Gig work is becoming a more popular option all the time. According to a February 2020 survey conducted by the leading human resources company SHRM, 47 percent of executives are searching for contractors for high-level positions such as managers. Additionally, the Federal Reserve states that up to 75 million people in the United States meet the definition of gig worker. But, of those 75 million, it can be hard to find a community where gig workers can connect and grow. It’s important to network as a gig worker to continue to find new opportunities and strengthen your career.
While it might be comforting to know you have a lot of company with this employment lifestyle, you are surely aware by now that it comes with its share of challenges. One of those is networking. When you work from your computer at home or change employers every time your gig changes, it can be difficult to create and maintain these types of connections. As is often the case, you need to be prepared to work a bit harder than your traditionally-employed peers, especially when it comes to networking.
Introduce Yourself and Make Note of Whom You Meet
Anytime you have the chance to meet someone new, don’t be afraid to tell the other person who you are and ask for their name in return. If it is hard for you to remember names and other details, try carrying a small notebook with you. Once you receive the information, jot down the new person’s name, position, and contact information. You can also punch these details directly into your smartphone.
When you tell someone you will follow up, be sure to do it. This is true even if you are not looking for gig work job leads at the moment. Following up helps to establish your credibility and allows you stand out from others who did not even take the time to introduce themselves properly.
Be Ready to Share a Version of Your Public Self
Sometimes it is easier to tell someone to look you up on Facebook or LinkedIn than exchange contact details at the moment. Before you do this, make sure the page you direct a potential network connection to is professional and appropriate. While you can still have fun and be yourself, do not post anything controversial or offensive if you plan to invite business contacts to your public page. If you have a business website, it would be ideal to give your new connection the website address.
Let Your Reputation Speak for Itself
There can be a lot of competition and people with similar skills and experience in the gig world. The best way to stand out from the crowd is to perform stellar work, always act professional, and always keep your word. Word will eventually get out that you are an excellent worker and new opportunities should soon follow. You will thank yourself for paying attention to the reputation you were developing when that happens.
Never assume that because you are a gig worker you do not need a network. With their shorter-term placements and project-based work, gig workers need as many industry connections as they can get. Lastly, never stop learning and being teachable.
About the Author: Lisa Kroulik has worked as a freelance content marketing writer for 10 years. She loves the work and the lifestyle it affords. Learn more about Lisa’s work and availability through Writer Access.