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ASK US WEDNESDAY: “I want to swap freelancing for an in-house role but no one will hire me”

by Leo Wiles
03 July 2019

How can I get employers to consider me for full-time roles when I’ve been a career freelancer for a decade? They don’t believe I want to be in-house. Steve

Before you start dusting off your resume, Steve, make a cup of tea and be prepared for a healthy dose of self-reflection. Because your first step should be to examine why you want to swap freelancing for an in-house role after many years of working for yourself.

For example, I’d be asking yourself: is this desire a knee jerk reaction to a crappy client or quiet patch? Could you turn things around in your freelance business – or have personal circumstances prompted your decision to see out that full-time financial stability (and the sick pay, holiday pay and super that goes along with it)?

If so, I get it. I’m sure many freelancers often crave that regular paycheck over the hustle and (all the other unsung roles that come with running a business). So if you’re convinced, it’s just a case of convincing hiring managers and job-posters.

Why job-posters might be hesitant

After a decade, it’s almost certainly the case that you’re used to working a certain way, at certain hours and you like having autonomy.

Job-posters who are reluctant to hire freelancers who want to make the swap to an in-house role may worry that you’ll struggle to work in a team or fit into a structured office environment. So it’s really important to think about the skills you’ve developed in your years as a freelancer and how these might translate to an in-house role. Chances are, you’re bringing skills that many in-house employees won’t have, so that can be a major plus.

How to land an in-house role

Hit up your existing contacts. As a freelancer, it’s a given you’ll be connected to a lot of people – probably many of those who are on staff. Don’t hesitate to let them know you’re looking for opportunities and ask them to connect you with relevant people or recommend you for certain roles, if that’s appropriate. Like freelancing, landing a good in-house role is so often about who you know.

Consider your skills and how they translate. If you’ve been successful in building a client base, that shows you have great communication skills and the ability to work with people. If you’ve never missed a deadline as a freelancer and are used to working with demanding clients or on tricky projects, that’ll bode well for working in a high-pressure in-house role, too.

Be eager about joining the team. It’s essential to show you’re truly passionate and committed to moving into an in-house role. You could also be transparent about your reasons for wanting to go in-house. I myself had a long salaried stretch when a bank manager made it clear that being freelance wasn’t going to cut it with their mortgage brokers. I told the publisher who interviewed me that I wanted to buy a house, was genuinely interested in the role and could guarantee I would stay for a minimum of 2 years. He hired me on the spot.

Would you swap freelancing for an in-house role – or have you done just that? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.

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