Why You Should Leverage Volunteer Work on Your Resume

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume.

How to Leverage Volunteer Work on Your Resume

A lot of candidates assume volunteerism is a cheesy and disingenuous addition for a resume that only recent grads and students need.

Maybe you have a similar experience to my own senior year of high school when everyone volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and we all arrived to discover we had no skills to offer, taking turns hammering one nail each or unnecessarily holding a ladder for stability on flat, level ground.

Because a lot of us have had experiences with these not-so-meaningful volunteerism efforts that our parents and teachers told us we must have to get into a good school, we’ve come to think they aren’t important -not only for our resumes but for our communities as well.

It’s simply not true!

Check out some of the reasons to invest in your Volunteerism section on your resume below and head on over to our Career Hacking course to learn the best way to format and present your experiences with our side-by-side videos.

It Gives You an Edge
A lot of employers are specifically looking for candidates with a history of volunteerism and see volunteering as a sign of leadership. Resumes that include a volunteerism section have an edge over other applicants (1).

Since a lot of applicants are thinking it doesn’t matter if they volunteer, that means there is a shortage of applicants that do include these experiences on their resume. Why wouldn’t you want to set yourself apart from the crowd?

It’s Good for More Than Just Your Current Job Search
If you choose your volunteer roles strategically and do something related to your field, you can grow your personal network and create more career opportunities for yourself (2). Volunteering is a great way to meet people and start relationships off on a positive note. You never know when you might meet someone who knows someone…you know?

It Carries More Cred Than You Would Think
Almost half of hiring managers interviewed view volunteer work as equivalent to full-time work experience (3). That’s a serious stat right there!

If you focus on finding a volunteer role that enables you to use your skills, you’ll reap multiple benefits for your do-gooding.

It Gives You the Best Excuse
Volunteering is also a great way to fill employment gaps (4).

When I was living in Sonoma County and new to the area, I needed a way to show that I was professionally active until I could bring on some clients for my freelance marketing practice. I was in the midst of meetings and building my network, but I needed something in between to build my profile and possible connect me to companies in the area.

That’s when I discovered a children’s educational content nonprofit and volunteered to create a social media strategy for them. The founder tried her best to connect me with other people in the area as well.  I ended up volunteering my time to the organization for a couple of years and enjoyed every minute of it. I was actually sad when I became busy with Eazl and needed to part ways with them.

You can’t add volunteer experience retroactively, but remember this next time you’re in-between jobs or clients.

It Build Your References
You can use the people you volunteer for (and with) as references (4), as I mentioned in my previous point. Think about it: some of the nicest and most caring people volunteer in their free time. If you’re genuine, add value, and are kind to others in the organization, you’ll create relationships with people who will support you.

How to Add Volunteer Work to Your Resume

how to leverage volunteer experience on a resume
To create this graphic, we used helpful information from (5).

You might also find these additional resources helpful:
Handling Employment Gaps on Your Resume
How to Use the Template if You Have No Work Experience
Using the VISTA Career Planning Tool
Writing Great Resume Content for a Volunteer Position
Resources
(1) Here’s Why Your Should Put Volunteer Work on Your Resume
(2) 5 ways volunteering can help you find a job and advance your career
(3) 4 Ways Volunteering Can Help You Find a Job
(4) Why Volunteering is a Smart Career Strategy – And 6 Ways to Get Started
(5) Leverage Volunteer Work on Your Resume

6 Project Ideas for Your Resume

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume.

project ideas resume

The Projects section might be at the bottom of your resume…but don’t be fooled! It’s still a major selling point of your CV and is becoming more and more relevant in the modern job market as companies look for employees who self-train and walk through the door with something to offer on the first day.

This is why lifelong learning and continuing education is having a moment right now…and the market will continue to grow.

There are a lot of ways that you can demonstrate your initiative and interests as projects on your resume. Here are a few ideas…

  1. Start Your Own Blog
    It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment and you don’t need hundreds of blogs posts to exhibit expertise within your field.

Begin by making a list of topics that someone with your job title would be expected to be knowledgeable on and develop your post ideas from there.  One post per topic will work.

The Big 6 Skills on your resume is a good place to start. We teach you how to determine your Big 6 Skills in our Career Hacking Masterclass.

Make your posts unique by showing your personality and giving a real look into your work history and interests. A generic blog might hurt you instead of help you.

Since the sole purpose of your blog is to demonstrate your skills to potential employers, you can skip worrying about social media integration, SEO, and other typical website concerns. Keep in mind that someone who has already seen your resume or LinkedIn profile is going to be looking at your blog.

You’ll be driving traffic there directly so you don’t need to focus on any of the “pull” mechanisms of marketing.

What you should focus on is uniqueness and quality of writing. If you’ve never blogged before, take a look at some blog posts for ideas on how to structure them. Find a talented writer to edit before publishing if writing isn’t in your skill set.

If you’re better at being on camera than you are writing, make the content video-based.

You’ll also need to focus on making the blog attractive because studies have shown that people ultimately judge that content of a site based on its appearance.

  1. Make Something
    Is there some way you can bring your skills and interests into the physical world?

For those already who are already “makers” by trade or product-centric, this will be easy, but there are opportunities for desk workers as well.

Let me use myself as an example. Most of my work experience is related to marketing and operations, most recently in the educational content world, and my next career move is to focus more on content within the consumer behavior, business ethics, and psychology of happiness realms. If I were to make a career move in that direction through traditional employment, I would probably put together something like a book or magazine that contains content on one of these topics. I would maybe even bring in a couple of people to work on this with me so we can all use it on our resumes.

You don’t have to use an expensive printing solution either. In fact, you could skip printing altogether because you’ll be linking the pdf version on your resume.

Your project will have to make sense for your role and industry, but get creative and find something you’ll enjoy working on. If you need help with ideas, Tweet at me and we’ll chat about it.

  1. Team Up
    A big selling point for employers is an applicant who demonstrates an ability to thrive as a part of a team. There are some exceptions, of course, but most of us have to work with others in some way or another.

eazl teamwork

Think of ways you can team up with someone to work on industry research, something creative, etc.

Demonstrating teamwork through a project is especially a good idea if you are wanting to move into a role that will require teamwork but have mostly solo work in your work history.

4. School Projects
Especially if you are a recent grad, the projects you completed during your studies can be included in the Projects section of your resume. Try to include only the most relevant projects you worked on -you don’t want this to be a list of every paper you wrote all throughout college.

What projects have the most crossover with the work you would performing if hired?

5. Start a Meetup Group
Meetup group leadership will show employers that you are a person who will take initiative to create something useful for others.

eazl meetup group

It will also brand you as a person who is interested in people, which is actually really hard to come by these days.

As a bonus, you’ll also meet lots of new and interesting people who have connections to companies and jobs and build your social and organization skills.

6. Play Pretend
Create a make-believe work scenario and assign yourself a project that will demonstrate the skills that you would be performing if someone hired you.

In my early days of digital marketing, I would created logos, websites, and marketing strategies for pretend companies so I could show potential clients what my work looks like in addition to the work for clients I already had.

This is also helpful if you are looking to change industries but use the same skill set.

Have something in mind that I’ve forgotten here? Comment below and let’s talk about it!

We’re Obsessed with Ambition in all the Wrong Ways

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume…and think differently about your job search!

ambition

What is ambition and how do we qualify an action or lifestyle as ambitious or not?

Typically, how we think and feel about ourselves is greatly influenced by what others (our parents, our peers, leaders in our industry) think of us. It’s dangerous to assess ourselves in this way because it leads to making decisions that aren’t right for our needs, our values, our experiences, our personalities, etc.

I believe it makes us watered down versions of ourselves and actually impedes the positive impact that we are capable of having; we do things for the wrong reasons because our focus is on the image of ourselves that the public reflects back to us instead of the reality of who we actually are.

Lately, I’ve been working on breaking the approval seeking part of myself and thinking of ambition as dependent on the individual and what their goals, values, and interests are because ambition means different things to different people. And the same goes for achievement and success.

As you think about your career trajectory and, over the years, prepare your resume and keep your career profile up-to-date, I encourage you to stay connected with what YOUR true ambitious self looks like vs. what you see on the cover of Fortune, what your parents’ ambitions are for you, or what you see your peers doing.

Are you overcoming obstacles and doing the hard work to get to where you want to be and achieve what you set out to achieve? Are your goals based on what you actually want for yourself and do you let your values and ethics guide you in the right direction?

Following the Mainstream Can Cause Us Harm
The pressure for making certain “acceptable” decisions doesn’t stop with our friends and family. Norms are pushed on us through the media as well, as Alain de Botton so aptly describes in Status Anxiety:

“Ideology is released into society like a colourless, odourless gas. It is embedded in newspapers, advertisements, televisions programmes, and textbooks -where it makes light of its partial, perhaps illogical or unjust take on the world; where it meekly implies that it is simply stating age-old truths with which only a fool or a maniac would disagree.”

eazl jeff bezos

This includes ideology about the economy and who qualifies as a useful person within that economy.

Now, you still have to possess skills, interests, and talents in an area where there is clear need in order to be employable or create a career for yourself. In general, being people-centric will help set you on the right path.

But prioritizing money and praise is NOT the only way to be an ambitious person. Ambition is possible without either of these foci.

If you perform some kind of action that greatly influences your community in a positive way but there is not necessarily any kind of monetary reward or public recognition for it, are you not ambitious in your efforts and are you not successful?

What we see reflected back to us often in these cases is that it doesn’t qualify as ambition but we shouldn’t be assessing our ambition based on someone else’s judgement of us. Our limit should not be where the paycheck and the praise ends.

Get comfortable with the idea that what other people think about you does NOT matter and is most often a distraction from being a real leader!

Traditional Views on Ambition
For too long –in my opinion and based on the findings of researchers in the fields of the science of happiness, sociology, consumer behavior, and many other areas of study– we have measured ambition based on the amount of money and/or public recognition that an individual receives or seeks.

We conflate the feeling of love (however disingenuous it may be) that we get from strangers based on money rewards and attention with real success and love.

eazl paparazzi

If you aren’t bringing home a fat paycheck or on your way to getting one, you aren’t all that ambitious.

If you aren’t being featured in publications as an expert in your field (or if your don’t care to be), ambition simply isn’t part of your personality or something that you prioritize.

We, as a society, are confusing monetary gain as a measurement of an individual’s value in the world and we are being told what it means to be ambitious instead of deciding what it means for us and what WE want to contribute to the world.

This is causing much confusion in the world of professionals as college graduates leave programs that were never right for them for jobs that aren’t right for them. These big decisions that we later (sometimes much later) realize are mistakes that can often be traced back to status anxiety and our narrow view of what ambition is because we followed the path that others told us was the right one.

What Makes a Person Ambitious?
The problem with the public attention and financial success mindset surrounding ambition is that we are leaving out the numerous other approaches to ambition that one might argue are far more important than a salary or public praise and, in the end, do more good for society and future generations.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that those who receive the praise and the money are the ones who deserve it; we buy into the idea that we live in a meritocracy. So those who fall into the category of wealthy and/or public figures stake claim over the adjective “ambitious”, leaving out the many others who are striving to be change makers or make progress in their fields; the ones who haven’t prioritized public recognition and most likely made sacrifices regarding their paychecks….or simply have their noses down in their work.

So what makes a person ambitious? There isn’t a definition that I can give you because there is no model to follow. You are going to have to create your own model.

That might initially sound scary to you….but what it should sound like is FREEDOM.

You have to decide what your ambitions are for yourself. What is it that you love and enjoy? What do you feel are your innate talents and how can you work hard at delivering those talents as a service to those around you? What is ripe for disruption?

Once you’re on that path -on YOUR path- you can feel comfortable in your ambition and won’t need to look for approval.

 

The Importance of Learning How a Language is Really Spoken

This guest post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume. You can find a coupon for 25% off Charlie’s course, Zero to French: A Complete Guide to Spoken French, here.

charlie-street-french

street french

When we learn a foreign language in high school or college, it’s usually not really how native speakers use the language in everyday life. We learn the language in a very proper and academic way, but that tends to not be very useful in real life situations. So you end up with people who might have studied a foreign language for several years, but can hardly use what they’ve learned at all.

It’s pretty sad right? Why else would you learn a language?

I definitely understand why academic institutions teach languages like that. They want people to learn proper grammar and in a way, sort of protect the language, but it just seems like a giant waste of time that so many people spend all this time studying something and end up being unsuccessful at it in the end.

So if you’re studying a foreign language with the intent of actually being able to apply what you’ve learned, studying in a classroom is not nearly enough! You have to go out and use what you’ve learned in order to be proficient at it. There’s really no other way.

street french

The problem with how most people currently learn languages is that they’re limited to textbooks, exercises, and tests, which can be helpful, but they don’t spend enough time using the language to become proficient at it. If you want to have beautiful, flowing conversations in French, you’re going to have to practice having beautiful flowing conversations in French with other people.

It’s a lot like driving a car. You can read a book about driving and learn the rules of the road, but unless you actually get behind the wheel of a car and spend a decent amount of time practicing, you’ll never be a very good driver. There are some things that you would just never be able to learn in a classroom.

street french

So for those of you who would like to speak a foreign language proficiently one day, I highly suggest you get out of this “classroom” mentality and focus on using the language as much as possible. Sure you can learn the basics and even take a couple of entry level classes to get your feet wet, but get out there and start using what you’ve learned as soon as possible.

There are sites like couchsurfing.com and meetup.com where you can easily find some friends who speak the language you’d like to learn and practice with them. Don’t overthink it! Just have a good time with your new friends and remember, the only way to get good at something is to practice doing it.

Get started learning French today with Zero to French: A Complete Guide to Spoken French (25% off) and start developing an invaluable skill to add to your resume!

Facebook Advertising: The Facebook Ads 2017 Certification Course (Trailer)

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume. 

*Get a $10 discount on the course here: http://bit.ly/fbads10*

In less than 3 hours you’ll be able to use Facebook’s ad targeting features, install and use the Tracking Pixel, launch campaigns, and receive a certification.

Learning how to use Facebook Advertising isn’t just for launching Facebook ads to sell products. Instead, think of Facebook ads as a way to communicate with hyper-targeted groups of people. Facebook advertisements can be used for recruiting, for public relations, to promote events, to build communities, and, of course, for selling products and services.

Learning to use the Facebook Ads suite for business will enable you to be better at online marketing, modern digital communications, and will give you a strong background for a variety of social media and digital marketing applications. You’ll also earn your Facebook Ads 2017 certificate which you can link to on your LinkedIn® profile, resume, etc.

For more info: http://bit.ly/fbads10

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Career & Business Book Haul (Summer 2017)

This post is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more.

career and business book haul

One way to start giving yourself regular Brain Boost (like the ones we publish every Friday) is to commit to making reading a regular part of your week (and your life!).

Reading is an essential part of being a well rounded person and achieving the success that you want. Big readers are more intelligent, better writers, and have a more robust toolbox for dealing with challenges and difficult situations.

We recently took a trip to Myopic Books in Chicago -a FANTASTIC book store to check out if you are ever in the city- and came back with a HUGE HAUL of books to inspire our work with Eazl.

Myopic doesn’t have a large business book section but you’d be surprised at what kind of inspiration and guidance you can find from literature that isn’t technically in the business category. At Eazl, we look to philosophy, history, sociology, and a slew of other topics for guidance in our business, our lives, and our personal career trajectories.

Here are the treasures we came back with (we spent an average of about $10 per book).

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton

status anxiety by alain de botton
Summary: de Botton takes a look at history, philosophy, economics, art, and politics as they relate to growing status anxiety in the modern world.

Significance: This kind of topic and inspection on why people (aka consumers) behave the way they do is insightful on a career level and on a skills-of-life level. Imagine being able to better tap into what motivates humans in order to either be persuasive or create more positive interactions with others.

How I’ll apply it: There’s no doubt that what I’m learning from this book will show up in Eazl content somewhere. We’ve created content on similar topics before (like The Science of Happiness and Social Status). I’m also using it as research for an independent project that I’m working on.

The Division of Labor in Society by Emile Durkheim

the division of labor in society by emile dirkheim

Summary: Originally published in 1893, Durkheim wrote a lot about how societies could maintain their integrity the modern era; a time in which the Industrial Revolution was changing the landscape of society.

Durkheim presents a new vision of the social structures and the issues caused by capitalism (still relevant today). He argued that uncontrolled state power could lead to the end of individuality and believed that only a free society that promotes voluntary bonds between its members will result in the prosperity of individuals.

Significance: Concerning the current political and economic climate, this book is 100% relevant for our content on the future of work and for our own careers.

How I’ll apply it: I haven’t started on this one yet, but I’m guessing it could lead to a blog post at minimum.

Good Work by Gardener, Csikszentmihayli, and Damon

good work

Summary: Co-written by three renowned psychologists, Good Work provides strategies for creating a work life that is both expert and socially responsible based on real life stories from real professionals. They set out to prove that ethical success -in a world where market forces drive all- is possible.

Significance: This topic comes up a lot when we work with our students and clients on their career planning. There is always the question, “Is it possible to be both values driven and wildly successful?”

How I’ll apply it: I’m not sure about the level of sophistication in how the information is presented. I’ve been on the business ethics train for a while. Maybe I’ll learn something new or discover some tips for increasing profits in an ethical way. Not sure what to expect.

 

A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

a book of five rings

Summary: Written by the great swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi in 1645, the five books are the stories Musashi taught to his own students in his dojo. The teachings have been used and applied to business strategies in Japan all throughout the 20th century.

Significance:It is common to view business as a military operation and that mindset is pervasive throughout the business world. Whether or not you agree or opt into this kind of thinking, it is important to understand the approach that many other business owners and C-suite professionals are taking if you are going to operate alongside them.

How I’ll apply it: Not sure if I’ll apply this knowledge to my own career at all because, honestly, my approach to business and success is far more feminine and I don’t really know where military/warrior techniques fit into my life. It’s good to know how other entrepreneurs -in Japan in particular- are approaching business.

 

The Work of Nations by Robert Reich

the work of nations

Summary: Reich explores the effects of globalism has on the economy and job market today. How can normal Americans compete? What skills are the most valuable? And how can we ensure that all can benefit from the global economy. This book is well informed, ahead of its time and published in the 90s. A lot of the issues he covers may be familiar to you today but the masses weren’t attuned to this thinking 20 years ago.

Significance: So obviously relevant today politically and economically, the writer makes some interesting observations and warnings that may put some things in perspective for American workers.

How I’ll apply it: What Reich writes about in The Work of Nations is significant for all of us in America. We create a ton of content on the future of work (like How Blockchain will Revolutionize the World’s Data, There are Big Opportunities in Craft Products, Get e-Citizenship in Estonia) and will definitely continue keeping our community informed about the future of the labor market.

 

The Essential Essays of Reinhold Neibuhr

the essential reinhold niebuhr

Summary: Reinhold Niebuhr was a Theologian, ethicist, and political analyst and one of the primary figures of twentieth-century religious thought.  In these essays Nieburh, a liberal Protestant theologian, examines the catastrophes of the 20th century with “optimistic pessimism”.

Significance: Whether you are religious or not, you’ll find value in Neibuhr’s approach to examining human behavior and ethics.

How I’ll apply it: I’m not sure if the learnings in this book will show up in anything formally or if it will be used just for personal study. Regardless, if it does have a significant enough of an impact on the way I think, you’ll be seeing some version of it in some form or another, whether it’s in a blog post, a vlog, or the way I interact with the Eazl community. I would consider my (short) life’s work thus far to be related to ethics and values so I find what Neibuhr has to say incredibly invaluable.

Fun to note: Barack Obama views Nieburh’s work as instrumental in his own development.

 Other Books at My Bedside

From HubSpot: Are Notifications Driving Us Crazy?

This shared post is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more, the smart way!

notifications

“As it turns out, there could be a downside to all of the benefits mobile technology provides. We might be able to work from anywhere on our smartphones or tablets, but such mobility and accessibility come at a cost — and too much technology could actually be making us less productive.

In this post, we’ll explore how notifications impact your brain and your mental and physical health, and what you can do with your devices to help minimize the negative impacts of the little red dot.”

notifications

Bandwidth Allocation (Productivity) in Theory and Practice

This free video is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more with a month of helpful content on scaling yourself in July.

In this video, you’re going to learn about why maximum productivity is important.

This video is an excerpt from the Maximizing Your Personal Productivity section of our Advanced Management Training.

Advanced Management Training is an MBA in a box! You’ll learn hiring, mentorship, communication & persuasion, productivity hacks, negotiation & leadership skills, + more.

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From GOTO: Scott Hanselman on Scaling Yourself

This is a shared video from GOTO as a part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more. 

Scott Hanselman is the Principal Program Manager at Microsoft in Portland, Oregon.

Created for developers, by developers, GOTO Conferences are focused on bringing the best minds in the software community and the most interesting topics to light.

As information workers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More blogs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second.

Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools and filters to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug. Is ZEB (zero email bounce) a myth or are there substantive techniques for prioritizing your life on the web?

Come see Scott’s famous “Scaling Yourself” talk, adapted to take only 15 minutes of your time!

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How to Make a Good Hire on Upwork

This post is part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more.

working virtually upwork

Outsourcing parts of your business is something that has the potential to completely change your company or freelance practice. It can accelerate your growth and free up your own time for tasks that use your talents if it’s done right.

I’ve found Upwork to be a quality source for freelancers and it’s worth learning how to make a good hire there. A couple of our virtual assistants and project team members were found there and we now have a process for making sure we hire the best person for the job.

  1. Don’t write a crap job description
    The first step to making a good hire on Upwork is making sure your job description reflects exactly what you need well. You’ll attract better candidates that way.

What qualifies as a “crap” job description:

  • Copying and pasting another company’s job posting just because the title of the position is the same. There is NO WAY that you are looking exactly for what another company is looking for. Do the work and really put the time and effort into communicating what YOU need because bringing someone else on, virtual or not, is a big decision.
  • Not putting in the time and neglecting to include enough information. If you only provide a few sentences about what you need and don’t include enough context, you’re going to attract candidates who will submit the same kind of low quality work.
  • Only focusing on personality/work style or skills. You need both hard and soft skills to make this important partnership work.
  • Sounding like a jerk who is looking for a subservient person. Actually, scratch that. If you sound that way, you probably are that way and it’s better for everyone that you don’t take the good candidates’ time so they can work for someone else who is a better manager/human being. Good work relationships are about mutual respect. Get in the mindset that you are looking for a team member.

A good job description includes:

  • A list of the top skills required to perform the job, including any technical skills
  • The length of the engagement
  • Performance expectations
  • Information about your company and/or product
  • How and when you will make your decision
  • What the work dynamic will be (communication via email or phone, teamwork required, whether you prefer someone who can work during the work week*, how you like to work, when the work needs to be completed, weekly time budget, etc.)

*There are a lot of freelancers who have full time jobs during the week and make extra money on the weekends with Upwork. Keep in mind that these candidates won’t send deliverables until the weekend. In many situations, this could work. Just keep in mind that a full time freelancer is quite different than someone who hasn’t yet made the move to quit their day job. Personally, I prefer someone who can make progress WITH me during the normal work week and I don’t turn my email off on the weekends so I’d rather not see updates from a VA on Saturdays and Sundays.

  1. Use your interactions with the candidate as measurement
    Don’t stop at their portfolio or reviews. Take advantage of the messaging capabilities of the platform and get a little back and forth going before you make a decision to hire or hop on Skype for a short interview. You’ll be surprised on what you can pick up from a texted conversation if you just pay attention.

Ongoing messaging is a great way to assess:

  • Timeliness– If it takes a while for the candidate to get back and you are moving forward with other potential team members, they might not be the most reliable. You need someone who is reasonably responsive and candidates will be the most anxious to get back when they are looking for new work. Not a good sign if they lag in these early stages. I usually look for an Upwork freelancer to get back to me within 24 hours and that’s what I expect once I’ve hired them as well. 
  • Intelligence– Blatant misspellings, sentence structure, and grammar mistakes will help you initially weed out the less talented. It doesn’t matter if what you need them to do doesn’t involve writing. Smart people read and develop writing skills from reading so a person with poor writing skills might not be that interested in learning and that is not a good hire, especially in the virtual world when they will be working independently and will have to figure some things out on their own.
  • Personality– Do they anticipate what you need to make your hiring decision by including details? Do they seem equally concerned about finding a good fit? Are they humble? Does their level of formality fit what you are looking for? Or simply, did you enjoy interacting with them?
  1. Don’t settle for the first applicant
    You’re going to find a better fit for you if you use a pool of applicants, first weeding out the ones you can tell you don’t want to hire based on their initial message to you, their portfolio and/or resume, and their reviews.

Then, after messaging back and forth with the remaining candidates, pick two or three that you 1) feel are the most capable for the job, 2) enjoyed interacting with the most, and 3) were the most timely.

  1. Take advantage of Skype
    Especially if the job will involve some interaction via phone or Skype, schedule a quick Skype call with your top two or three picks. There is a lot you can tell about a candidate in even just ten minutes.

Tip: Even if you will only require correspondence via email or text for the actual, it could also be a good idea to get your candidates on a video call. Once you make that personal connection, your hire will feel like they actually know you and will feel more accountable.

Do you have any tips for hiring freelancers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!