How Freelance Work Can Help You Find Your Passion

June 09, 2016

It’s infinitely important that you love what you study in college. You’re going to be studying this topic for years, so how else are you going to thrive if you don’t enjoy it? It’s unfortunate, however, that often, what you love studying doesn’t always translate into a lucrative career.

This is a familiar conundrum to many people who loved college but haven’t felt the same level of satisfaction with their work lives. The good news is that, just as it took you time to determine what field you wanted to study in college, you have time to find your passion in the work field before you even graduate. The answer lies in freelancing.

Using freelance work during college to identify your dream job

Test yourself

When you were in high school (and even younger), you were exposed to different subjects of study and you used this experience to rule out what you did and did not want to focus on in college. You may have even continued narrowing this down during your freshman year.

Now, let’s say you already have an idea of your intended career path. Maybe you want to become an attorney or work with a technology startup. But how can you know for certain if you haven’t already been exposed to this environment? If you jump into something without testing it out first, you might find yourself stuck in a dead-end career or, even worse, going back to and paying for years of graduate school for a degree that won’t help you in the long run.

So take the time to load your resume with work experience. College is one of the very few times you’ll have the chance to try out various industries and companies through part-time, short-term projects. Love social media? Help a startup develop a plan to engage its followers. Want to work in website design? Sign up to evaluate the user experience of a B2B company. If you realize something isn’t for you, then you won’t be stuck biding your time through a one-year contract, or even a three-month summer internship.

Stand out from the masses

Perhaps the most immediate benefit to part-time freelancing in college is getting paid. But beyond that, you’ll also be doing yourself a lot of favors in the long run. Any extra work you take on top of your student workload is already helping you stand out from the pack. Plus, once you find your dream job, you can supplement your application with specific projects that you helped bring to life, rather than a checklist of training assignments designed for interns. Along the way, you’ll create real relationships with valuable references that can speak to your work ethic, ability to meet deadlines, and willingness to work with a team—traits that are valuable and transferrable to any job in the future.

Identify your optimal work environment

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to focus in on what you love to do the most and how you can make a career out of it. It also enables you to find out firsthand what type of environment you want to do it in. The more people you work with before you graduate, the better you will come to understand how you work under different management styles and business structures. And the more you know about this, the more intelligent questions you’ll be able to ask when you start interviewing for full-time positions.

So get ahead of the game and take advantage of freelance work before you graduate. You’ll be giving yourself the same experiential benefits that you had when you chose your major, while simultaneously boosting your resume. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll be narrowing down what it is you love to do and the environment in which you’d like to work. Check out freelance jobs for college students to get started and find where you excel!

About The Author

John Lidington, Guest Blogger
John Lidington, Guest Blogger

John Lidington is the Founder of HireOwl, the leading student freelance work platform. Recognizing the huge gap in the number of students looking for internships (over 20 million students in the U.S.) and the number of internships available (only 2 million per year in the U.S.), John founded HireOwl to bring the booming freelance economy to campus and provide students with more opportunities to learn from hands-on work experience.

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Northwestern ‘18

Accepted to Northwestern, Emory, WashU, UMich

Hey everyone, I'm a current Northwestern student (Class of 2018, although I may finish up a little early) and I absolutely love it! Admissions really is a tough time, so try to keep your head up and don't be afraid to take chances.
Dartmouth ‘20

Accepted to Dartmouth, Vassar, Kenyon, UVA

I am an incoming freshman from Bulgaria. I have spent one year as an exchange student in Chicago and look forward to returning to the States this fall.
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA, UC Davis

I am a Frosh at Stanford studying studying engineering (computer science or other types) with a (possible) minor in the humanities. Go Trees!!!
Vanderbilt ‘18

Accepted to Baruch, Binghamton, Brooklyn College, Hunter, Macaulay Honors, Duke, JHU, Northwestern, UPenn, Brown, Cornell, SUNY Buffalo, Rice, Vanderbilt, NYU, Columbia

I grew up in New York City, Bronx and Brooklyn to be exact. I went to pretty big public schools and once you find a supportive yet motivating group of friends, teachers, advisors, and counselors to complement your family, life becomes a whole lot better!

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