Finding the best way to earn money while pursuing higher education is not an easy task. With the rising cost of education and the cost of living, students often find themselves juggling work and school.
The job needs to be flexible enough to leave time for your schoolwork and lucrative enough to cover expenses while only working part-time.
Because of these specific needs, many students are embracing freelance work and the gig economy.
Gig-style freelance jobs can include those where you are hired for one task, short-term projects, or ongoing part-time work with companies who allow you to set your hours.
Due to the rise in virtual work opportunities and online marketplaces that connect businesses and freelancers, there are more options for gig work than ever. Let's take a look at some of the most popular and lucrative opportunities, and hopefully, based on your workplace strengths, one of them will seem like a good fit!
One of the best investments you can make in yourself is finding a job that will give you something on your resume to help you build your career after you graduate. Many colleges and universities offer opportunities for their students to work part-time through both on-campus and off-campus options. If approved, you should be able to apply for schoolwide job openings and those that fit within your educational field.
A work-study job may involve:
Working in a specific area of your college or university, such as the fitness center, computer lab, cafeteria, or library
Giving campus tours to new or potential students
Working as a research assistant related to your major
Working at a local nonprofit that is related to your field of study
The Federal Work-Study Program is available to students with financial needs and will help pair students with a part-time job, either on campus or off, while they finish school. You can contact your school's financial assistance office to see if they are involved with the federal work-study program.
Tutoring is another one of those jobs that can look amazing on a resume, especially if you offer to tutor related to your field of study. For instance, if you are in a STEM field, then tutoring children or fellow college students in math, science, or technology is a good option. Other popular tutoring subjects include English as a second language, reading, and preparation for college entrance exams.
A tutoring job may involve:
Helping students complete their assignments
Creating a study plan for students who may have fallen behind on their work
Brainstorming new ways to help your students understand complex concepts
Tailoring your lesson plan to the needs of a specific student or group
Teach strategies for note-taking and information retention
Virtual tutoring has risen in popularity in recent years. Tutoring is typically offered to students one-on-one or in a small group and can take place in person or virtually. You can find tutoring jobs in your local community by contacting nearby schools, letting your college or university know that you are available to tutor fellow students, or by signing up for a virtual tutoring platform such as ArborBridge, BookNook, or TutorMe.
Do you have an artistic side, and does creating graphics come naturally to you? Countless businesses seek content for social media posts, web pages, marketing promos, or other image-based materials. Graphic design work can be found as part-time jobs or contract work for one-off or short-term projects.
A graphic design job may involve:
Helping clients with developing and unifying their brand image by streamlining fonts and color schemes
Creating logos and other designs for marketing materials
Crafting social media graphics
Designers are typically expected to have a portfolio to demonstrate their work and be familiar with standard tools such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Freelance graphic design marketplaces that connect businesses with designers include Dribbble, DesignCrowd, and 99Designs.
Social Media Management
Do you have a knack for running your Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or Facebook pages? Did you know some people and companies would much rather pass all their social media handles to someone else to post content for them? This role may be the perfect part-time fit if you're a social media guru.
A social media management job may involve:
Developing a brand-specific social media marketing strategy
Creating and scheduling social media posts
Monitoring comments and interactions from followers
Reviewing analytics to see if current methods are working
Social media management falls under the umbrella category of digital marketing. Job opportunities in the digital marketing field can be found on general freelancing sites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and HubStaff. Believe it or not, social media channels themself, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, are also great places to connect with those looking for social media management.
Are you good at helping people with their computers or other technical devices? Many small and medium-sized businesses do not have the budget for full-time tech support and hire on-demand workers depending on their current needs.
A tech support job may involve:
Updating software on company computers
Responding to and troubleshooting connectivity and other network problems
Working at a help desk or monitoring online chats and responding to requests
Developing a plan for companies to stay up to date with their technology
Website pages, biographies, business mission statements, print marketing materials, blog posts, newsletters - what do all of these things have in common? Well, they all need to be written by someone, and that writing is often outsourced to freelance writers. If words come easily to you, a part-time job in freelance writing may be a good fit while in school.
A content writing job may involve:
Writing newsletter content for businesses
Crafting and editing website material
Creating and formatting text for print marketing materials
Producing regular blog posts on a variety of topics
To succeed as a freelance writer, you will need at least a few samples of your writing to share with potential clients. As you land your first jobs, you can build out your portfolio.
Food Delivery or Delivery Driver
If you have your own car, don't mind driving, and enjoy listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts to pass the time between deliveries, delivering food or other packages may be an excellent part-time job option for you.
A food delivery job may involve:
Picking up customer orders from local restaurants and driving them to the customer's home
Reviewing orders to make sure that they are correct before departing the restaurant
Balancing multiple orders at one time and following a tight schedule when on duty
Are you an animal lover? Many people who work long hours would love to have someone just let their dog out or take them on a quick walk in the middle of the day. There are even gigs where you can stay at someone's house and let their pet out for them while they are out of town. As long as you are going to school virtually or a client's home is near your college or university, pet sitting may be a perfect opportunity to earn some extra cash while being a relatively low-stress gig.
A pet care job may involve:
Playing with and taking pets for regular walks
Administering medication needed to pets
Feeding and watering pets
House sitting when owners will be gone for an extended amount of time
Pet care is one of those jobs where the best place to start may be to let people who live near you know you are available. However, if you need help finding opportunities, you can check out sites such as PetSitter.com.
If you are getting your degree in education or will work with children in the future, childcare may be the perfect part-time job to get some experience.
A childcare job may involve:
Providing transportation to or from school
Feeding, playing with, and otherwise caring for the children while their parents are away
Providing homework support for older children
Doing light household chores
Consider signing up for an account on one of the popular childcare apps such as Care.com, Sittercity, or Bambino. Most of these services let you select the age ranges of the children you are comfortable babysitting, as well as other household tasks you are willing to help with.
In addition to the specific sites mentioned in each field, there are general, flexible work sites that may be worth checking out to find work, including Flexjobs and We Work Remotely. As you can see, there are many options for finding work with a flexible schedule while you navigate student life, especially within the gig and side-hustle economy.
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