Since the recession began in December 2007, nearly 6 million people have lost their jobs. As well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an additional 9 million Americans are working part-time but want to be working full-time – that's a 70% increase since 2008. Whether it's due to losing a full-time job, having hours cut or fearing a possible layoff, people are increasingly looking for side jobs to supplement current income or temporarily replace lost income.
If you're looking for a second job, you may be pleasantly surprised at the available options. With companies looking to reduce costs in a tough economy, more businesses – across all industries – are looking for part-time, freelance workers or contractors instead of hiring full-time employees. Your side-work options are no longer limited to the typically lowest-paying job sectors including food services, retail sales, and entertainment. According to FlexJobs' CEO Sara Sutton Fell the top 10 "flexible job" categories (jobs that lend themselves to working from home/telecommuting) and would offer good second job possibilities in today's economy are in:
- Computer & IT (information technology)
- Internet and eCommerce
- Web & Software Development
- Education & Training
- Customer Service
- Business Development
If you'd like to bring in some additional income, don't rush to grab the want ads. Instead, you should first consider your expertise, background, interests and how you may be able to creatively leverage those to get a side job, particularly in one of the above areas. For example, could you:
- consult for companies within your field (that aren't competitors to your current employer)?
- teach a course at your local community college or adult learning center?
- pick up work as a freelance writer for businesses or trade publications within your industry?
- use your creative talents to do graphic or website design for small businesses or other freelancers like yourself?
- turn your favorite pastime or hobby into something profitable – i.e. computer repair, light carpentry or home repair, organizing, etc.?
- provide cold calling, basic bookkeeping or virtual assistant services for local businesses?
In addition to job-finding websites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com look into other sites geared toward freelancers, contractors and telecommuters like Sologig.com and eLance.com, and investigate job-finding sites specific to your industry. And before you take a second job, make sure it doesn't violate your contract with your current employer and be careful to factor in any additional tax consequences so you're not left with a serious tax bill. After all, the last thing you want after working two jobs is to get in trouble with your boss or the federal government!