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Finding freelance jobs online

July 5, 2010

Last August, the box representing my job went away. Fortunately for me, there was a new box–a better box. Still, we’ve reached an age where boxes and jobs are more and more transient. At some point in your life, you may have to make due with what you can find until the next “real” job pops up.

The Internet job market has quietly evolved in the past ten years. Last time I had to look, Monster, Dice, and a handful of other job boards were the place to be. Now, there’s no shortage of places to find online jobs, some of them for writers: permanent and freelance.

Elance is a virtual job fair for temporary work. For writers, that can include work such as writing news releases, manuals, even creative writing. As of this morning, there were 746 jobs listed on Elance for writing and translation. Many of them pay less than $500, so you aren’t looking to build a career, but you can write proposals for jobs on Elance and when you get the work, you start to build a portfolio and a list of referenceable clients. Click here for a tutorial on how it works.

We’ve written a lot about LinkedIn as part of a social media presence. You can also search for jobs there. If you click the Jobs>Find Jobs link at the top of the page, LinkedIn displays a list of suggested jobs, based on your profile. For me, the jobs were heavy in technical writing, which is my area of past strength. There’s also a full jobs search function.

Twitter is unique and mysterious to many people, but one thing it’s very good for is posting a stream of unique pieces of information, such as job postings. @jobshouts is an all-purpose job-listing service. Click here for an article that displays a list of 15 good Twitter feeds for freelance work.

Finally, here’s an article that lists 41 options for finding freelance jobs on line.

For most people, I hope this is the most useless thing I’ve ever posted. If you need it, I hope it helps. If you have additional suggestions or experiences, please post them in the comments.

  1. Ben permalink
    July 5, 2010 11:23 am

    It would be useful if you’d tell us your experience with these sites. Have you been able to generate any real income? In my experience there are a lot of jobs posted online and many of them look great from the outset, but many of the listing lead nowhere or to very low-paying jobs.On Elance people bid so low (from foreign countries) that it’s hard to get any decent income. I don’t think it’s worth using building a portfolio from jobs there either. Most wouldn’t be considered worthy references. What’s your experience with finding work online?

  2. Chris Hamilton permalink
    July 5, 2010 11:31 am

    I’m not a freelancer, so I would defer to your experience. In any circumstance, you have to parse the jobs to separate what’s worth going after, whether freelance or not. Last time I got laid off (several years ago), I had the same problem with the job boards. Enormously low-paying jobs with enormously inflated requirements.

    Last time I was out, I got enough business technical writing on freelance jobs that I was actually able to turn away work at one point. That was all done through word of mouth, however, and it was all local to Tampa.

    If you’re already a freelancer, then you would have an existing portfolio and referencable clients. If you’re not, you may have to take some very low-paying jobs to build a reference list. One of the conditions I would ask for with any freelance job is to request a recommendation on LinkedIn as a condition of a job well done.

    But there were also a number of suggestions in the link at the end of the post, as well.

  3. July 5, 2010 2:01 pm

    Very useful, have passed it on to other “resting” freelancers. Thanks.

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