If you Gig, it’s a career choice. It is a business model. You always remain the CEO of your decision to Gig.
It is up to you to decide for whom you wish to gig. Otherwise, your resume and profile become tangled balls of yarn and a complete professional mess. Otherwise your professional story only showcases how you did a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that” for anyone who would hire you.
What’s your Gig Economy strategy?
Your Gig Economy resume tells the story of your professional strategy.
The Gig Economy offers companies access to a diverse cast of characters who serve as a self-employed, often part-time, contracted workforce. The benefit to the employer, obviously, is reduced overhead.
The way the Gig Economy has been sold to an apparently ready and waiting workforce allegedly is that it is a lifestyle career choice. You get to work, often virtually, for any one of a number of companies. When “the thrill is gone”, you can choose to move on to another job which suits your mood.
Sorry. I don’t buy this. At all.
The Gig Economy may be what you do when there is no other option for permanent employment with benefits. And there’s nobody else to pay the bills but you.
The Gig Economy may be what solopreneurs and micro-businesses do when they are short on high quality clients and looking for low-hanging fruit to fuel cash flow.
That’s why your Gig Economy strategy becomes critical for leveraging your professional success.
Any resume, including Gig Economy resumes, showcases professional credibility with future employers.
Does your resume tell a solid story of continuity of professional purpose and passion? Or does your profile scream “Whatever” as it tells a story of an individual who lacks professional direction and a critical mass of core competencies?
The Gig Economy isn’t a new concept. It’s a buzz word describing the social anthropology of what’s happened to the workforce in the past decade.
A key catalyst of the Gig Economy was the global economic meltdown of 2008 (remember that?). The first, “involuntary” participants were traditionally employed, high-value and highly educated professionals who were downsized. They flooded the marketplace with resumes, often re-inventing themselves as “consultants.” When the economy improved, some were able to re-enter the workforce as full-time employees.
Their professional resumes remained focused on their professional career strategy, even within the Gig Economy. They made every effort to utilize their professional expertise while “gigging” within specific, appropriate, industries.
Then the plate tectonics of the often-maligned Millennials crashed into a less-than-enthusiastic hiring environment post economic meltdown.
Millennials graduating from college around 2008 entered (or at least tried to) the workforce at the same time the global economy was imploding. Some were fortunate enough to find full-time jobs. Some didn’t and started to “gig” to pay the bills (and stop depending on their parents to subsidize them).
Their Gig Economy-based professional resumes and LinkedIn profiles chronicle professional inconsistency. Part of this tangled ball of yarn professional mess, understandably, is due to not being able to find a job after graduation. However, as the gigs continue, what story does your resume tell to potential employers?
Are you managing your Gig Economy career or are you telling a story that you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up?
Whether originally a voluntary or involuntary participant in the Gig Economy, many LinkedIn profiles I’ve read indicate that individuals are working as many as 3-4 part-time gigs simultaneously. That career trajectory makes any potential employer wonder whether you have the depth and breadth of professional experience to effectively manage time consistently, productively and profitably.
Is it a “gig” or is it your career?
The Gig Economy isn’t just a millennial thing to do. It is a professional career choice regardless of generation. Ultimately it is the choice of the “gigger” to create and manage their career, even if that career is one of being a permanent freelancer for hire.
Recently, LinkedIn addressed the Gig Economy scenario with their ProFinder site. The site caters to the “freelancer for hire” (a new term for Gig Economy) individual who provides specific products and services to individuals and companies. The site promises to attract leads to your LinkedIn Inbox. It is a savvy business move by LinkedIn to capture what may represent a large segment of LinkedIn profiles.
Is this too good to be true? The dynamics of a Gig Economy career choice involve more than responding to warm leads coming hot off a website, delivered to your Inbox. Nothing is that easy, unless you consider “what you do” to be piece-work.
If you elect to participate, you are still responsible to creating a business model and strategy to manage how you work, when you work and for whom you work.
If your career trajectory is to become a Gig Economy free-lance professional, you still are responsible for creating, managing and leveraging your brand so you work with A-List customers instead of “Whatever” customers.
Otherwise, you leave “what you do” career-wise to someone else’s whim. Otherwise you short-sell yourself by feeling obligated to gig with any and everyone who contacts you. Otherwise your Gig Economy resume and profile become an even larger ball of tangled yarn professional mess.
What does your professional resume look like? Do you consider yourself a freelancer for hire? Do you have a Gig Economy business model? Let me know your thoughts.
Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist and coach. She is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. Babette has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical employees. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Image source: Adobe Stock