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Lerone Graham

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4 Tips To Capitalize When You’re A Free Agent

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When you're a free agent, it can be a situation filled with as much stress as invigoration.

This is a time of uncertainty, which can be frightening -- but it's also rife with opportunity. 

If you'd like to make sure you're capitalizing on this opportunity, rather that succumbing to the pressure of having to find your next gig, it's of the utmost importance that you figure out what strategies to lean toward. 

Use these tips so that you can use this time between employment in order to better yourself and make yourself more attractive to the market. 

1. Learn, Learn, Learn in the Interim -- And Get Something To Show For It

The problem with people who've been at one position for a long time is that they become complacent. People who aren't challenged in their line of work burn out easier, according to studies. 

To make sure you land somewhere worthwhile, you need to hold yourself accountable for remaining challenged. 

Seek certifications that will not only be a feather in your cap, but also make more competent at your craft. A marketing expert might pick up some video editing tips and tricks, while an IT professional might want to go after more certifications. In a time where some 60 percent of positions will soon require a college degree or other professionals certifications, you need to always be learning. 

Make sure to receive a certification that will boost your employability. 

2. Practice Pitches For Every Situation And Build Your Marketing Materials 

You need to be able to shoot your shot in any situation. 

Business is an around-the-clock way of life now, so "work mode" is all the time. When you schedule a meeting or have a chance encounter with someone who can make things happen in your life, you don't want to kick yourself for not knowing what to say. 

Practice a pitch and know your subject matter in and out, in addition to cultivating your personality and figuring out what exactly you bring to the job. 

On top of building your conversational skills and creating convincing arguments, make sure you have quality marketing materials printed up and ready to go. Business cards are still important, but make sure they stand out. 

Instead of having the old-fashioned card, use mobile app barcodes, fancy colors and fonts, design metal business cards, include a headshot and anything else that might garner attention. Today's graphic designers can work wonders, so you don't want your card to get lost in the mix. 

3. Invest Time And Money To Attend Conferences And Events

Showing up to a 9-to-5 or handling a project is one thing -- but the real relationships are cultivated at events and conferences. 

At these conferences, everyone is there for the same reason, so it takes the pressure off of feeling uncomfortable asking for something or striking up a work-related conversation. Instead, networking is expected, so you should have no problem mixing it up with people who matter the most. 

Another benefit of conferences is that there is plenty of opportunity to learn where your industry is headed and to meet people you otherwise wouldn't have access to. There's always social media, but creating an in-person connection is valuable beyond words. 

4. Stir Some Energy By Building A Following

In order to really make yourself an attractive candidate in the interim, think big picture. 

It's one thing to cultivate skills for a job, but it's another to make yourself a brand. With social media, you can reach the entire world, not just a tiny segment of the population. You can whip out your iPhone and talk to the world in seconds. 

Since video is the medium of choice these days, do yourself a favor and start documenting your journey during this period. Not only will you be able to exchange notes with people, you'll build a following that you can monetize or network with every step of the way. 

So use these four tips and this period of time in your professional life will be as fruitful as possible. 

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