Small, short-term projects could help pay the bills, boost resume

Maybe it’s your house payment. Maybe it’s food for the kids. Or maybe it’s that you’re getting a little stir crazy. Whatever it is, you need to find a job. Now. That’s where the odd job comes in.

It’s been around forever. Whether it’s babysitting your neighbor’s kids or power washing the bottom of pools, the odd job has been the perfect way for people to get out of the house and make some quick cash.

In recent years, with the help of the recession, more and more people have been turning to odd jobs to help ease the strain on their wallets. For every job out there, there are seven other people competing with you for the same position so the odd job might be the only way for someone to have some kind of income.

But where do you even find some quick work? Websites like are a good start.

Started less than two years ago by filmmaker Jeremy Redleaf, the website began as an idea for a Web miniseries in a brainstorm session and went on to become something bigger. The site allows people to view posted gigs as well as post odd jobs they need done. Millions of folks have already visited the site to find a way to make a little money. Redleaf has seen a wide array of people visit the site.

“The most traditional people doing odd jobs have been artists,” Redleaf said, “but now I see those who are overqualified or older people who are adding to their egg.”

He’s even seen people make their entire living off of odd jobs.

There is definitely a job to satisfy any taste, some being a little more out there than others. Redleaf tells a story about an advertising agency that had to let go of a lot of people but then had a client coming in for a meeting.

“They needed to hire seat fillers for the meeting and had them look creative,” Redleaf said.

Not everyone can live off odd jobs for their sole income. Whether you’re in between jobs or just making a little extra cash, you’ll most likely want something more stable in the future. When you go out to find that next facet of your professional career, should you include the odd jobs you’ve done on your resume?

Susan Britton Whitcomb said that you should pause before doing so. Career coach for over 20 years and author of “Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer” (Jist Works, $18.95), Whitcomb thinks that an odd job can be helpful if it’s targeted to a specific employer. You have to frame the job you did for your potential employer and show them how your work can benefit them. Make sure that you always have a clear picture of who will be reading it.

Vicki Salemi, author of “Big Career in the Big City” (Jist Works, $12.95), thinks that adding an odd job to a resume as a space filler is the same as someone who graduated from college a few years ago putting down that they were a lifeguard.

“You always need to think of your brand,” Salemi said.

How is adding the work you’ve done going to build your brand and make you more attractive to a company?

The fact is doing odd jobs really might make you more desirable. There has always been a stigma that odd jobs aren’t cool, that they’re beneath people. In the past few years, it seems like that stigma has hit the road. Redleaf thinks the recession has had a lot to do with that.

“It has forced people to open their eyes a little bit,” he said.

And he’s not the only one that sees odd jobs as respectable.

“It shows how no job’s beneath you,” Salemi said. “Ask me to roll up my sleeves, I’ll do it.”

Whitcomb thinks that companies are more open to new ideas about work.

“There has been a big shift in employer receptivity toward odd jobs,” she said.

She was recently in an airport and overheard a man talking about someone he was going to hire. He had only held a steady job for a few years but the man said that didn’t matter now that people were moving around so often.

Odd jobs afford the people that do them other opportunities besides some walking around money. Networking is a major benefit that comes with the territory. Redleaf says that you never know the people you are going to meet. One day, you could be babysitting for the head of a company. The next day, you’re working for them. Whitcomb thinks that having a good attitude during the workday can payoff.

“You never know who that employer knows that can connect you,” she said.

On top of networking, the odd job has one other great advantage.

“You can have fun with it,” Salemi said.

Redleaf thinks that it’s a great way to step into someone else’s shoes for a day.

News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like