If you’re out of work now, what part-time or flexible work can you do to fill the gap until you land the job you want? If you’re fully-employed but concerned about losing your job, what sort of opportunities could you pursue to earn additional income, should the need arise? The “Bridge Job Strategy” is a pragmatic approach to carry you through a difficult employment or financial period. Here are some interim options, where you can find work and earn money while continuing to search for the job you really want:

Part-time or temporary job (retail stores, restaurants, business services, administrative, etc.). Try to find a position in a field you genuinely like. If you enjoy shopping or love the products of a particular store, consider working in retail. If you have a passion for cooking or are knowledgeable about food, you might want to be a prep chef at a favorite restaurant. If you have connections at business service organizations and can add value to their operations, try working at a company where your managerial contributions would be valued. Contact several temp agencies, or go visit businesses in which you have an interest.

Teaching or substitute teaching (public or private schools, colleges and universities, technical or vocational programs, etc.). The education that helped get you started in your career is still valuable. If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you’ve no doubt gained skills to enhance your credibility. These qualifications are often valued by schools and colleges. Experienced professionals are sought after to teach classes and bring a real-world perspective to their students. Contact the administration office of your local school system or the employment office of universities and vocational programs in your area.

Consulting or contract assignments (business operations, computer/technology, creative/advertising, etc). Even before the economy and job market went sour, the work world had changed. A growing percentage of the workforce had already moved into flexible assignments as consultants or contractors. If you have a background in one of the fields that naturally lend themselves to this work style, try to get consulting or contract work. It can be interesting, challenging work, and it can also be lucrative. In some cases, these consulting or contract assignments turn into full-time job offers, after the company gets to know you. Contact outsourcing and contract employment firms in the fields that interest you.

Work for family or friends (retail stores, services, small manufacturing operations, and every other type of business). Do you have relatives or friends who own or run businesses? Would you be comfortable working with them? In tough times, it is important to put your pride aside and ask for help. But in this case, the help would be mutual. Your friend or relative would be the lucky recipient of your services, and you would be gainfully employed, working for someone you already know and like. Contact every friend, relative, or acquaintance who owns or runs a business, and ask about their needs and challenges.

Home-based work (administrative, sales, computer work, creative assignments, bookkeeping, personal services, etc.). With the advent of the Internet and computer technology, it is easier than ever to do real work from home. Some of this work can be enjoyable and lucrative. There is no longer a stigma about working from home, and in fact, you may find that the flexible, independent lifestyle suits you. From copywriting to doing proposals to preparing tax returns, there’s no limit to the options. Ask yourself what skills you have, and offer your services to appropriate companies and families in your area. Contact everyone in your network to offer your services, and ask for referrals after your work has been satisfactorily completed.

Odd jobs (handyman, construction, painting, sewing, moving and hauling, yard work, plowing, etc.). Are you handy around the house? Do you own special equipment or tools? Do you have trade skills that you could offer to other people in your town? There is always a need for reliable, professional help in these disciplines. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can earn good money providing these much-needed services to organizations and individuals.

One of my senior executive clients worked in a retail store for many months after he was laid-off. The money wasn’t great, but it was enough to help pay his family’s bills. Having this part-time job also gave my client a sense of pride, because he was doing what he could to provide for his family, and he was making a contribution in the world of work. He also enjoyed meeting new people and even doing a bit of networking with customers.

The retail job gave my client the flexibility he needed to continue searching for the job he really wanted. A key point to understand is that my client never confused the means with the ends. He kept his focus on finding the “real job,” and he eventually secured an excellent opportunity with more responsibility and higher compensation than he’d had at his last professional job.

In this case, my client’s positive attitude allowed him to reach his goal through a two-step plan. By taking a part-time, flexible job, he did what he needed to do to ultimately get the position he really wanted.

This fellow didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed working in a position that was “beneath him.” He saw the “Bridge Job Strategy” as a practical necessity, and it worked very well for him. In fact, when he reflects back on his temporary job at the store, he smiles and describes it as a great learning experience!

Copyright © 2010, Ford R. Myers. All Rights Reserved.

Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” For information about career services and products, visit www.careerpotential.com and www.fordmyers.com.

Author's Bio: 

Ford R. Myers is President of Career Potential, LLC. Since 1992, he has been providing professional services in career consulting and executive coaching. His firm helps executives and professionals to take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! Career Potential also offers a leading training and certification opportunity called “Ultimate Career Consultants” (www.UltimateCareerConsultants.com).

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