It goes without saying that the pandemic transformed the way we work. That said, the wheels of change were already in motion long before those fateful days in December 2019. Remote work, for example, was becoming more widely accepted. The pandemic accelerated these wheels of change, and now, many professionals are taking advantage of a more flexible approach to the nine-to-five.
Dubbed “digital nomads”, these workers are riding the crest of the wave of radical change in the way we work – whether that be how, where, or for whom. This new class of highly mobile professionals are looking to have wider worldly experiences and seek out opportunities to expand networks. For those that were working freelance even before the pandemic, this isn’t a new concept – but it’s one that’s gaining traction.
As a result, the market to get work is becoming all the more competitive. If you’re a freelancer that’s been previously capitalising exclusively on their in-person connections, it’s high time to start diversifying. Here’s how effective use of digital platforms could take your professional network to the next level.
Understanding the digital nomad demographic
Many people have preconceptions about who a digital nomad is or what they do, which in fact, can be misleading. Even digital nomads themselves might be surprised by the diversity of the demographic; once the lifestyle choice of a certain breed of hip programmer, now, professionals of many ages and specialisms are embracing the nomad lifestyle.
There are a variety of reasons that these workers decide to become digital nomads. For example, many value flexibility. According to data gathered by Buffer, 67% of digital nomads said flexible working hours were the main reason they made the move. A further 61% said it was because they wanted more free time due to flexible hours and eliminating commuting.
As the pandemic sent thousands to the home office, this lifestyle came within reach for many more. Concurrently, businesses switched on to the benefits of hiring remote workers; by cutting on-site staff numbers, they could save big on real estate, resources, and even staffing costs. Subsequently, the digital nomad demographic has exploded. Since last year, there has been a 131% increase in digital nomads in the United States.
These new nomads are mostly Millennials, making up 79% of the nomad population. However, baby boomers are fast joining their ranks; many are looking to embrace the opportunity to travel that they may have missed in their youth, and now, the post-pandemic landscape is giving them enhanced freedom. However, they need to be on their game to stand out as competition hots up.
Who are nomads working for?
Whereas tech used to be the domain of the remote worker, now, other industries are embracing the boom. That said, tech and ICT is still the leader. According to the MBO Partners report on digital nomads, 21% of digital nomads reported working in tech. This makes sense, considering computer literacy is a defining feature of digital nomads. The same survey showed that 86% reported they use technology to make themselves more competitive in their work.
Coming in second was creative industries, which represented 12% of nomads. Third was education and training, while sales, marketing and PR were fourth. The more interesting statistic is the nature of this employment; 75% of those were self-employed or freelance, as opposed to working remotely for one employer.
To find projects, these workers commonly use reputable talent platforms. The rise of these digital talent platforms has made the digital nomad lifestyle more accessible still, coming hand-in-hand with the broader shift towards remote and hybrid work practices. With these partners, nomads can source work quickly and compliantly in a format that’s a win-win for employers and freelancers alike.
What do digital platforms offer?
Now, workers are waking up to the reality that tasks can be undertaken in the time and location that suits them. Using digital platforms to work from abroad is no longer a fringe lifestyle choice but an accepted career path for people looking for richer life experiences and new ways of working.
Indeed, as digital platforms make adopting the digital nomad lifestyle within the reach of many, the market is becoming more crowded. Moreover, freelance nomads aren’t the only ones using these marketplaces. Many are:
- Part-time contractors.
- Full-time workers looking for a side hustle.
- Project-based workers.
- Those looking for new opportunities within the traditional nine-to-five paradigm.
An extended stay in a foreign country is a far more enriching experience than the standard package holiday. You can get to know new cultures, improve your language skills, and make invaluable professional connections. For experts, this can give an added sheen to your CV that your competitors might lack.
Meanwhile, companies are also switching on to the benefits. As companies are shifting towards looking for help outside of the traditional hiring structure, they are realising the effectiveness of tapping into a talent pool that reaches around the world. Digital talent platforms help companies with every aspect of the talent acquisition process. This can include:
- Searching for talented professionals.
- Project management and implementation.
- Legal compliance.
Furthermore, digital platforms offer companies a way to ensure that they are getting the very best of the talent available. As workers advertise themselves and their skills, they also keep updated with their latest jobs. Companies use this to have greater clarity on who they are employing with in-depth reviews on workers.
On the other hand, workers can use this system of reviews to develop a profile that really allows them to stand out from the crowd. But, in a market that’s concurrently increasingly lucrative and competitive, how can digital nomads leverage these platforms to their full advantage?
How to make yourself stand out on digital platforms
An important way to make sure you’re in with the best chance of getting quality projects is to make sure you’re in the right community. Although the basic concept might be similar, not all digital talent platforms are created equal. Generalist platforms are likely to have lower-paid, ad-hoc projects for small businesses.
Meanwhile, high-calibre specialist networks like Outvise enable skilled professionals to pitch for projects with big-name clients. This is because Outvise network members go through a stringent screening process, which means our clients know they’re selecting from the cream of the crop. If this sounds like you, you can sign up here.
Once you’re in, you need to set yourself apart. The golden rule is making your profile stand out. In a competitive environment, coming across as a bit same-same is a no-no. You need to offer something uniquely insightful or innovative and making your profile distinctive will certainly help you get your foot in the door. Here’s how it works on Outvise:
- Make sure you set up your five skill families: Adding your skill families is important in helping us match you with the most suitable opportunities on our platform. Make sure you focus on your most relevant areas of expertise.
- Update your profile picture and title: Our clients want to see you and know your expertise, which is why the profile picture and a catchy title will make your profile shine!
- Add your relevant experiences: This is a great way to highlight your expertise. Make it relevant by including the top projects that you have worked on.
You can find out more about building your Outvise profile in this short video. Once your profile is up and running, you can start applying for projects. Finding projects that are right for you is made even simpler thanks to our skill-matching algorithm. If something catches your eye, the process is simple: answer key questions and leave past references; if shortlisted, have an initial call with one of our recruiters; progress to the interview phase; then if you’re selected, sign the agreement and get started!
Get projects and get out there
The pandemic shook things up in terms of how we search for work, complete projects and maintain working relationships. Talented people everywhere are realising that they can work on their terms, from almost anywhere they want. Meanwhile, companies are coming to realise the value of diverse talent that’s always looking for new experiences, working hard, and taking the path less trodden.
Talent platforms are a way for companies to attract the kind of person that looks for adventure. The kind of person that is willing to break the norm and explore international and personal boundaries is the kind of person companies need these days.Talent platforms provide a conduit to these talented individuals. Digital nomads are here to stay and what they need to do is demonstrate that they’re the kind of people these companies are looking for. Step one is placing yourself in good company on a platform like Outvise. Then, with these tips as a foundation, you can get the show on the road.