It’s no secret that government budgets are stretched thin these days. Couple this with the 2014 report by the Freelancers Union that found 34 percent of the nation’s workforce qualify as freelancers, and you have the recipe for a burgeoning job market.
So how do you break into a role as a freelance government contractor?
The gradual shift to a more freelance-driven economy means there are many other professionals just like you in your specialty of choice, whether it be project management, technical support, graphic design or customer service. This underscores the importance of making you seem unique and must-hire material.
Highlight Your Achievements: What you have achieved is exclusive to you. Assess your professional background and look for your accomplishments in areas like community engagement, new contract development or signature legislation.
Incorporate Some Personality: You’ve heard the advice to list every single detail on your government resume. Before you know it, you’re looking at a seven-page document. No recruiter – even one in within a government entity – prefers to thumb through this many pages to find your value.
Know Your Audience: While a sophisticated, super-powered resume is generally ideal for government jobs, be careful not to oversell yourself for a smaller role in the public sector. Many government positions within towns or municipalities are looking for locally focused, down-to-earth candidates. Consider this when drafting your document.
Especially for the freelancer, hiring decisions in the government and public service spaces are driven by budget factors. In fact, one of the main reasons freelancers are gaining steam in the workforce is because they don’t require expensive health insurance, pricey benefits and vacation days.
With this hiring cost control in mind, ask yourself these two questions:
How have you saved your past companies money?
How have you made your past companies money?
Then translate your answers into achievement statements under each job description. This will give your resume great balance between tasks and accomplishments, while also allowing hiring managers to easily review and scan your document.
Once you have built an achievement-focused resume, it’s time to make it work for you. Sure you could post it on an industry-leading job board like Careers In Government. You could also hit the pavement and drop off your resume face-to-face for local openings. Maybe your best option is LinkedIn because of its access to government recruiters.
The most effective strategy is an all-of-the-above approach.
Government and public sector jobs are unique in comparison to those within wealthy corporations. And hiring managers looking for freelance contractors to fill their roles will prefer proactive candidates.
Show your prospective employers what you can bring to the table and remember that in hiring contract workers, they’re hoping to devote minimal resources to training and on-boarding you for your engagement.
Make sure you fit the bill by being willing to learn quickly and open to collaborating with your new teammates. You’ll be a valued government contractor in no time.