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Portfolio Careers


Enda Goodwin
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Portfolio Careers are usually built around a collection of skills and interests and offer flexibility, variety and an opportunity to manage your own career. Instead of working a traditional full-time job, a portfolio career offers multiple opportunities to work multiple jobs and employers, even within one or more professions.

The reasons for adopting a portfolio career are varied. Some do it for the variety and the ability to use different skill sets. Some fashion portfolio careers to achieve autonomy from a full time corporate career. Others are seeking work and life balance. In addition to offering variety and flexibility, the portfolio career can include service or pro-bono work.

An example of a person with a portfolio career might be a lawyer who works two days a week with one organization, teaches part-time at alocal law school, and has a consulting business providing legal services for not-for-profits.

Establishing and managing a portfolio career requires asking some tough questions up front.

  • Do I have the right aptitude, skills, traits, values and network to generate/create a portfolio career?
    • Aptitude – Work Ethic, Detachment from Worry, Able to think outside of the corporate box – into the pool of uncertainty – and opportunity.
    • Skills – What's marketable now – in size of projects I can be successful with now – and can I scale into larger projects as needed (additional contractors).
    • Traits – Perseverance – Able to find or generate Opportunity in Uncertainty
    • Values – Customers, Colleagues, Projects, Family, Self and Income all equally important?
    • Network – Do I have the acumen for networking effectively – am I conscious of/aware of how I will generate / source a network of clients/customers?
  • How well do I structure and manage my time?
  • How do I handle financial insecurity?
  • Am I willing to adjust my standard of living (if necessary)?
  • How will I provide for health coverage, time off?
  • Do I have a social network that supports me?

Resources for consultants, contract workers, independent contractors and freelancers

  • Aquent is a place for creative and technical professionals can find contract, project-based, and permanent work. Each job-seeker is assigned a "talent agent" who helps in your career management and client choices. You can search for jobs, sign up for an email job-alert program and submit your resume/application. Free to job-seekers. 
  • AllFreelance.com is a great site for freelancers, you'll find a central information base for freelancers to find everything that youcould need all in one place, including an online freelance e-zine, searchable job listings, resume services, and profile provider.
  • AuthenticJobs.com is a job board for Web designers and other creative professionals seeking full-time or freelance opportunities. Job-seekers can browse job listings or search by keywords, as well as subscribe to a job matching alert system. No cost of job-seekers.
  • TechFetch is a job board for IT and computer professionals seeking consulting and contract work opportunities, where job-seekers can browse or search job listings from recruiters. Company uses a search technology called FETCH to connect recruiters and candidates. Site also includes IT industry news and events. No cost to job-seekers.
  • elance.com is a worldwide freelance marketplace that includes proposals in business, computer, engineering, financial, medical, marketing, and much more. This site provides the resources for people to connect, communicate, and complete your projects.
  • Freelance JobSearch is where freelancers - currently more than 1,000 - can search for jobs and find freelance positions, as well as create an online profile and resume that potential employers can review. The site is also about trying to develop a community of freelancers - for networking and interacting with peers. Free membership.
  • Freelanced.com is a freelance social network in which job-seekers can search posted freelance jobs as well as upload a portfolio so that interested employers can find you. No cost to freelancers for basic membership; upgraded fee-based memberships also available.
  • Guru.com is a fantastic resource for IT, creative, and business freelancers and consultants. The site's mission is to empower independent professionals by providing the tools necessary to succeed. These tools include job opportunities, creation of your guru profile, career guidance, and support services.
  • The Jobble Network is where contract professionals seeking employment can meet with employers with contract jobs. Job-seekers can search for job leads (by job type, location, or keywords) or browse the 3,000+ positions. Registration required. Free to job-seekers.
  • KIT List is an email job posting service where employers and recruiters advertise permanent or consultingjob opportunities. No cost to job-seekers to join list.
  • OnContracting helps contractors looking for contract jobs with hard-to-find information to assist you in exploring and selecting who you want to work for - and networking with recruiters at staffing companies who can help get jobs at preferred companies.
  • Shiftgig is a job site for service industry workers seeking a new gig -- in food/entertainment/hospitality industries in one of many major cities in which the site operates. Search for jobs and post your profile. No cost to job-seekers.
  • Sologig.com is a site that helps find Engineering and IT jobs.

Additional resources

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