Whether you are fresh out of college, have been out of the workforce for a while, or plan to change careers, having a marketable skill set is key.
But how do you upskill when you can’t commit to full-time employment? Internships, apprenticeships, and online education are among the standard options. More recently, however, freelancing and part-time contract work have emerged as viable career trajectories.
According to the Freelancing In America 2019 report from Upwork, as many as 66% of US workers mentioned that freelancing allows them to stay in the workforce despite not being able to work full-time due to personal circumstances. What’s more, 50% of US workers view freelancing as a good temporary employment option and 25% of full-time employees moonlight on the side to earn extra income.
Despite the common belief, part-time gig work no longer equals low-skilled labor. On the contrary, many (45%) freelancers offer professional services and 30% are selling goods or participating in the sharing economy.
What’s even more curious is that self-employed skilled workers tend to earn $28 an hour, putting them at the 70th percentile of workers in the US economy. Apart from earning extra income, part-time freelancing can also give your stalled career a boost and help you develop new marketable skills.
If full-time employment is not an option for you at the moment, consider one of the following part-time jobs instead. They can help you obtain sought-after expertise and improve your employment prospects in the long term.
Job listings for HR onboarding specialists and talent coordinators rose by 50% last year, according to a fresh study from BCG on trending jobs and skills. There’s no lack of entry-level recruiting jobs either, especially in the tech industry, and a large fraction of them are part-time.
While most employers will give preference to candidates with relevant BA degrees or professional certifications, it’s also possible to transition to HR from another domain. Mike Kahn, an executive senior partner of Human Resources Search at the Lucas Group, mentioned that “Companies often want strong business people with HR expertise. They want business acumen, analytics, and systems capabilities. Many say that the most effective practitioners are those who’ve gotten business experience first, then made a lateral move into HR.”
Why it makes you more employable: As a part-time recruiter or HR staff, you gain a better sense of the latest hiring/interviewing best practices and overall market trends. As well, you can master the latest HRM (human resource management) software, applicant tracking systems and project management tools. Lastly, recruiters are valued for their networks. The earlier you start building yours, the more valuable you’ll become as a potential hire.
You don’t need special qualifications or a college degree to successfully flip properties. But you do need a real estate license. Obtaining one is a relatively simple and inexpensive process. You will need to complete the pre-licensing classes. The number of required hours varies from state to state, and so does the costs of courses. Usually, you should expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for your courses, and afterward an additional state fee for passing the licensing exam.
The initial investment in licensing, however, is offset by a high earnings potential. The Hustle estimated that part-time real estate agents earn over $22,000 per year by clocking up 6-10 hours per week on average.
Why this job makes you more employable: Working part-time in real estate can help you level up your sales, communication, and marketing skills. Later on, you can choose to further develop your career in this industry – obtain an additional broker license, become a realtor or a buyer’s agent. Or you can transition to corporate real estate or even corporate sales – another trending job niche according to BCG.
Digital literacy is an essential skill for future-proofing your career and one that you’ll need today if you want to earn a higher salary. A study conducted in 2017 estimated that nearly half of the jobs that pay $57,000 or more per year require at least some coding skills. Plus, it’s no longer just tech jobs that require applicants to have some programming skills. Business analytics, digital marketing managers, and even healthcare professionals often need coding skills to perform their day-to-day duties.
At the other end of the spectrum are IT firms that are now experiencing a ‘soft skills’ gap among their teams. A Cisco report states that 42% of companies struggle to find enough talent with business acumen knowledge and 36% lack tech-savvy people with critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and negotiation skills. This makes another strong case for picking up core coding skills if you are a business professional.
Why this job makes you more ‘employable’: Every sector of the economy becomes more reliant on software, data, and automated technologies. Teaching yourself to code can give you a massive competitive advantage if you plan to apply for non-tech work in healthcare, marketing, or financial industries. Alternatively, you can master new programming languages and the latest technologies to break into the tech sector.
As 93% of consumers consider visual appearance as a major purchasing factor, brands rush to invest in professional photography. Couple this fact with the rise of shoppable content and social commerce, and you have a lucrative side hustle. If you already have photography skills (or a strong desire to learn) and equipment, lining up product photography gigs should not be a problem.
Why this job makes you more ‘employable’: You can start shooting flat lays and social media content for e-commerce brands and later use the acquired skills and portfolio to transition to a full-time role as a content marketing manager/producer, social media marketing manager, or creative director.
Online tutoring is a relatively well-compensated job with a flexible schedule. Due to the rise of on-demand e-learning platforms, tutors can now set their own hours and take on as many or as few students as they want to. There’s part-time contract work aplenty as well, with the average base pay rounding up to $23,345 per year. Job growth projections are on the bright side, too. Mentions of teaching’ as a required skill grew by 12% in online job postings, according to BCG data.
Why this job makes you more ‘employable’: Online teaching experience can become a first step towards building a career in corporate training or e-course development. The digital education market is expected to surpass $243 billion by 2022, so there will be a strong demand for tech-savvy candidates.
Blogging has become a full-time, high-paying career for many creatives. Some, like Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier, have gone even further and scaled their creative outlet into a fully-fledged business venture and a $1 billion brand.
Though you will not earn much in dollar equivalent as a newbie blogger, you can master a host of new skills, ranging from web development and design to SEO and SMM, copywriting, content marketing, and visual content creation. What’s more, your blog can serve as an excellent portfolio and instant proof of your abilities.
Why this job makes you more ‘employable’: Whether you decide to start a personal blog or join an established platform as a writer/contributor, you can develop hands-on expertise within multiple aspects of online publishing and digital marketing. This will give you a major advantage over other candidates when applying for the next jobs: SEO specialist, Digital Marketing Manager, PR/Communications Specialist, Copywriter, or Content Marketing Specialist.
Part-time availability is no longer a reason for career compromises. The rising acceptance of freelance and contract work by employers means that you can work flexible hours and learn marketable skills at the same time. Don’t settle for jobs that bring no value to your resume. Instead, search for gigs that help you develop industry-specific or transferable skills that will level up your attractiveness as a full-time in-house hire.
Bamidele Onibalusi is a successful freelance writer and founder of Writers in Charge, a blog dedicated to helping writers secure well-paying freelance writing jobs. He has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post and other top publications.