It’s difficult for a college student to take on a part time job with a full course load. Even if the job has relatively flexible hours that don’t conflict with classes, a last minute paper can really throw a wrench into your schedule. At the same time, with rising tuition and the cost of living, most students need some form of income. What about becoming a student freelancer? Freelancing gives you more control over the hours you work and the projects you take on, so working outside of business hours and even taking days off to prepare for tests or midterms is easier. Here are five careers that provide freelance job possibilities for college students.
1. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are administrative assistants who work remotely, supporting clients with typical office work such as compiling data, proofreading reports, and troubleshooting technical issues. Freelancing as a virtual assistant is somewhat less flexible than other freelance opportunities as your availability usually needs to match your client’s schedule. However, many employers in need of a virtual assistant are happy to accommodate a college student’s needs. Great sites to find clients as a virtual assistant include People Per Hour and Craigslist.
2. Content Writer
In the freelance world, “content” is anything created for a client with a language component. Content includes blog posts, articles, white papers, research documents, and many other formats. While it may sound excellent to work as a writer, be aware that much of the content these freelancers create is strictly outlined according to the client’s needs, and most of it is ghostwritten, so you will not receive credit as an author. On the other hand, you will be paid and have the benefit of a flexible schedule. Take a look at opportunities for content writers on Odesk and Elance
3. Internet Marketer
Freelance internet marketers help clients drive traffic to their web pages and social media sites by creating ads, deploying social media campaigns, and optimizing marketing efforts around core messages and effective keywords. This freelance opportunity is ideal for creative minds who also have a strong grasp on working with numbers, since internet marketers must track and show employers how a campaign is having an impact. Start a profile and let employers hire you as a freelance Internet marketer on Flexjobs and Elance.
Programming is one of the top freelance opportunities for students who have taken higher level computer programming courses, since it can be done from virtually anywhere at any time. Programmers who know Java and HTML are in particularly high demand, as are programmers who have some experience in writing apps for business. Guru is a popular site for employers to hire programmers, as is Dice, which is a job site specifically for the technology sector.
5. Graphic Designer
Graphic design is one of the most competitive freelance fields a college student can try to enter, since there are many graphic design freelancers in the marketplace. This tends to lower the value of projects, but since nearly every company and small business needs graphic design help for logos, marketing materials, and websites, there is work to go around. To be successful you should have a firm grasp on the principles of graphic design and layout, since even for lower cost projects rough work usually won’t be paid for. To get started, look for graphic design jobs on Freelancer, 99designs, and Coroflot.
Laura McPherson is a writer for Teacher Certification Degrees, a career resource site for individuals interested in starting a career in teaching.