Have skills – need cash

Q. I was a health care manager for years in Boston. Then I decided to
work in international health and lived overseas for a number of years. I chose to return to Boston in time for this serious economic recession. I’m networking, applying, interviewing, checking websites, etc. While I’m waiting for a job offer, I need to make some money. But temp agencies see my resume and can’t help me. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to pay my bills?

A. This is a great question for all job seekers. What can I do to earn money while I continue my job search? I know you didn’t mean to imply you were “waiting” for an offer, and you meant to say while you were conducting a full scale search using all your resources.

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Assessing your skills is an initial step in all job searches, and completing a similar assessment as you look for contract work or short or long term projects can help you become more effective selling the results you can deliver, and the organizational support you can provide.

While I am sure this economy is not the welcome back you had planned for, I hope you are beginning to see more activity in the health care market. Until you find the right full time opportunity, try and identify the skills you bring which can be compartmentalized into projects that organizations may need completed. Many organizations have hiring freezes right now. They can not add to headcount, but there is a significant need for additional work to be done. And if it is following a lay off, there may be an ever greater need for additional support to complete work, or find temporary solutions while projects are reorganized.

As a health care manager, can you identify times when there were greater needs for high intensity work? Maybe a Joint Commission visit increases a needed for organization of paperwork. Do you have those skills? You lived overseas – do you have language skills that can be utilized for some kind of project?

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Do your network colleagues know you are available for projects? Let them know, and give them ideas for the types of work you would be available to do. Examples I have seen include a former recruiter looking for her next role, screening candidates for a small business owner looking to hire.

Are you in development? You may look at commencement related projects that may need an extra set of skilled hands, or large scale events held by an array of philanthropic organizations looking for experienced talent. Certainly they would love volunteers who may support your networking, and at another level they recognize contracting for more senior abilities will be worth the cost.

How are your technology skills? Can you help a company design or complete a special project? If you are a marketing person, consider offering the ability to complete templates for internal communications. Most organizations have projects they have not been able to get to. Design it and sell it.

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