In life, things happen. Here's how to make money fast when you find yourself in a tight spot.

Working toward your ultimate career goal requires a long-term strategy, but sometimes urgent financial situations require short-term action to ensure you're still getting an income.

While you might be tempted to abandon your long-term career goals for whatever generates income, there are easy ways to incorporate both your short- and long-term goals. Start by focusing on making money as your immediate goal, while still keeping your long-term career goals in the back of your mind.

Look at your finances

To start making money, there are a few things you need to do now. First, determine your immediate financial needs and figure out the minimum amount of money you need to bring home each month to make ends meet. Take a critical look at the past few years' worth of expenses and create a budget for yourself so you can figure out how much you need to start making.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, look into consumer credit counseling services. Getting help and advice from a credit counselor may relieve some of your financial stress, allowing you to focus your efforts on finding a rewarding position. A credit counseling service can also help you plan an overall debt management strategy where you make monthly payments to the agency and they pay the creditors on your behalf.  

Evaluate your skills and identify short-term positions

Once you have your finances sorted out and understand how much money you need to make,  it's time to determine your overall job-search strategy. Create a list of potential short-term employment opportunities that fit your skill set — while trying to remain focused on a long-term position in the future. 

For example, you may have a variety of customer service experience and skills from previous positions that set you up to land a job in the service industry or at a call center. Of course, finding a position that utilizes the skills needed for your dream job is great, but when it comes to urgent financial situations, a position that helps create a cash flow is preferable.

Use your local temporary employment services to help you identify temporary and short-term positions to apply to, considering all options. Now while you should try to find a position that will fit your overarching career narrative, some of the roles available may not be directly adjacent to your long-term career goals — and that's OK. Sometimes you need to take a job that will help you earn money in the short term so you have the financial cushion to continue your main career search.

Consider something unconventional  

Whether it's working for gig companies like Uber or trying your hand at freelancing, there are other options besides a conventional nine-to-five you can consider. These options will allow you the flexibility to continue your main job search while also generating money you need to get through this part of your journey. Have a knack for writing? Look for freelance writing opportunities. Know your way around a camera? Look at stock photo pricing options or start offering your services to the public. Like to drive? Consider getting into ride-share. 

On top of these options, you can also try selling items you don't need anymore online. If you're on the craftier side, you can even start using your hobbies to make some income using sites like Etsy. Income can come from anywhere — you just need to get a bit creative.  

Don't forget to network

Don't be afraid to lean on your professional support system; now is the time to shout from the rooftops that you're looking for a new position. Previous colleagues, friends, and family may be aware of open positions you can apply for, but they can't help if they don't know you're looking. A referral can be the difference between landing a job and generating income right away or continuing the job search.

Also, take your networking online. Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and that you're reaching out to your connections there.

Remember your career goals

While you devote time to finding a job or source of income to help in the short term, make sure you don't forget about your ultimate career goals. Landing a new position may come as a great relief, but it may not be the rewarding career move you've always dreamed of. Once you've secured your new position, you can turn your attention back to your long-term career goals. Use this position to gain new skills or refine transferable skills you already have — helping you get one step closer to your dream job!

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This article was updated in April 2020 by Danielle Elmers.

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