle out a week later. Rejection is hard to face and we freelance writers voluntarily expose ourselves to rejection over and over again. One of the hardest things to do when starting out as a freelance writer is keeping up your morale in the face of continuous disappointments. Here are 3 tips that helped me keep my chin up – and will hopefully help you too:
1. Learn to feel good about yourself: Although it is very difficult to believe in yourself when you keep getting rejection letters from editors, it is also exactly the time to give yourself some love. I save every good comment or appreciative feedback that I ever got for my writing. It could be from family, friends or total strangers. It could be on one of your published articles or even on your blog. Build a database of all the positive comments that your writing has ever garnered – you could print out the comments and save them in a folder or simply bookmark them on your computer. When you are feeling particularly uncharitable towards yourself, revisit them. Surely, all those people would not be wrong about you? This will help nip negativity in the bud, cheer you up, build your confidence and restore your faith in your work.
2. Don’t take it personally: Don’t take every rejection as a personal attack on your writing skills. Perhaps, the pitch was not suited to that particular publication at that point in time or perhaps they carried a similar piece quite recently or maybe the editor simply missed seeing your mail. You have no clue and there is no need to be offended. Train yourself to let it go. If the editor gives you any explanation for turning down your pitch, view it as constructive criticism and see what you can learn from it.
3. Keep writing for yourself: Most freelance writers start out because of their love and passion for writing. However, we often have to alter our writing to suit the editors’ or readers’ tastes and requirements. Soon, many writers get disillusioned with the whole process and writing begins to lose its charm. To prevent this, keep writing for yourself too. Maintain a blog or a journal where you can give free reign to your pen without worrying about word limits and house style. Simply savor expressing yourself and keep the magic of writing alive. I hope these pointers will help keep your morale up on your freelance journey! All the best!
(image credit: Escape from Cubicle Nation)
The future workforce is made up of millennials. Unlike their predecessors, they are much less likely to stay in work full time and more likely look for multiple sources of growth, stimulation and opportunity. Trends assessed by the US Government Accountability Office suggest that in developed economies, freelance, temporary and contract employees make up about ⅓ of the workforce. Mercer completed a study that showed Millennials prioritized having a flexible work schedule and having the opportunity to make a difference when it came to employment. Similarly in a recent survey by Ogilvy and Mather, 76% of respondents reported that they would rather spend more time with their families than make more money. In the Middle East, Millennials employment aspirations are captured in the Asda’a Burson Marsteller Youth report, which shows that respondents prioritized a good work-life balance ahead of salary concerns.
Is a freelancer right for your business?
Traditionally, business success depended on a top down method of managing staff and work. Some firms however have changed that and adopted a Results Oriented Work Environment, meaning the location and hours worked are less important than the final output. Work is done anytime and anywhere, based entirely on individual needs and preferences. This method of working is a perfect fit for Millennials who do not necessarily associate success with longevity at one firm only. The career path for younger generations more closely resembles a patchwork quilt, as people attempt to stitch together multiple jobs into something that is flexible and works for them.
In her book “Escape from Cubicle Nation” author Pamela Slim argues that the new norm is for people to maintain and develop skill sets in multiple simultaneous careers. In this environment, the ability to learn is something of a survival skill. Education never stops, and the line between working and learning becomes increasingly blurred. Millennials are more aware than ever how the local, and indeed global economy affects their work options. The Arab Youth Survey showed that people prioritized the UAE as an ideal place to work. As potential supply increases, the Middle East employer is therefore faced with a unique advantage, the costs of human capital may decrease, but the ability to utilize dynamic resourcing by tapping into many people simultaneously can be done with only a slight increase in operational cost.
Many Middle East employers are still in a cautious hiring mode. The highest growth shown on employment indices are in the Hospitality, Healthcare and Engineering industries, buoyed by the backing of the public sector and the stated aims of governments to reach 2020 goals including sporting events, expo’s, and increased tourism. For the private sector, there has been a year on year drop however for full time jobs in the marketing and creative industries (-7%), the software and telecom sector (-17%), and IT field (-12%). (Monster Employment Index).
This lack of demand for full time employment has surfaced in increased demand in the freelance field. Nabbesh.com Q1 data on what employers want shows the top 10 job posts as being in the software, marketing and design and creative sectors. Creative skills are the most sought after, representing 59% of the total, Software taking up almost one third and Marketing being 10%.
Our recommendations are that HR professionals must consider using freelancers as a way to contribute to the sustained competitiveness of the firm. For smaller firms that need to grow quickly and efficiently, the majority of budget is spent on acquiring customers, leaving little for human capital. Freelancers can solve this problem by offering the right skill to the business at the right time at the right price.
To access the largest pool of freelancers, visit www.nabbesh.com today and browse over 15,000 people with over 20,000 registered skills.
by Kathy Shalhoub
Are you someone who always seems to have bad luck, failed projects and a pessimistic view on life?
Why do these things happen to you and not to others?
It’s because you’ve learned how to be helpless.
Martin Seligman, a PhD in psychology determined that the primary cause of learned helplessness is pessimism!
Do you know what the defining characteristics of the pessimist are?
Take two people who sustain the exact same hardships of life. The optimist will tend to believe that:
- defeat is only a temporary setback,
- this setback is a one-time occurrence confined to this one case,
- circumstances, bad luck, or other people have brought it about.
The pessimist on the other hand, believes that:
- bad events will last a long time,
- bad luck undermine everything they do, and
- all unfortunate or unwelcome occurrences are their own fault.
Related post: Luck, Chance and All of That
The thing with optimists is that they are unfazed by defeat, they simply see it as a challenge and try harder next time. Pessimists on the other hand, give up more easily and are more often depressed.
So what’s wrong with being a pessimist?
You may be one of those people who actually need failure or bad luck to feel good about yourself. Why? Because then all that is happening is not your fault. You can blame circumstances for your situation and you don’t need to take responsibility for your own future.
So you are comfortable being helpless and nothing is your fault. Which means that you are likely to fail at anything you try to do because you believe that you control nothing!
Where does that leave you? Exactly where you are if you’re lucky, but you’re never lucky, remember?
Taking charge of your life and being in control of your career options is one great route to leaving the pessimist view behind. You can make use of your skills, be productive and earn money on nabbesh.com
Related Link: Find jobs on nabbesh.com (http://www.nabbesh.com/jobs/?location=)
The way you think about your life and your belief in your power to control an outcome can completely shape your future. Find out how to change your outlook in next week’s blog post: How to Unlearn ‘Learned Helplessness’.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Take this quiz and let us know!
P.S. I’m an optimist 80% of the time 🙂
Freelancing is fabulous! You’re your own boss, you can take as many coffee breaks as you like and you never get dirty looks from co-workers for being late. But being-self employed is not all fun and games. You have to be self-driven, keep to deadlines and make sure you find enough work to keep you afloat. Whether you’re only thinking about taking the leap or have already set out, here are a few business tips to get you going on the right foot.
- Be understood
It’s not always easy for full-timers such as managers, accountants and engineers to understand what it’s like to be self-employed. They can sometimes have harsh deadlines, unrealistic expectations, or difficulty understanding your working style. Take your time before you decide on who to work with, you want to make sure they will get you!
- Remember what it’s all about
Before you start a job, it’s always a good idea to present the client with a summary of the project as you understand it, a brief on what you will be doing, an estimate of the time it will take you and an explanation of exactly how you are charging. This document will be hugely helpful to both of you if there are any disagreements or changes later on.
- Use your mouth, AND your ears
Your likelihood of success, and referrals, is much higher if you are a good communicator and your client knows where their project is at all times. Listen to what the client wants and be sure to communicate to them how their project is progressing as you move forward, even if it’s not going according to plan. Most clients prefer the “Ok here’s how it is.” than the “Um, surprise!” approach.
- Know when to say No!
If a client is offering to pay you a rate that is far below the professionally accepted standards, just say no! Most professionals know exactly what market rates are and what margins of negotiation exist given your level of expertise. On the other hand, charities and start-ups sometimes really are strapped for cash but offer you free creative reign instead, which can really be a nice change on a job! Consider saying ‘yes’ in those cases!
By: Kathy Shalhoub
I spoke to the General Manager of a medium-sized company today who regularly hires freelancers for various projects as needed. I was curious to know what are the key attributes that bosses look for in hiring freelancers.
It was no big surprise that in addition to them being qualified, the top three attributes on Jack’s list were reliability, thoroughness and punctuality.
He explained that when companies hire freelancers, they usually do so because they have a rush job that their regular employees just don’t have time to do. They look for someone who is reliable because they need to be sure that the job will be done in time and to the specifications given.
Because the companies pay a premium to freelancers over existing employees and there is a real sense of urgency for the project to be completed, there is no time for too much discussion and they expect the work to be completed on time.
“We need to know that they can deliver,” Jack told me, “so strong references are a must.”
Jack continued to explain that he often looks at the portfolio of work to be more at ease not only with their qualifications, but to be sure of their actual output.
Communication skills, both the spoken and the listening, have to be impeccable. “With your own employees you have the luxury of time and availability to make sure that your message is understood, but with freelancers, you have the one or two meetings to make it clear what it is you need. “
Jack’s final words were about his fears of freelancers. “I worry about freelancers when they start making excuses for not delivering or when they ask for information too late for them to complete the project on time.”
So reliability, thoroughness, punctuality, communication skills, planning skills and a good portfolio is all you need to gain Jack’s trust!
Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.