The new college school year is starting up, and with college costs getting higher each year, one of the recurring challenges is trying to find jobs to help finance your education so you don’t have to rely so much on student loans. Jobs aren’t so easy to get these days, especially when you have a limited schedule that has to leave plenty of time for classes and homework.
One of the best ways to get around that is by finding jobs online. Just a few years ago, working online was mostly a novelty, but it’s becoming more common all the time. But one thing to be aware of is that online jobs look a lot different than regular jobs. And fact many of the best ones aren’t jobs at all.
Here are some of the more common online jobs and opportunities for college students.
1. Online customer service jobs
Many companies offer online jobs in customer service. These are generally salaried jobs with regular hours and specific responsibilities. The jobs may specifically be called customer service representatives, but may also be referred to as call center representatives, counselors or similar titles.
Most of these jobs are exactly what the name implies, and will be primarily customer interface jobs. You may be handling complaints, reservations, service coordination or even light sales.
More companies are using online workers than ever before, and some of the more prominent employers include American Express, U-haul, Amazon and Capital One. Insurance companies are also heavy users of online workers and it’s worth checking out just about any one of them to see what openings they have available.
To find out who is hiring online employees, go to the employment section of a company’s website and enter work at home, work from home, virtual or telecommute and see what jobs come up.
2. Online instructors
Education, training and instruction are moving to the web. From a consumer standpoint, it can be one of the best ways to find the widest number of instructors at the lowest possible price. Some companies are taking notice—one of them is education services leader, Kaplan.
If Kaplan is hiring online instructors you can bet other companies are, especially their competitors. Determine what your educational specialties are, prepare a resume that shows your skills and start searching around.
3. Blog writing
This is more about self-employment than having a job, but that’s where most of the online income opportunities really are. If you have a flair for writing, you can contact one or more blogs to see if you can become a staff writer. You can do this by starting out doing one or more guest posts, and if they work out for the blog owner, you can become a regular for pay.
You can also sign up with content providers, such as Demand Studios and Associated Content. If you’re accepted by them, they can keep you busy with a steady stream of writing assignments, as well as build up your inventory of published work.
In addition, various websites are also looking for content writers to provide permanent content or even marketing-type articles.
4. Online freelancing
There are quite literally millions of websites and blogs on the internet today, and many of them need all kinds of services. If you can do social media management, graphic design, website set-up, database management, web promotion or any number of other web related functions you can probably find enough work to earn at least as much money as you would on a part-time job.
You don’t have to worry if you’re not an expert—the levels of expertise by web owners themselves runs the gamut, from experts to novices. You can make decent money selling your skills to novices just by being proficient at what you can do. Price your skills reasonably, and you can find work in no time.
Contact websites that look like they can use your services. Many of them need help but can’t afford to pay high priced professionals. Others use foreign based virtual assistants but would love to have a domestically based provider. All you need is a few clients and the referral machine will start kicking in.
5. Online selling
Do you have an eye for bargains? If so, you could make money selling online. Most people know about Ebay, but there are other sites where you can sell online. Amazon.com is one, but there are all kinds of niche sites coming up that allow you to sell products in much the same way.
If you can buy inexpensive items at garages sales, thrift stores or even from friends and family, you might be able to sell them online at a nice profit.
This can work well if you already have a blog up and running, or have the patience to build one and get traffic coming to it. Once you have a blog that’s bringing in at least a few thousand visitors per month, you can use it to make money.
There are ready made advertising and affiliate programs you can use to make money on your blog. Google Adsense is a complete package on the advertising side—basically all you need to do is sign up for an account, paste the ad code into your site, and you’re ready to go. It’s just about the lowest maintenance way to make money on a blog.
For affiliate sales, you can also use a program, such as Commission Junction. They provide a list of advertisers and products for you to choose from. Pick the ones most relevant to your site, and you’ll have another passive income source for your blog.
Still another way to make money from a blog is by preparing and selling your own e-book. Pick a subject you’re knowledgeable in, one that people are likely to pay to learn about, write your e-book then market it on your site. If you sign up for PayPal—and you should if you want to work on the web—you can use their shopping cart to not only collect payments for your e-book, but also to download it once they’ve paid. Again, this is an easy, passive way to earn extra money from your blog.
Do you notice that many of the best ways to make money online involve some form of self-employment? That’s something you should embrace, especially if you’re in college. Once you get out of school, the entrepreneurial experience you will gain from running your own business on the web will help you in more ways than you might understand right now. It might even be the basis of your life’s career!
Do you have experience working online? Can you share your experience?