There are many reasons to choose one particular freelance job over another. As a student who is already juggling a hefty workload, you want to dedicate your extra time to an experience that will help you out in the long run.
That said, there are many different career benefits to consider when choosing your next freelance job.
Here is a list of quick steps to help you sift through the many options available to you.
Four Steps to Choosing a Successful Student Freelance Job
Step 1: Narrow Down What You Want to Accomplish
It makes obvious sense that in order to meet or exceed your goals, you have to establish them in the first place. But this is often easier said than done.
Is your motivation more financial or experiential? If it’s the latter, is there a particular gap you’d like to fill on your resume? Are you looking for real-life experience in a specific field, such as business or law, before applying to graduate school? Do you see an opportunity to develop a relationship with a potential mentor? Thinking through these answers will help you narrow down your choices considerably.
Step 2: Find a Deadline You Can Work With
Employers who are hiring students prior to graduation know that they’re not filling full-time positions. They’re going beyond their current staff and posting the job out of a need for additional help. Make sure that the opportunities you’re seeking have realistic deadlines that you know you’ll be able to meet. Even if you don’t end up seeking further positions at this company, one of the benefits of freelancing is working closely with individuals who can serve as references in the future. Since one of the quickest ways to disappoint someone is to miss a deadline, you want to make sure you have the right amount of time to turn the project around.
If you’re in the middle of studying for finals, you may want to find a job that includes an aspect with which you’re already familiar. This could be subject matter (social-media campaign planning), parameters (data analysis), or final presentation (PowerPoint), just to name a few. If you are fluent in another language—rather than in the process of learning it—translation might be one of the easier jobs you can pick up when you have less time. Always keep your workload limitations in mind when you’re picking your next job.
Step 3: Find Opportunities for Feedback and Ongoing Communication
Feedback is perhaps one of the most valuable things you can gain from a freelance job as a student. After all, these are learning experiences. But feedback needs to come at more stages than just the end.
When you’re communicating with a project manager, be sure to ask whether someone will be available in case you have questions throughout the process. Sometimes these managers will have a very clear idea of what they want from you. But they might forget to convey some element of their desired end product.
You should always be able to reach someone to verify that the steps you’re taking are correct. For example, let’s say you’re helping a firm with graphic-design work. If your contact isn’t able to provide you with a clear description of what the business hopes to convey through the design, how can you be expected to nail it?
Step 4: Review Financial Offers
Unless your motivation is purely to make some extra cash (refer to Step 1), you can probably afford to move this step to the bottom of your process. Learn-and-earn opportunities should be providing you with so much more than just a paycheck. But if you’ve narrowed your list down to a handful of options, this step can help you pick a winner. After all, a negotiable hourly rate is probably one of the factors that led you to choose freelancing over an internship in the first place.
When you’re ready to start your next freelance job, put these steps to use while perusing available listings
About the Author: John Lidington founded HireOwl, the leading student freelance work platform, to address the skills gap with our nation’s graduates. HireOwl tackles this problem both by providing students with experiential learning opportunities and by reducing the inefficiencies companies face in hiring students. Follow John on Twitter!