Freelance Work: The Key to Closing the Experience Gap

FreelanceIt’s no secret that work experience is more than essential for any recent graduate job seeker.

After all, with the competition in the job market at an all time high, a recent college graduate with little to no work experience will more than likely not be considered for entry level position after graduation.

Nowadays, the so called “entry level” positions require at least 2 years of experience, sometimes more!

And yet, while the demand for internships has never been higher, the supply seems to be dwindling. There simply isn’t enough internships to go around. So, how does a college student gain experience without being hired by a company for an internship?

The answer to this Social Age career question: freelance work!

Yes, Freelance!

Do you really want to impress potential employers when you graduate? Instead of simply relying on summer internship experience, put yourself in a better position after doing freelance work 12 months out of year instead.

In essence, freelancers are not necessarily committed to a company for a specific period of time and they typically work under hours they set for themselves, providing services that have market acceptance.

I Don’t Know What Services to Sell

I know you’re probably thinking, “What do I have to offer as a freelancer?

Well, we can break this up into two categories, doing what you love to do and doing things relevant to your major:

Option 1: Doing What You Love to Do

This is the ideal mind set you should have when considering freelance work. Ask yourself, what is it that you love to do? What do you do in your spare time? If you could get paid to do something for the rest of your life, what would that be? For example:

  • You like to read? Great, you can be the eyes and ears for busy executives; you can read articles, blog posts, business plans, short stories, magazines etc. and then provide your feedback.
  • You like to write?  You can also write articles and stories for bloggers and influencers who may not have the time to write for themselves; or perhaps you can write press releases or business plans.
  • You like to design? You can serve as a web designer, graphic, logo and art designer for a company in need of such services but not ready to hire a full-time employee.

Keep in mind, even if these aren’t directly related to what you plan to do when you get out of college, it is still a great endeavor to pursue. This will allow you to work on skills such as handling clients, communication skills, time management, organization and more.

For any young professional, this is great experience!

Option 1: Relevant to Your Major

Are you majoring in a field that you plan on working in after you graduate? Are you looking for as much experience as possible? Then look for freelance work within your major. Here are some examples:

  • Business: If you’re in a business related major, there are a ton of opportunities for freelance work. Maybe you can do excel spreadsheet work for clients, write and business plans, manage someone’s books as an accountant, create business related presentations, etc.
  • Mass Communications: Look for You can do things such as voice overs, write scripts or provide feedback on oral presentations, speeches and written content. You may even be able to help with speech delivery and nonverbal communication.
  • Digital and Social Media: The possibilities are endless here, from designing a content and social media strategy for a new start-up to being the online face of a company or non-profit.

I hope you got the idea here. My point is simple: no matter what your passions or course of study, there are opportunities out there for you to freelance.

What if I Don’t Have the Credentials 

So let’s say you’re completely sold on the idea of freelancing, great! But deep down you’re thinking ,“I don’t have experience or credibility.”

Here’s the best part: to be a freelancer, you don’t have to be certified. There are no tests you have to pass. No hurdles to jump.

You do not have to be a complete master at whatever it is you decide to freelance in.

If you find yourself in the position in which you don’t feel like you have enough knowledge in a certain field but you would like to pursue it then here’s your solution: learn it!

That’s right, go out and learn. Nowadays, Youtube can teach you just about everything you need to know these days. I kid you not, go and search for yourself! You can also learn just about whatever you want on sites like Lynda.com and Udemy.com. For the price of a fast food meal, you can take a course on just about anything you can think of.

Where Do I Start 

Now that you’re sold on the idea of freelancing and you know where to learn the information necessary, now its time to find your first client! Here are a few websites that will get you going:

Fiverr: This is pretty much the ultimate freelance website. All services are done for a $5 minimum. If you are a total beginner, this is exactly where I would start promoting my services. Once you hit a certain level, you can charge a premium for your services through their bonuses and extras.

HireOwl: Think of HireOwl as a job board for freelancers. Almost all of their postings are short-term projects, the perfect place to show off your skills and gain great experience. The best part? HireOwl matches you with clients, takes care of payment… everything.

Upwork: Formerly known as Odesk and Elance. This site is also great for freelancing in just about any field you can think of. Upwork allows you to charge clients per project or on an hourly basis.

99designs: If you’re a graphic, t-shirt or web designer, this is your place to be. Using this website, you can build solid reputation, gain some great experience and make some decent money.

Get Started

Remember, the point of freelancing is to gain as much experience as possible while also acquiring the soft skills that employer’s desire. No longer do you have to hope for an internship every summer. Start working on your craft now and put yourself ahead of the pactk

 

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Secrets of the Hire!

 

Secrets of the Hire

 

Dayvon AuthorAbout the Author: Dayvon Goddard is the founder of Secrets of the Hire, where he focuses on professional and career development for college students and recent graduates through job interview consulting, scholarships, resume consulting, personal branding and LinkedIn workshops. To date, Secrets of the Hire has assisted 1100+ college students and recent graduates find and keep a career they love. Follow Dayvon on Twitter!

 

 

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