Working for Free Will Pay Big Time

When hiring managers are looking to fill a position, they put out a call for resumes, usually with a job post or a call to a staffing firm or head hunter. When they receive resumes, they usually give them each a quick glance and put aside anything that doesn’t grab their attention right away. Gaps between jobs is one reason that some hiring managers drop a resume. Even if you are the most qualified candidate, you can lose out and not even be given a chance to explain why there was a gap.

Now, there are many reasons why you can have a gap in work history on your resume. In this economy, unemployment is the most popular but there is also extended vacations, illness, death or illness in the family, maternity leave, just to name a few. Many times the leave is not voluntary and whether it is or is not, there are ways to fill in the gaps.

Today We’re going to talk about some of the reasons that you should work for free between jobs.

Jobs on a Resume don’t Mention the Hours

Resumes don’t mention is a job is full time, part time, paid or unpaid. All they say is what you did and preferably, what you accomplished. This can keep you in the running for your next job without getting passed over because of the gaps. If during an interview they ask you how much you were paid, you can tell them that you were underpaid but are currently looking for $x which is the value of your skill set.

If you are taking care of a sick relative, you can find a job for minimum days and hours that will keep those gaps filled.

LinkedIn Knows when you are Working

Recruiters are regularly searching LinkedIn to fill positions and like hiring managers, they often skip over the currently unemployed. Even more, they look for the active candidates on LinkedIn. By updating your profile with your “free” jobs and including summaries and skills, you keep yourself competitive in the eyes of recruiters coming your way.

You are More Desirable When you are Employed

Which leads to the next point, people are more desirable when they have a job. It may be that everyone wants what they can’t have and someone currently working for another company is a challenge worth winning. I think it is basic psychology that when someone is employed by company X, it means that that company X sees value in them and if they have value, I’d rather they work for me. If you are currently unemployed, they think that other companies don’t see any value in you because if they did, they would have hired you. I once heard that men with wedding rings are more desirable to women for the same reason (you can argue or agree in the comments below).

Get More Experience

Experience is always useful. Even if it is for something you are a professional at, more practice can make you better or keep you at the top of your game. If it’s not something that you are a professional at, new experiences can go a long way and help you out with future jobs. I was once offered a job because I knew how to use a rare program that I knew because I helped someone else learn how to use.

Your “Free” Boss and Company will Appreciate You

When you do someone a favor, such as working for free, they want to return the favor. Many times they are willing to go out of their way to help you out by teaching you new skills or connecting you with people that can get you your next job. After you leave, you will no doubt have new strong connections in your network that can help you out down the line.

Network with New People

While you are at your “free” job you will most likely meet a whole bunch of people on the job that you can network with and may be able to help you find your next job.

You May Turn a Free Job into a Paying Job

Companies hire employees to add value to their companies. If you prove that your added value is worth a salary, any company would be crazy not to hire you.

Nobody needs to know that you are working for free besides you and the person who gives you the job. Co-workers and especially recruiters never have to know your exact situation. All of these ideas can also be applied to temp jobs or any sort of temporary work that will fill those employment gaps.

Have you used any of these? How did they work out for you? Do you have any other ideas?  Let me know if the comments.

Image: Michal Marcol /