What online jobs are available to a college student? We’ve seen this question asked over and over again. Most college students are either not motivated to find online work or are just not creative and resourceful enough to find work. If you’re motivated and resourceful, then we’ve got some tips for you on where to look for online jobs that are readily available for college students.
Website Content Provider / Article Writer
If you’re in college, then you should be good at writing. And if you’re not, then this is a great way to get better. Use the skills you learn in college to produce website content and articles for others. To accomplish this, you can take one of two different approaches to finding clients.
The first approach is to write about something you know about. If you are really into a particular hobby, video games, or have any other strong interest you can use your expertise to get paid. To do this, you’ll want to go to a freelance site like elance.com and setup an account. Build your profile and list all of the niches that you have expertise. Also, search for any prospective employers that may be looking for articles in the niches you chose. Have a writing sample ready so that you are ready to make a bid. Also, spend some time looking around the website to see how much other people are bidding for the type of online job you want. This approach may or may not find you work right away. If not, here’s the next option.
Be proactive with your search. There are hundreds of thousands of sites and blogs that need content. Go find sites that you would be interested in writing for and contact them directly. Use their contact forms to email them something simple like:
Hi, I am a college student looking for a job writing articles for websites like yours. I have expertise that relates to your website and I am offering to write you 5 unique articles for your website, each at least 500 words. In return, I would like to recieve $50 to help pay some of my college expenses. If you are interested, please reply with a list of some of the keywords that you’d like these articles to cover. I can also provide you with a writing sample.
The second approach you can take to get paid for your writing is to write about something other than your expertise. It is more time consuming because you have to do research on each topic, but isn’t that a requirement of all college writing anyway? By taking this approach, there are lot more jobs that you can bid on, as you can write on almost any topic needed. To follow this approach, use the same techniques as above, including an account at a freelance site and also contacting websites directly.
Social Networking Promoter
Most college students are really good at social networking with sites such as facebook and twitter. The older generation, of which many are the owners of the websites you are targeting, often have a hard time understanding how social networking fits in to their overall marketing strategy. Also, it takes time and effort to get people to interact with your social network.
If you’re good at social networking, use your skills to help someone that’s not. In other words, come up with a business plan that can help websites get their visitors more interactive with their site. Look on freelance sites to see if people are hiring social marketers and get your bio updated on these accounts. Also, use the direct contact method to try to find websites (that you are also interested in) that will pay you to manage their social networking. Look for sites that either don’t have a facebook page or that have a dormant facebook page. When marketing directly, send an email something like this:
Hi, I am a college student looking to earn some money to help cover my school expenses. I noticed that your site does not have much interaction with social networks such as facebook or twitter. I have experience working with these sites and would like to manage your social network for a low monthly fee of $50. For this fee, I would find and post at least 10 interesting and related articles on your social network pages each month. This will increase the number of fans and followers, which can also increase your monthly traffic and help you place higher with Google and other search engines. Please let me know if you are interested and we can get started right away.
Okay, this is an example of something to write to prospective employers, but you should modify it to be more engaging and creative. Maybe offer a consultation on their social networking strategy or something that will get their attention. Try a few approaches to find out what works best.
If you are in college you are also probably more computer literate than the generation before you. This may mean that you already have some web design skills. If not, you could probably learn them pretty fast. If you think this would be a good online job for you, make sure that you also have some good design skills, and not just good programming skills. Make sure that you become familiar with different website software programs such as Dreamweaver and WordPress. Offer to do your first design job for free, or in return for a copy of the software you need to complete it. Then hone your skills and use your first job to get more jobs. Get a bio on a few freelance websites and cite your references. It is difficult to get started with web design, but if you make one client happy, they will likely use you again, or refer you to others.
You should also be proactive when looking for clients. Visit lots of websites and find some that look outdated. Contact them directly with an email that states something like:
Hi, I am a college student looking to earn some money to help with my schooling. I have been working on my web design skills and would like to offer to help you redesign your site. By updating some of the graphics and fonts, as well as rearranging the content in a more engaging manner, I believe your site could be more engaging for your visitors. I am available for $10 an hour, which is a much lower fee than professional web designers charge, and I can show you a sample page that uses some of my ideas if you are interested.
Of course you’ll want to tailor your email to whomever you are sending it. Make sure and include some specifics about each site you are contacting so that they will feel compelled to respond.
Marketing Services / Backlink Developer
Similar to the other online jobs for college students listed above, jobs providing marketing or backlink services can be found through both freelance sites and by direct contact with website owners. Basically, site owners are always starved to get relevant and quality backlinks to their websites. It is a time consuming process that takes a long time to pay off, so if you find a job doing this you can make it last. Start by understanding how to get backlinks. Do your research, and when you’re ready to find a job, describe it using the term marketing services or backlink developer. They sound more important and will help you distinguish yourself from others.
Here are the main ways to get quality backlinks for your clients:
- Write short articles and publish them to a variety of article publishing sites (like ezinearticles). Include a backlink in the resource or bio section.
- Post comments on other blogs with a link to their site.
- Offer to contact other sites and offer link trades on their behalf.
- There are many other creative ways to get links if you do your research.
When you contact a potential client, make sure you include some kind of pricing mechanism in your offer. For example, you can offer to post 10 comments for $10, or write 5 articles for $50, or get paid $5 for each reciprocal link that you find. You can also offer to buy links or find guest posts on their behalf.
In summary, there are quite a few online jobs for college students, but they are all competitive and require some research and job skills that must be developed. Besides being creative and resourceful, you must stay motivated and continue to search for more clients. Don’t stop with just one job, but leverage each job you get to find more. After a while, the word of mouth advertising could become enough for a full time job if you desired. And who knows, maybe you could start getting other college kids to do the work while you work on finding new clients.