Working from home has become a popular choice among many freelance creatives, including CAD services. Advances in telecommunication technologies continue to allow more and more employees to make the switch from working 9-5 jobs at the office to becoming their own bosses who work on their own terms.
However, those hoping to make the switch, such as industrial designers, 3D modelers, and mechanical designers, often find themselves at a loss for figuring out how and where they can find these lucrative opportunities.
So, how do you find remote work opportunities as a freelance CAD designer? Before beginning the search, there are a couple of items you need to tick off your checklist. Making sure your resume is up-to-date and that you have a high-quality portfolio will help you immensely when you begin to search for remote work. You may also need to obtain certifications for certain fields.
Once you are ready to start the search, you will have a wide array of sources and opportunities to find work through.
Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
Make sure your resume and cover letter are accurate and up-to-date with your contact information and latest work experience. Crafting a short professional summary on your resume detailing your achievements and interests can also help give your future employer or client a solid grasp over your professional experience and interests.
You will also want to list soft skills, such as your ability to communicate clearly and efficiently, as well as professional certifications and software skills in programs such as AutoCAD design services or VectorWorks.
It is important to keep the formatting on your resume and cover letter simple and clear. Make sure the font type, color, and sizes are uniform across all relevant sections. When listing various job duties under different positions, you will want to use bullet points to help make these sections easy to read.
Try to avoid repetition when describing your past job duties too. You don’t want to accidentally bore your reader with sentences that are repetitive in their construction or word usage. This can even be a turn-off for recruiters or clients, and they may pass over your resume as a result.
As you write and revise your cover letter, you will want to highlight achievements that demonstrate your skill in areas such as:
- Computer proficiency
- Ability to identify and solve problems
- Time management
Future clients and employers will not only be interested in your ability to thrive in these areas but also in your ability to explain how you applied these skills and used them to successfully complete various projects and assignments.
Once you finish revising your resume and cover letter, it may be helpful to read it out loud or have a professional work acquaintance read it over one more time before sending it out.
Build an Impressive Portfolio That Shows off Your Best Work
When searching for remote opportunities, you will be up against dozens of other candidates looking to take on new clients and projects. You need to be able to distinguish yourself from the masses and prove that you are the best fit for the position out of all of them.
Employers are going to expect you to provide a portfolio comprised of past work you have completed when you send in an application. That’s why it is important to take time to not only select your best work but to also be able to discuss why it was successful and how it helped your company or client.
Make Sure Your Files Are Organized and Presented Neatly
Photographers and writers wouldn’t dump a random assortment of photos and articles together without any strategy involved, and neither should you. You want to present prospective clients with a clean, well-organized portfolio that will make your work stand out. Unnecessary clutter or unimpressive work will leave a negative impression, rather than the positive one you were aiming for.
Start by picking out your best work. Maybe you had successfully used CAD to design electrical grids for an apartment building, or you created a model for a new park. Include a page that lists a short summary of the project, what role you played throughout the project, the skills you used to help you complete the project, and how the project positively impacted the client or company it was completed for.
When it comes to sorting your files, you will want to put your best work at the beginning and end. The work that you aren’t as fond of can be sandwiched in between. That way, you begin and leave with a strong impression.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make It Stand Out
Because you are in a creative field, it only makes sense to craft an enticing and well-designed portfolio. While you don’t necessarily have to go all out and create a portfolio worthy of being featured in trade websites, it should at least be clean and put together.
For instance, including sophisticated renderings of designs and layouts will give clients a clear view of your vision. A simple, easy-to-navigate layout can also make a huge difference in creating a lasting, positive impression on prospective clients.
Consider Investing Time in Building a Website
A website provides the perfect space to not only showcase your portfolio but to also field new job proposals from companies for free. Companies such as Wix and Squarespace provide free templates for building a website. You will want to use a clean, professional template that highlights your past work and achievements.
Including a form for visitors to message you through will make it easier for prospective clients to get in touch with you. Luckily, you don’t need to know advanced coding in order to include such a form. Most website forums will allow you to seamlessly integrate it into your website.
It is also worth investing in a personal domain name, such as www.johnsmith.com, to make it easier for employers to find you and to give your website a heightened sense of professionalism. Your website might not gain a large amount of traffic initially, so it is important to post a link to it on your LinkedIn, various job profiles, and resume in order to boost traffic and encourage people to view it.
Obtain the Necessary Certifications for the Field You Want to Work In
Most entry-level jobs require you to have, at the very least, an associate’s degree in drafting. Since CAD is an incredibly competitive industry, it may be beneficial for you to invest in further education and training. A bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree, can help you enormously in the long run. If you don’t have the time or money for another degree, then consider looking into a certification program. For instance, you can obtain a license in CAD drafting from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).
You will also need to be able to work with different types of CAD software. Familiarity with programs such as Autodesk and SolidWorks will open a wider variety of opportunities to you than if you were only familiar with one program alone.
See If There Are Remote Work Opportunities at Your Current Company
Once you have finished sprucing up your resume, organizing your portfolio, and updating yourself on the newest CAD software, you are ready to take the first steps toward becoming a freelance 3D modeling service.
Before doing anything else, it might be worth seeing if your current employer has remote work opportunities available. Don’t be afraid to ask them if it is possible to work remotely in your current role, or if anyone else at the company is currently working remotely. If you have proved yourself to be a valuable and hardworking employee, there might be opportunities in remote companies available for you.
However, switching to a remote, work-from-home job status may mean that you have to transfer to a different position and work odd hours. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to see what options your current employer might have for you.
Search for Opportunities on Job Sites
There are a variety of job sites available for picking up new gigs and finding new clients. Below is a list of websites where CAD freelancers have successfully found work in the past.
- Cad Crowd provides the largest freelance CAD community on the internet. For years, businesses have successfully connected with qualified freelance CAD designers for various projects under rules of strict confidentiality. On this platform, designers gain credentials by winning design contests. Those that win the most contests tend to receive the majority of the project offers extended through the platform. Individuals also have the option to upload 3D design portfolios and customize a designer profile to increase their chances of receiving 1-to-1 project offers.
- Craigslist.org offers a variety of freelance work outside the CAD realm. You can find everything from CAD freelance work, to dog walking opportunities, to house-sitting gigs. As a result, it may be harder to find CAD freelance work on this site than a place like Cad Crowd or Upwork. That being said, it is still worth scanning through to see if there are any CAD opportunities out there for you.
- Upwork.com allows businesses to post job listings for both domestic and international freelancers. Freelancers find work by submitting proposals for job listings, responding to invitations for interviews, and even receiving assignments based on their profile and work examples they provided.
- Angel.co is a website where startups and job-seekers can post and find various work opportunities. While some opportunities posted on there require you to work on-site, there is also a decent variety of remote positions posted on the website to look through.
- FlexJobs.com provides listings for both full-time and part-time opportunities. However, candidates have to pay $14.99 a month to use the service.
- Remote.com helps match job seekers with various types of companies. Users can apply to a job for free if their qualifications line up with the job’s listed requirements. One thing that’s nice about Remote.com is that the site displays a job’s compensation before you apply to it.
Work with a Staffing Company
Staffing agencies such as Creative Circle and Sequence Staffing are perfect for people looking for freelance work. Not only can they search for jobs for you, but they can also give you advice and tips on how you can revise your resume or how you can improve your interviewing skills.
You can either apply to the jobs listed on the staffing agency’s job board or contact them directly to help set you up with opportunities. The agency will then typically interview you in order to gain a better sense of the type of opportunities you are looking for so they can place you in a position or gig best suited to your goals and needs.
Make Sure You Are Constantly Networking with Those around You
You never know when an acquaintance or colleague might have a freelance work opportunity available. They may even able to refer you to someone else looking to fill in a remote position for a CAD drafting freelancer. If you decide to leave your current position, make sure you stay in touch with your co-workers and boss.
Attending networking events and career seminars is also a great way to meet new people in your field while learning how you can further your skills and make yourself a more desirable candidate. If you don’t want to stay holed up inside your house all day, consider looking into co-working spaces. You can rent everything from table space to your very own office. Co-working spaces also offer a unique opportunity for meeting and networking with people from various industries.
Turn to Cad Crowd for Help with Your Freelancing Career
Thanks to the internet, searching for remote jobs is easier now than ever. However, it is not without its challenges. That’s why Cad Crowd is dedicated to helping you build your freelancing business. Whether you need to turn your CAD designs into photorealistic images or improve your animations using 3D rendering services, CAD provides all of the necessary resources to help you succeed.