The concept of a “gig economy” in the U.S. is nothing new. After all, Upwork (formally known as Elance) has been hosting freelance jobs for 20+ years. Uber has been around for more than a decade. Even Airbnb is sailing toward its 15th anniversary.
Even before Covid-19, an astounding 57+ million Americans held part-time, short-term, on-call, freelance, or subcontractor roles instead of or in addition to regular full-time jobs. And millions more have joined the ranks of gig workers in the first quarter of 2021. Economists have even suggested at least 50% of skilled workers will be in non-traditional jobs by 2025, a huge shift in a traditional economy.
Like it or not, the gig economy is here to stay. Workers increasingly want to manage careers on their own terms, whether that means time, money, or flexibility.
Whether you’re a manager, executive, or job searcher, here’s how the gig economy will impact you in 2021 (and beyond).
If you’re a high skilled worker who hasn’t considered the impact of the gig economy…
Virtual, project-based work will likely touch your career in some way, likely in the form of consulting side gigs, filler income during a career shift, or even as part of a flexible retirement plan.
Even if your gig work never becomes your main income stream, it can still be a secret weapon when you’re moving up the career ladder or switching industries.
Here are some tips on presenting your gig work to future employers:
Include a professional summary on your resume. The professional summary section of your resume is critical to give recruiters and hiring managers a quick overview of your skills and accomplishments. For gig workers, this is a good place to start building your narrative of continuity and purpose.
Consider grouping gigs together. Rather than listing every bit of contract work individually and creating a confusing work history with numerous short-term, overlapping dates, consider grouping gigs and projects on your resume. For example, list yourself as a self-employed freelancer and describe each gig in bullet points. This allows you to highlight continuity, reduce gaps in employment, and bring vastly different experiences under one umbrella.
Focus on accomplishments. The very most important content for your resume bullet points is accomplishments. Highlight your wins and results from your gigs, whether it was a fast response time, a higher than average number of deliveries each week, or stellar customer reviews on your work. Spend time brainstorming your accomplishments and use this formula to build strong bullet points.
Find your transferable skills. Some skills are valuable to employers across industry sectors. These include soft skills such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and adaptability, as well as functional skills such as relationship building, project management, and team leadership. Make your resume more effective by focusing on these types of carry-over skills that demonstrate that you’re a valuable resource for traditional or gig roles.
If you’re a manager, C-level executive, or human resources professional looking to add to your team…
Gig workers can stretch your budget while delivering a quality of work equal (or even higher than) your typical employees. The list of jobs that can be outsourced to the gig economy list is growing steadily: project managers, marketers, and even HR staff are quickly becoming virtualized.
According to recent Monster survey data, 92% of respondents think now is a good time to look into the gig economy. Among those:
- 57% said they would take gig jobs during their job search process.
- 52% are looking for long-term contract jobs with flexible hours.
- 39% are actively looking for short-term contract work.
The best part is, the hiring pool for gig workers is deep (and accessible to boot). Rather than spending excessive hours posting jobs, sludging through resumes, and scheduling costly interviews, new technology enables hiring teams to select ready-to-roll workers from a deep pool of qualified candidates.
If you’re already a gig worker…
Your gig opportunities are endless (for now) and will continue as more and more companies consider the cost savings of hiring short-term, remote workers.
The variety of opportunities is expanding: While gig jobs have classically been reserved for industries like marketing and design, the gig economy is now expanding into almost every industry.
Consider the medical field: NPR’s All Things Considered reported that Covid-19 has brought about a severe nursing shortage but “created opportunities for nurses willing to take on the riskiest work. The booming gig economy has given some a chance to double their pay.”
As a gig worker, be sure to monitor changing regulations. Some states are pushing a change to the definition of “contractor” so certain rules (such as minimum wage and benefit regulations) apply to all gig workers. In 2020, California passed the long-fought Proposition 22, which exempted Uber and Lyft drivers from being classified as employees. While this impacts only a small niche of the gig community, many states will introduce similar legislation in the next decade.
In a rule defined at the end of 2020, the Labor Department stated any gig worker can be considered a contractor. While states aren’t required to follow the federal rule on how gig workers are classified for now, the federal model will likely become a guide for states.
“[These] rules could solidify the use of independent contractors, including in manufacturing. Independent contractor arrangements benefit companies and workers by increasing flexibility and streamlining the human resources processes,” explained NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Drew Schneider.
The gig economy will grow bigger than ever In 2021
In 2021 the gig economy is no longer limited to rideshare drivers and copy editors. Gig work is touching every industry and giving workers an enormous breadth of options for building their professional experience. Follow these tips to leverage your gig work to catch the attention of recruiters or build a reputation to get even more contract opportunities.
Your resume is the best tool you have for your job hunt. For expert guidance on tailoring your resume to your current career goals, reach out to the pros at RedRocketResume. You can also follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career tips and information to help you keep your resume polished and focused!