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Top 10 Freelance Jobs for College Graduates

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If you need to figure out a job that still allows you freedom and flexibility, an entry into the gig economy may be a wise decision. Currently, freelancers represent up to 35% of the entire US workforce and that number is growing steadily. Whether it’s the appeal of working your own hours, being your own boss, or tackling a variety of different projects to stave off the drudgery of cubicle work; freelancing appeals to many. In fact, if you have the skill and a laptop to spare, freelancing may just be the field for you. There are thousands of jobs available to freelancers, and dozens of specialties that are in-demand.If you’re a recent college graduate and looking to carve out your own path, or simply earn some extra money on the side, consider these top 10 freelance jobs for college graduates.

1. Software Developer

When thinking of software development positions, most would think about working for Microsoft. However, many companies rely on freelance developers, and demand isn’t showing signs of slowing. Software developers command an average hourly rate of about $27.00 an hour. However, this rate increases depending on the type of work and your location. Many freelance developers charge over $100 per hour on some projects. If you’re just starting out, expect to be closer to the average rate. However, as you build up your portfolio you can begin to take on more lucrative jobs. Full-time software developers can expect a salary between $75,750 and $123,000 on average.

2. Internet Marketing Specialist

Digital marketing is a big freelance area of opportunity. If you have skills in PPC ads, search engine optimization and marketing (SEO / SEM), or in social media; internet marketing is a great place for you. Companies often hire freelancers for these roles at a rate of $16.33 per hour. In a full-time capacity, internet marketing specialists may command between $50,601 and $62,968.

3. Web Developer

Recent grads with computer science, IT, or programming degrees are well suited for web development work. Different from web design, a developer is focused on the back-end rather than the front. If a website were a car, developers build the engine and let designers worry about the paint job. Freelance rates for web development start at around $20.00 per hour. Like software development, this rate may vary based on other factors. Full-time salaries range between $68,606 and $125,631.

4. Freelance Writer

Graduating with an English degree is more helpful than you thought. Content is increasingly driving marketing – and companies need help putting together stories about their brands in the form of blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. On average, freelance writers earn around $24.70 an hour, with potential for more, especially with technical writing ability. A full-time copywriter can expect an average salary of between $50,000 and $72,000 per year.

5. Graphic Designer

Job seekers who have studied graphic design are in high demand. Companies of all shapes and sizes rely on these talents for everything from t-shirts to marketing materials. Freelance graphic designers start at an average hourly rate of $16.66 per hour. Full-time salaries range between $69,223 and $91,942.

6. Community and Customer Service Specialist

People who hold these roles take to social media to field customer questions, or are the first line of tech and customer service support, or might help build up a brand’s online community on social media sites or on a company’s own website. These roles might be a combination of a little customer service, a little marketing, and a lot of being able to do it remotely . While customer support roles have been around forever, the addition of social media and online forums to the mix has caused this position to evolve. The average salary hourly rate for an online community manager is $17.30 per hour. Full-time community manager salaries range between $52,531 and $79,830.

 7. SEO/SEM Specialist

If you’ve studied digital marketing, there can be a lucrative freelance path towards providing SEO / SEM support. Freelancers in these roles develop and manage search engine optimization and marketing initiatives, including: PPC campaigns, keyword research and analysis, remarketing campaigns, and more. Hourly rates for SEO & SEM Specialists average around $17.11. Full-time positions range between $87,558 and $122,375 on average.

8. Administrative Assistant / Support

Administrative positions are ideal for recent grads who are looking to get their feet wet in the industry of their choice. In this role, freelancers support the executive or division they are working for. Common duties include managing communications, setting appointments, setting calendars, data entry, and other generalized office duties. The average freelance rate for an administrative assistant is $15.16 per hour. Full-time salaries range between $44,498 and $56,793 on average.

 9. Marketing Research Assistant

A marketing assistant typically works with data collection and analysis, often from market research efforts. These may include surveys, competitor analysis, focus group results, etc. Assistants may conduct the research themselves, or collect and analyze results for further use. This is a good ground floor opportunity for recent graduates with marketing or business degrees. Freelance marketing assistants command an average hourly rate of $15.00. Full-time salaries range between $50,601 and $62,968.

10. Email Marketing Specialist

Email marketing specialists focus on using email to communicate with customers. In addition to designing and executing email campaigns, they also growing and segmenting customer lists for more specialized outreach. Freelance email specialists earn an average of $21.75 per hour. Full-time roles may command salaries between $56,560 and $72,720.

Ready to Start Your Career?

If any of these great freelance careers have caught your eye, head over to 24 Seven Talent to be connected to some of the top companies looking for candidates just like you. Whether you have years of freelance experience or are just starting out, we will help place you in your dream position. And for additional tips, be sure to check out our Salary Negotiations Resource! *All salaries generated from 24 Seven’s 2017 Job Market Report and Salary Calculator.