More employers are continuing to do more with less, which is not necessarily great news for job seekers. If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, you probably realize that the traditional job market is still tight. The good news, though, is that growth of online workers (consisting of independent workers, freelancers, and contractors who work remotely) actually doubled in the first quarter of 2012.

Are you a veteran searching for a new job? Have you been unemployed long-term and can’t seem to find any opportunities using your skills? Listen up: freelancing might be your solution. Here are several reasons why:

1. Ability to work outside of your local area

Job seekers hoping to land a job in their local area can experience immense amounts of stress, particularly if the area they live in has a small amount of openings in their industry. Many job candidates simply cannot afford to move across the country for a job, particularly if they’ve been unemployed for several months. By freelancing or working virtually, you’re able to work for a company located anywhere in the country — or even the world. This opens up tons of opportunities when you take away the stipulation of location…and is a great way to grow your professional network beyond your particular area.