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This summer, many job seekers will flock to job boards, attend countless networking events and scour through their contact lists to find the perfect position. No matter if you’re fresh out of school or an experienced professional looking for something new, try thinking outside the box.
That’s right, there are some job alternatives that may be just as fulfilling as traditional positions. Consider these four options:
1. Hourly work
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly earnings have actually increased over the past year. That means employers are not only hiring hourly workers, but these workers’ earnings are increasing.
Hourly work comes in all shapes and sizes, too. Maybe you want to earn some extra bucks as an event coordinator. Perhaps you want to work retail or even serve on the side. Well, with hourly work, you may be able to try out whatever you want. Plus, if your hourly gig goes well, there’s a chance it might turn into a full-time position. Who can argue with that?
Tip: There’s nothing wrong with trying out multiple hourly gigs! As long as they don’t conflict, either personally or professionally, give a few hourly jobs a try. You can use the experience to find out what you like and what you’d rather not pursue.
The world of freelancing is about as untraditional as it gets. Typically, freelancers aren’t attached to a company, but rather work for themselves. A lot of creatives, such as graphic designers or communication specialists, are freelancers. They work on a project-by-project basis or for a company for a longer period of time. Either way, if you’d like the opportunity to work with an array of companies while still performing familiar tasks, freelancing this summer may be right up your alley.
Tip: Create an online and offline work portfolio to show off your stuff. Presenting your work history in a simple way will heighten your legitimacy and impress potential clients.
Volunteering for an organization is a noble gesture. Though you may not get paid, you’re certainly compensated in experience. From environmental organizations to non-profit causes, volunteer work can be fulfilling because you feel like you contributed to a mission. Plus, you may even gain valuable contacts or recommendations that can help you land your next job.
Tip: Just because you may not be getting paid for your efforts doesn’t mean you can’t contribute a thing or two to the cause.
Have an idea that can help improve the organization? Speak up and suggest it! Many volunteer-based organizations would be happy to hear all ideas and may incorporate your suggestions into their operations if possible. Remember, putting in an effort is always encouraged, no matter what you get in return.
4. Contracted gigs
Contracted jobs occur when professionals work for an organization for a set period of time or through set terms. For example, an organization may need an assistant for three months or may want to hire a marketing director for a set amount of money. Though these terms can be negotiated, budgets and timeframes are typically set in stone from the beginning. This allows employers to evaluate employees in a set time period and gives them room to expand the position if necessary.
Tip: Like your contracted gig so much you want to stay? Then make it happen!
Oftentimes, contracted workers are aware of their end point, so they don’t think they can create an opportunity—but you can use the experience you gained to stay. This may mean coming up with a big idea, suggesting your services for a new project or just sitting down with your boss. Whatever you decide, be sure to take control of your contracted gig and extend your stay.
What other summer job alternatives have you come across?
Lynn Dixon is the Co-Founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.