I get that question a lot and the answer is "yes", headhunters are well aware that some job seekers are disguised as self-employed. In fact, many job seekers are so well-disguised that their own friends and acquaintances don't know they'd drop the self-employed subterfuge and accept a "real job" in a heartbeat.
I can't help you if you aren't honest with yourself but here's my advice to people who may not be getting the benefit of word-of-mouth referrals to potential employers because their "I'm starting my own business" ruse has worked too well: Go to my archive and read my last two posts. Your Linkedin profile can still say you are a self-employed consultant and you can still hand out business cards but it's time you come clean with your network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. You can only exploit employers' clear preference for candidates who aren't total strangers to them (see what I mean when you read my last two posts) if you get introduced by a mutual friend. That won't happen if your friends all think you're prosperous and happy as a self-employed consultant.
"But if I land some contractor work or some short-term consulting gigs isn't there a chance that one of my clients will hire me full-time?" many ask me.
Yes, of course, clients sometimes hire their consultants full-time but this is a tricky high wire act to walk because, as any headhunter will tell you, employers are like insecure teenage boys who won't ask the pretty girl to the dance until they are sure her answer will be yes. If you're too convincing as a prosperous, happy consultant your clients won't ask you to work for them because they are afraid you'll say no.
Here's the bottom line for job seekers disguised as self-employed: Whatever you say on your Linkedin profile, make sure you read and comply with the advice I gave in my last two posts.
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