Throughout the most recent employment drought, many professionals have been making ends meet through a variety of freelance gigs and part-time jobs. Some people enjoy the security of working two, three, four or more jobs—figuring if they lose one gig, they won’t lose all their income. Others find job juggling to be a hamster wheel: It’s hectic, and the work isn’t necessarily leading anywhere.
Whether you’re working multiple jobs by choice or necessity, here’s some advice for turning your part-time jobs into the career you want.
Maintain Your Long-Term Vision
It’s easy to lose sight of your target career when you’ve been taking any job to pay the bills. Make sure you have a 5-year plan in place. Then regularly reevaluate what you’re doing to make sure you’re making progress on that plan.
Build a Job Portfolio
Connect the dots between your vision and your jobs. How do all of your income sources relate to your overall career path? Then try to create a narrative that says you’re a professional with a wide range of useful experience. Good part-time jobs should give you some skill or opening that will help open other doors.
Make Time for a Job Search
Even if you need the income, don’t take on too many jobs if they keep you from pursuing your career. Some people think they can work 70 hours a week, earning as much as they can, then get around to their real career when their time frees up. But when is that going to happen? Keep up your job search!
Stay Current in Your Industry
Join industry associations and network at every opportunity. It’ll help your career to get additional training, to stay up on innovations and to show an employer you’ll be ready to go on Day 1 when you’re hired.