Freelancing in Grad School helped me to land a 6-figure job before Graduating

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By Angela Johnson

May 11 , 2020

Everyone in college and grad school is looking to earn some extra cash. Whether it is for grocery money, to help pay for school itself or to gain experience, working while you are in school it a must.

But how do you find the time to juggle your classes, dorm or home life, AND work a part-time job somewhere? No. For most people, the task of working at a store, business, or even on campus is next to impossible. Unfortunately, any job that you will have during this time will require many hours for little pay. Who has time for that?

There is a way that you can make extra money, gain valuable experience AND work your own hours.

Freelancing! I did it and want to show you how! Not only did it allow me to earn some much-needed cash but the experience that I received proved to be invaluable in my job search. In fact, I was able to land a 6-figure job EVEN before finishing my graduate program!

First things first, many recent graduates find themselves in a Catch 22 situation; they don’t have enough experience to get a real-world job yet they can’t get the experience because they can’t get the job. Have you heard this before from friends and classmates who have gone before you? Well, why not beat the system and get the experience you need to guarantee that you get that job immediately upon graduating!!

Freelancing is a relatively new term and for most people in older generations, it is a far cry from a JOB. Because of the technology that we have available to us, we can work when we want, where we want, and how much we want AND offer a great service to an employer. It truly is a win-win situation for you and a company that is looking to have a job done.

There are millions of jobs available to freelancers. Maybe you want to create resumes, tutor elementary school children, edits books, write code, or how-to books. Some of the options that you may find from online job boards could be something that you are interested in as a hobby or that you have a particular skill at.

But what if you could actually find a job or jobs in your field of interest or industry? Maybe you could create a portfolio of your work that you could then submit to potential employers for review during the hiring process. What better way to WOW a hiring manager than to share with them some samples of your work AND referrals or recommendations from former clients!

Hiring managers looking to recent graduates are more than likely expecting that candidates will be relatively inexperienced yet teachable. Why not separate yourself from the rest of the possibly hundreds of candidates by showing that you already have some experience under your belt. This will give you the competitive advantage that you need to get the call for the interview.

During the process, you will then have the opportunity to showcase your work. By having experience in your specific area of interest, you demonstrate to a potential hiring manager that you are interested in the industry, that you are willing to take initiative and that you are creative and a thinker.

According to, tech giant Microsoft is more likely to hire recent graduates who have completed tasks for them as a freelancer than other candidates. Although they may initially hire a student to perform a specific task, they also can evaluate their skills and work ethic before considering them for a full-time position.

While internships used to be the best route to gain valuable work experience for college and graduate students, the lack of pay was prohibitive for many. Freelancing provides students this same experience AND the ability to earn money at the same time.

There are many platforms available to find freelance and online jobs depending upon your interests and skills. Parker Dewey, a talent platform that was launched in 2016, is designed specifically for students to freelance for some of the biggest names in the business world: Microsoft, CBRE, Dell, Barilla, Leo Burnett. The platform has 3 specific goals in mind which benefit both students and employers:

  • Provide valuable work experience through paying freelance jobs.
  • Open up opportunities for hiring managers to evaluate potential candidates.
  • Offer colleges/universities insight into what employers are looking for in graduating students.

Freelancing is the way of the future.

For employers sifting through the many candidates, it is the way that they will identify those who have taken the extra steps toward being successful in their careers.

As a student, freelancing will not only put money in your pocket but will give you that competitive advantage over other candidates, helping you to land that job before you even graduate as well.

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