Thanks to the government shutdown, more than 800,000 federal workers are now focused on how to make ends meet. For these workers, finding part-time or temporary work in the gig economy could be just the solution.
The gig economy can accommodate workers with a variety of interests, skills, and schedules making it perfect for workers who are seeking to supplement or make up for lost income. That’s a benefit for the more than 420,000 federal employees who must continue to work without pay since these workers will have to find work outside their normal work hours.
Career counselors say that furloughed workers seeking part-time, temp, or gig-economy work are going to need to be savvier than normal about how the approach their job searches.
If you’ve been impacted by this shutdown, here are some simple steps that you can take to set yourself up for success in the gig economy and beyond.
7 Tips for Landing a Temporary Job
Even in a tight job market, those who can set themselves apart from other job seekers stand the best chance of landing temporary employment. Here’s how to get a leg up on the competition.
1. Learn to write a strong resume by focusing on these four areas:
Consider the best format to use.
There are three main resume formats: chronological, functional, and combination. You’ll almost definitely want to use the chronological format, which lays out your work history in reverse, starting with your most recent role. Hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) look favorably upon this format as it presents your background in an easy-to-understand timeline.
Customize your resumes to job postings.
Utilizing phrases found in a job description demonstrates to a hiring manager that you understand the company’s needs. Personalizing your resume to each job allows you to directly address the skills and experiences you have that will help you succeed in the job. Plus, it shows that you actually read the posting, which is a plus.
Remember that keywords are essential.
Resumes that pass through an ATS are instantly scanned for keywords that can be found in the job posting. Failure to include these words virtually dooms your chances of being selected for an interview. Chances are good human eyes will never see your document.
Show off your achievements.
It’s not enough to simply list your previous job duties. Demonstrate measurable achievements by focusing on results that are quantifiable. Use data and metrics wherever possible to show off what you accomplished, not just what your duties involved. If you aren’t sure how to accomplish this, or if you have writer’s block, LiveCareer’s Resume Builder will provide suggestions of pre-written text you can use to flesh out your resume.
2. Write a cover letter that compliments your resume
Don’t regurgitate your resume.
Review the job description and use the key requirements to state a compelling case for employment. The story you craft shouldn’t repeat the job duties outlined in your resume. Rather, it should be artfully told by explaining the impact you have had in your past roles and how you expect to do the same in your new job. A cover letter is also a place where you can explain that you are out of work due to the government shutdown. To learn how to write an impactful cover letter, view samples of job-winning cover letters for inspiration.
Potential employers don’t mind being courted.
Be clear about why you want to work for the company. If you have a personal connection to the company or one of its brands or services, say so. You have to walk the line between being complementary and pandering. Keep it simple – honestly communicate what makes the company desirable to you.
Highlight top relevant skills.
Your key skills must set you apart from the crowd. They must apply to the job, and you must compellingly address one or two of your skills to make your case. Again, simply repeating what’s on your resume will kill your chances, which you can't risk during a government shutdown. Give examples of how you used your skills to succeed instead.
3. Study our resume samples and examples
If you need guidance and inspiration for writing your resume for part-time or temp work during the government shutdown, see how other successful job seekers have sealed the deal. LiveCareer offers a wide variety of resume samples and resume examples that can help you write a standout document. From education to customer service to management, we have resumes for every industry and job title under the sun to help you put your best foot forward.
4. Expand the boundaries of the temporary job types you might consider
Peers who are similarly affected by the federal shutdown will like be going after the same type of employment. A crowded field works in the employers’ favor, making it harder to land temporary work to keep you afloat. If you don’t immediately find new work, it may be wise to expand the range of job types you’re considering. Reassess your skill set, what kinds of work you’re willing to take on, and how you can rewrite your resume to apply for a broader range of jobs.
5. Target industries that thrive even in the midst of a slowing economy
Thanks to an ever-present demand for economic essentials, some industries virtually never see a downturn. People will always be in immediate need of healthcare, education, financial help, and more. If you’re having trouble finding work, assess your abilities to see if you can find temporary employment that helps to provide services people can’t live without.
6. Focus on your transferable skills
The first thing you should do when seeking out temporary work is to take full stock of your skills. Then, consider which of these apply to other fields of work. This will widely expand your pool of possible job opportunities and lead to faster employment. For example, a correctional officer in a federal prison who is looking for part-time work might apply for a part-time security role since many of the same skills are critical to both roles.
7. Consider temporary work that can continue after the shutdown
To maximize your potential for long-term success, take at least a moment to consider the longevity of the temporary work opportunities you are pursuing. If you didn’t love your federal job, you could take extra care to consider which temporary positions you might enjoy more. When the shutdown eventually ends, you may find that you’d like to stay where you are. Or, if the scheduling allows, perhaps you could at least keep this newer opportunity as a side job.