Monday, March 30, 2009

Can You Freelance Your Way to Financial Freedom?

With the state of our economy, many are considering alternative ways of earning an income, while maintaining their industry expertise and credibility. Freelancing seems like a viable option, but I wonder if its really "all that" and is it for everyone?

I've heard a lot about freelancing lately, so I asked several people about their freelancing experience on various sites (,,,,, & other sites).

Bob Kalsey
Writer, Director; Owner, Bravura Films, Inc.; Communications Consultant shares his experience:

" I've been registered at since March of 2003 and have not won a single contract from that site. Is it me? Perhaps. In the last two years I've responded to bid requests 34 times; 28 of those times the posting expired with no award. Only 6 of the projects were awarded to any bidder. Few of my responses to bid requests were actual bids. Most were requests for further information about the project (not one of which were answered), and some were advice to the requester. I receive a couple of bid requests a day from and rarely is there one I can take seriously. does not have a "writer" category, but lumps writers in with translators. So about half the requests I receive are for translation services. This is a real fault of the system, but the company has ignored my suggestions that they make a change. Most of the other requests are from people who have a "great blockbuster idea" for a movie -- and want someone to write it for them in exchange for a small percentage of the mega-bucks they expect to make by selling the screenplay to a producer. Others are from people who want a writer to collaborate (for free) on their life-story for a sure-fire best-seller. Some of my responses to these "employers" have been to suggest that their notion of how the film and publishing industry work is seriously flawed.

Maybe I'm unkind. But it's this kind of ridiculous freelance opportunity that results in so many of the bid requests expiring without award. The bid awards I've read about at this site have all been ridiculously low, likewise the budgets specified in the rfps. One recent job posting was for a series of twenty 2-minute video scripts for some on-line movies. The total budget was "under $250." Doesn't seem worth the effort even to respond to that posting. I had some hopes for, but now I view their Project Notifications only for amusement.

Links: "


Ramesh Kumar
CTO chimes in with his experience on the topic:

"I experimented with elance, guru and Rentacoder was very user friendly and could bid successfully for some projects, in personal front. "

(were you reasonably compensated?) "No. The rates are far below the realistic prices. The people quote prices that are not feasible for any genuine person. They may be offering as this is extra and not main income. Whatever comes extra may be fine. "

(Would you freelance again?) "If prices are reasonable and if the buyers see the merit of the coder and their experience, it would be better. Most of the buyers seem to be interested in the lowest bids. And there are some fraud buyers, who take the work and dispute saying that they are not happy and the site even supports the buyers. "

(Which freelancing jobs/sites would you recommend to others?) "None"

"Ramesh The Human Search Engine"


Megan Lynch
Creative Consultant at Audio Messaging Solutions, LLC has used Elance...

"I use Elance for side work. I've made some extra money there, and the overall experience has not been too bad. It is a lot of work to search through projects to find serious buyers and then formulate winning bids, but I think I'm doing pretty well so far.

"I have had some buyers balk at my bids, but a couple of times I've convinced them that they're better off paying a higher price for better quality. There are a LOT of low bids and many come from outside the U.S. where the dollar is worth much more. The rates are also very dependent on the type of project. I always take time to explain to the buyer exactly why I'm bidding what I'm bidding. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they're looking for the cheap way out."

"The best thing about using the web for freelance work is that I can work when I have time. My least favorite thing is that I can't rely on any kind of steady income from it. I suspect that if I were to make a concerted daily effort I would be able to generate a more steady workload, but since I have a regular 9-5 that's not really feasible."

"I would recommend Elance to others if they have enough time to figure out the best methods of the site. There is money to be earned but you really need to be able to spot the buyers who look for quality over price/quantity.

Links: "

I'll share more Freelancing Experiences in my next post!

Your Comments are Always Welcome!

Happy Networking!


Job Spot Seattle Founder
"Seattle’s Exclusive Online Job Network Since 2006"

LinkedIn Groups:
Job Spot Seattle:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Got The Job Fair Blues? Just Go! You May Find The Un-Expected...

Lately, I've heard a lot of negative about job fairs. Particularly how there are "too many" job-seekers and not enough jobs at the events.

That may be true, but even if you don't get a job right away, going to a job fair is a great way to network and bond with other "job challenged" professionals like you! That being said, I was excited to attend WaMu Center's Career Services Job Fair on 3/25.

In addition to seeing other recently laid off WaMu colleagues, I met several potential employers!

Some Seattle-area Staffing Agencies in attendance were:

Kelly Financial Resources
Wimmer Solutions
Ajilon Office
Accountants Inc.
Hansell Tierney
Volt Technical Resources
Volt Services Group
Creative Cirlce
Law Dawgs

E-mail me if you'd like contact details/names for any of these companies. (e-mail @ post end)

The Un-Expected...

Though I was excited to attend the job fair, part of me thought it might be depressing having so many other "job challenged" folks in one place.

To the contrary, it was a motivating, empowering, and bonding experience!

Besides potential employers, I saw many former WaMu co-workers. It was a reunion of sorts; everyone getting together like old times! It was a bonding experience; we were all in the same boat; actively "looking" for work. We exchanged greetings, business cards, and caught up with each other on happenings since our recent lay off.

What's Next?

Did I get a job offer yet? No, but I exchanged numbers with potential employers.

Job-seeking is a process, similar to dating (and eventually getting married). I didn't get a marriage proposal a week after meeting my husband. It took time.

Finding a quality job takes time too!

For now, I'm going to stay patient and positive. I'll stay in touch with my network and (try to) stay away from negative news.

I hope to see you at the next event! The Career Fair on April 22 at WaMu Center.

Join me on Job Spot Seattle on LinkedIn

or check my blog again soon for more event details.

As Always, Happy Networking!

- Terry

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sharing: for Job Posters and Job Seekers!

I shared details about being launched yesterday,
Job Posters: Get your Jobs Posted (indexed) on by Tweeting your Job!

For Details, visit: Tips @

Happy Networking!

- Terry (Twitr_Recruiter on

Job Spot Seattle -

LinkedIn Groups:

The Best Job Ever!

Most of us, including me, want to "love" our jobs because its where we spend most of our time (life). I'm always curious to hear about people's jobs and how they got into their field because everyone's story is different and interesting!

In my ongoing research of jobs and industries I reached out to gain insight on this topic from other working professionals with the following questions:

1. What's the best job/title you've ever had?

2. What were your key responsibilities in the role and which did you enjoy most?

3. What education and/or certifications were required to qualify for the role?

4. If your "best" role is your current role, is it a result of strategic career planning?

5. If yes, did you partner with a mentor or career counselor to develop your plan?

Final Question:

6. What advice would you give others with an interest in pursuing the same job/career?

Here are a few responses:

M. Joyce McMenamin - "Chief-of-Quite-A-Lot" weighs in, keeping it short and simple with her reply:

"I'll answer one of your questions.

Q: What's the best job I ever had? A: All of them."

- Thanks M. Joyce!

Cristina Gibson - Operations Manager at Protocol Communications shares:

"My first job, my boss always said find something to do so you always look busy no matter what, best lesion I every got and it gave me work ethic."

- Great advice Cristina!

Nelsene Toriano - Engineering Consultant gives insight about his experience with start-ups:

"The best job I ever had was with a start-up because it allowed me to do whatever to complete the objective. The next best job is the one I have now...a start-up of my own. For the same reasons. I felt corporate america stifled me."

- So true Nelsene, many find corporate America isn't for them. Congratulations on your starting your own company!

Felicia Hsieh - Project Manager, Web Programmer, Marketing Manager, and Jack-of-all-Trades shares her work as a Sr. Project Manager at AT&T:

"My best job as a Sr. Project Manager was in leading the first successful nationwide DSL service deployment at AT&T CERFnet from scratch in 6 months. My team built out the networking infrastructure and developed a complete customer-facing service offering. Kudos goes out to my team, who deserves the credit for realizing this network.

I love being put in dynamic environments because it puts all of my experiences and knowledge to the test. My education had a moderate contribution to the success of the project, and it was my willingness to try something new that I found this opportunity."

- Felicia, you seem to bring a lot of positivity and empowerment to your role and the roles of others, as evidenced by your willingness to acknowledge your team and work enviroment! Thanks for sharing!

Denise Cicchella, MBA, CIA, CFE, FLMI, ACS, - Director - Construction Audit at Control Solutions International shares why her best job is her current job:

"My current job is my best one. My boss believes in me, I have the freedom to run the show, within realms of good business sense, and no one is overlooking my shoulder every step of the way. I did not look for my current job, they looked for me. The fact that I wrote the book on my area of expertise was really what sealed the deal for me.

I admit it is also one of the most stressful jobs I have ever had but the stress is a good stress. I have to be professional at all times. I do public speaking in my job and I thought that would be the hardest part but I have come to really enjoy it and it is a new fave of mine. So if anyone needs a speaker, check out my profile and please let me know."

- Denise, it sounds like you've got it all; thanks for sharing!

Ron Borland, Process Management Consultant at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Details his best job experiences, shares insight and some helpful advice for others:


I've had a wide variety of jobs, frequently working multiple jobs concurrently. In many cases I was not actually hired for a specific job, but because of my attitude. I have now had five full-time jobs where one of my first tasks was to define the job I'd be doing. It's been a blast!

Two examples: I was hired the day after my first interview with the company. When I showed up for work, my new boss asked me what I knew about a topic. I admitted I knew nothing at all about it. He told me to research it and bring him a paper in one week detailing how I would modify what we were then doing to incorporate the best practices I learned about in my research. When I presented the paper, he told me to go do it. That became my job for the next year.

For another job, the day I reported to work, my new boss showed me to my desk and then told me he was leaving for two weeks of vacation that same day. When I asked him what I should be working on while he was gone, he told me he was sure I'd find something to do and left. When he came back I presented him with a marketing plan for the department and information about new areas where the team could really add value to the company. Both my recommendations were implemented, and I was given the task of expanding the department's scope of operations to match my recommendations.

Now for the funny part, in neither of the above cases did my official job title have anything to do with what I really did during the first year of my tenure with the company.

The positions I've enjoyed most were not the result of mentoring or career planning. They were due to the fact that I have had such a broad work experience in many fields and am able to take what I learn in one situation and apply it to others.

I am also very good at translating between tech speak and business speak, so am frequently put into postions where my primary role is to make things work more smoothly for others.

My advice to anyone wanting "the best job ever" is to learn as much as you can about as many things as possible.

Stay fairly current in five or more diciplines.

And, above all, be flexible: Be ready to change direction at a moment's notice. The world will notice and appreciate the fact that you are the one who makes necessary and positive change really happen."

- I couldn't agree more Ron, thanks for sharing!

Jon Van Volkinburg, Chemical Engineer, Biotechnology & MBA Candidate Weighs in with his thoughts, touching on each point decisively:

"1. What's the best job/title you've ever had?

Associate (current title) - My primary duties are of a chemical and process engineering nature, but my general job description is "whatever we need you to do and whatever you feel needs to be done." There's not many of us here, so, in general, if you aren't doing it then it's not getting done.

2. What were your key responsibilities in the role and which did you enjoy most? When I was a "Chemical Engineer" as well as "Process Technologist" my duties were to develop, improve, and troubleshoot pharmaceutical processes. That was a lot of fun. I do that now to some extent, but I do that and more. Still, I like figuring out how things work (or why they are broken) and the fix and improve them. This includes the businesses as well as sophisticated machinery.

3. What education and/or certifications were required to qualify for the role? Chemical Engineering degree, the rest was learned by doing; project management, quality engineering, and statistics were some of the skills I had to develop. In order to contribute more I am working on my MBA.

4. If your "best" role is your current role, is it a result of strategic career planning? My current role is my favorite, and it was not a part of strategic planning. I was laid off from my last job and not many people want to hire an engineer getting an MBA, since it sends a mixed message. They either want an engineer or they want an engineer who has his MBA.

5. If yes, did you partner with a mentor or career counselor to develop your plan? When I was laid off I met with career counselors to help define a career path. Unfortunately, those paths were not available at the time I needed a job and still are not available due to the economy. However, I have continued to meet with them and have found mentors in my current role. This has lead me to reevaluate my career objectives and the manner in which I wish to utilize my education and background. I think that sometimes we need to figure out how to make opportunity with what we have rather than plan out a path and follow it. Career management should be a dynamic and ongoing activity.

Final Question:

6. What advice would you give others with an interest in pursuing the same job/career? Be patient, network, and get involved in the industry learning as much as you can. In general, for anyone pursuing any job/career it is important to never stop learning and growing as an individual, strengthening your offerings. "

- Great info, Jon - Thanks!

Hamish Taylor - Consultant & Coach shares the satisfaction he finds in his current role:

" current one. Always was and always will be as I make the most of the opportunities. Must say that I prefer what I to do today to what I did before, but again that was always the case as well - that I believe is defined as progress. What is consistent is that I enjoy working with smart people - both as colleagues and as clients, so them I say a big thank you!

Regards Hamish.
Links: "

- Thanks Harnish and everyone for your insightful replies!

Now, a little about my best jobs!

Out of sheer luck, my first role after The U.S. Marine Corps was Front Office Coordinator at a San Diego Staffing Agency in 1997. Little did I know that my acceptance of that $8 an hour job would be my foot-in-the door opportunity to my lasting career in the Staffing & Recruiting Industry!

Active Duty marine was my best non-civilian job. I gained diverse experiences from the military! I sometimes miss the excitement of firing live rounds on the rifle range and running 5-7 Miles a day in combat boots and camoflage fatiques with fellow marine platoon members.

My memories of being a marine are surpassed by my passion for recruiting, social online media, networking & keeping up with the latest industry-technology!

That being said, Being a Recruiter is the Best Job Ever!

As Always, Happy Networking!

- Terry

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Were Your Best/Worst Recruiter Experiences? (Replies & Article)

I recently asked this question on LinkedIn and wanted to share the replies:

During a Job Search, Most of Us Work With Staffing Agency Recruiters or Corporate Recruiters in the Application, Interviewing and/or Hiring Process. What Were Your Best/Worst Recruiter Experiences?

After reading replies (and posting a comment) to last month's NYT's web article:"Google Lays Off 100 Recruiters" (link @ end), I began to question experiences job-seekers have with recruiters in the job search, interview and/or hiring process.

---- Background ----

I share these LinkedIn answers and comments on my Job Spot Seattle yahoo blog to help members become more successful. Please answer publicly if you'd like to be quoted, Feel free to include a link to your webpage. If you want to answer but have your name left confidential, please state this in your response.

-- Question --

Think back to your best and worst experiences with a recruiter and share your replies to the 5 questions below. Answered candidly, these questions may shed light on potential issues and best practices.

* Exclude identifying recruiter & company names
* Include if Agency or Corporate Recruiter (company-employee)

1. What was positive about your experience with the recruiter?
2. What was negative about your experience with the recruiter?
3. What was lacking that could have made your experience better?
4. What suggestions would you make if the recruiter asked for your feedback?
5. If you spoke to that recruiter's boss; what would you say about the recruiter?
(Good, bad or otherwise)

NYT article link with comments:

Here are the non-confidential replies I received:

Ken Walker, Supply Quality Manager in Seattle says:


I had an experience today with a recruiter that I believe is my worst. There were two positive elements in this experience the "Hello my name is...." and "Have a nice day". I feel that the rest of the converstion was pretty unprofessional. He first told me that he gotten my information from a posting. He then started to tell me how bad the information from was. He then proceded to ask me what my salary was in my last position. When I told he proceded to comment on how carefully I had read the requirements and that the listed salary was below what he had put in the posting. I told him that I realized my qualifications were close to what he had posted and I would be will to negotiate the salary. He quickly replied that there would be no salary negotiation, what he posted would be the salary. He then requested a Word file of my resume, which I immediately sent . With in 30 minutes he called back a procedes to lecture me about needing a resume that told a "story" and it had to be a chronological resume. He said he was not going to "read through all of that to find out what I had accomplished". I had changed from a chronological resume a couple years ago as I received a lot of negative comments about the chronological format and that my accomplishments would stand out more in a different format. I then sent him an old resume in the chronological format. He called back about 2 hours later and wants to use this old resume to present me to a client. I am still considering telling this recruiter not to present me to any client as I do not feel he has a professional approach. I need a job, but I am not sure that his unprofessional approach will be an asset for my job search.

- Ken

Brad Carlon, Senior Account Supervisor says:

Hi Terry,

The industry I work in relies heavily on recruiters, and I get called at least once a week. Some annoyances I find: The SAME recruiter calling and introducing himself to me. Keep better records - you should know we spoke previously and you should be able to reference that discussion. On the topic of keeping records, I notice some recruiters don't take good notes and always come back with opportunities that are not in my desired geographical area or not in the type of company I want to work for. I have told the same recruiters multiple times that I do not wish to work in New York City, yet the same ones always call with opportunities in – you guessed it – NYC! There a few quality recruiters that I maintain contact with because: 1. They know the type of opportunity I would like and only call when they find something 2. They know where I live and how far I am willing to travel (I suspect they may even use Google maps to see how far I would need to commute) 3. They are friendly, cordial and I actually enjoy speaking with them I actually had one recruiter leave me a belligerent voice mail asking that I return his call and let him know if I am not interested so that I can stop wasting HIS time!
- Brad

Mark Richards says:

Terry, I have worked with recruiters as a client, candidates and running a job transition group. I've put my thoughts on recruiters on my website designed to help job candidates to be more effective.

Mark Richards
CFO at Reshare & Alvenda

Please share your thought or comments as well!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Replies to my LinkedIn Question: What Books Would You Recommend to Job-Seekers...

I recently asked LinkedIn users to share books they'd recommend to someone recently laid off. Here are the replies to my questions:

If you could recommend two books to someone who's recently been laid off, what would they be?

In the virtual sea of career management and professional development books available to job-seekers, which two would you recommend? I personally recommend:

1. "Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change" by William Bridges
2. "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

Thanks for your help! Terry

---- Background ----
I will take these LinkedIn answers and comments and share them on my Job Spot Seattle yahoo blog: to help members become more successful in their job search. Please answer publicly if you'd like to be quoted, Feel free to include a link to your webpage. If you want to answer but have your name left confidential, please state this in your response.

------ Answers ------

Ariel Nievera Owner, Ariel Consulting Inc. and Computer Software Specialist

Start being active and call your senators/congress representatives. No amount of training can help an IT unemployed professional. The only way to fix the problem is to cancel all guest worker visas and send them home. These are guest workers on H1b and L1 visas, they are not immigrants. America has a choice to start helping Americans first before anybody else. If Obama cancels these visas it will open up jobs in Information Technology, Engineering, Architecture and Science. Obama should also give tax benefits for those companies that bring back work into the US.

David Pinkley The Resume Sage. What does your resume say about you?

Terry, What a good question. Here are two recommendations from The Resume Sage: 1. What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. Because it's a classic for job seekers. 2. Any author that helps you relax - Jane Austin, J. K. Rowling, Robert Ludlum. (Insert your favorite author here.) I personally prefer James Michener. The longer the book the better. Because you need an escape from the frustrating and sometimes intense moments during your job search. -David (Site is being upgraded now, but will be up again tomorrow.)

Andy Robinson
Executive Coach - Helping Leaders Excel and Deliver Maximum Value. Helping Leaders Successfully Navigate Career Change.

Two books that I would highly recommend to anyone who's been recently laid off include: Liz' Lynch's excellent book on highly effective networking practices and processes -- "Smart Networking." Frances Cole Jones' book -- "How to Wow" -- which offers strategies and tactics for effectively presenting your ideas, persuading your "audience," and perfecting your image. I'm recommending both of these books to my existing Career Transition Coaching Clients. Visit my blog, Career Success! at which offer a weekly review of RECENTLY RELEASED BOOKS highly relevant to career transitions and career development. See also: All the best....

Remy Lang Data Storage and TSM Specialist at ING

None. I'd recommend people to go out and find a job, build a network, study: anything active and constructive to increase the person's chances to get back to work.

Marty Schnoor Senior Training Specialist at USDA

Stregthsfinder2.0 by Tom Rath Do Put your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham Both have online instruments to allow you to individualize the books "prescriptions" If nothing else it will give you an idea of what you are good at and help you decide what you want to do.

John S. Rajeski
APAC Business Development / Marketing Professional Photographer Global Citizen

Good day Terry, 1) "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl - a brilliant book about humanities' capacity to use suffering(s) as the basis for positive change (his inquiry was largely spurred whilst being in a concentration camp during WWI - which eventually became the basis for the Third Major School of Psycho-Therapy behind Freud and Jung's work). 2) "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters" - an excellent career development resource for conducting a successful (non-conventional) job search. I hope these help, John S. Rajeski

Daniel Bloom SCRP, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
6 Sigma Certified Human Capital Professional seeking opportunity to assist HR to move to the Strategic Partner Table

Terry, Have several recommendations for you 1) As others have said Marcus Buckingham's book 2) Find Your Perfect Work by Paul Edwards. It has a short survey in it which is almost uncanny in the results it develops. 3) The Mark Hansen Trilogy: The Aladdin Factor, Dare to Win and the Power of Focus.

Tim Holloway VP, Engineering at The Gaming Krib
Considering current sentiment, I'd skip the self-help stuff and get copies of War and Peace and Ulysses. It's going to be a long haul. Might as well improve your mind. Not that I've anything against self-help books. Just never found them to be that much practical help.

Joe Hafner
Personal Branding and Career Development Consultant
Great book about the changing world of work, what is valuable in this transition and how to improve your marketability: A Whole New Mind (by Dan Pink).

Kiyomi Mizukami
Executive Assistant to 3 Chairmen/CEOs & Executive Producers w/ 8+ yrs of progressive responsibilities@Sony, MGM, & Fox

I'll suggest a couple that are directly related to careers and some that address more intra-personal topics. 1) Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer - It's hands-down the best book about how to sell yourself, be good in meetings/interviews, conduct effective networking, and she shares insider business etiquette and tips. 2) Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi - A book about networking and finding and maintaining your professional contacts or relationships. 3) The Speed of Trust by Covey - A book about how to be a great leader (and employee) and what it means when one is or isn't. 4) Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach - A book about practical advice on finances and saving. While one is job hunting it's a great time to sit down and do all those projects one means to, but never does such as reviewing finances, health insurance, living will, etc. 5) What Should I Do with My Life by Po Bronson - A book of true stories on how and why people chose their careers or changed professions.

Hope you find these answers helpful!

Happy Networking!

- Terry

If you have a moment, please visit Job Spot Seattle and WoVEN on LinkedIn:
Bookmark and Share

Blog Talk Radio

Job_Spot_West_Coast at Yahoo! Groups

Job Spot Seattle on Yahoo! Groups

Twitter / TwitJobSearch

craigslist | all jobs in seattle-tacoma

Plaxo Badge