How to Keep Your Job in '09 by Working Like a Freelancer

Freelancers have never known job security, so their work style is now a lesson for all.


Is hanging onto your job one of your big worries for 2009? If so, you're not the only one.

It seems no one feels really safe anymore. But don't despair. Take a cue from a segment of society that has never enjoyed much employment security—freelancers.

Freelancers know that the key to keeping their paychecks—and their sanity—is proving their value to their clients every single day. They never forget that they need to consistently be a client's best "employee." They're always looking for ways to promote themselves. They know they can't afford to get too comfortable. They are basically always looking for a job, and that is where their strength lies.

Here are some more tips from freelancers:

  • Know the market rate for your skills.
  • Build a high profile through networking.
  • Keep your certifications current.
  • Keep a cushion of money set aside, just in case.
  • Get all agreements/promises in writing.
  • Establish authority in your field. (Write articles, keep a blog, attend conferences.)
  • Have a long-range career plan that you are constantly re-evaluating.
  • Working like a freelancer makes you sleep better at night because you are always ready to bounce back from a job loss. Plus, ironically, working like a freelancer makes you such a stellar employee that you may be less likely to get laid off in the first place!

    Either way, you don't need to just sit there worrying. Use the proven tools of freelancers.

    Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009 (but available now for pre-order at Amazon!). She blogs at


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