There have never been more online jobs for students than there are now. Increased quantity is met with increased quality, too: ambitious students can launch their careers from their dorm room, without waiting around for someone to offer them an opportunity.
The latter years of college are racked with trying to find out what your dream job is, and figuring out how you’re going to get there.
Why not offer yourself your dream job? Create your own opportunity. Don’t wait for the invitation to arrive. Consider this your invitation.
Intro To These Online Jobs For Students
Now, these online jobs for students aren’t the typical “get paid to take surveys” recommendations. Mindless jobs such as those may offer a quick payday (big maybe – I’ve done as many surveys as the neck schmuck) but those positions overlook something important:
Students are oftentimes more highly skilled at certain tasks than other people at organizations.
Ambitious, creative students who are hungry to start their careers have much better options than empty, just-for-the-money online jobs for students.
The online jobs for students outlined below focus on building a portfolio, taking advantage of the opportunities of online work and making career opportunities for yourself.
The opportunity within all of these online jobs for students is that you don’t need a degree at all, and they can all support you and work around your existing schedule. Frankly, an online biz could be your answer to everything.
Sound too good to be true? Your mindset is everything.
The Opportunity Working Online As A Student
You really can have it all with online work opportunities, especially in a post-covid era. Virtually every industry learned to go virtual: parents hired online babysitters, doctors consulted patients via Zoom and people became familiar with this way of working.
After graduation, during the stress of job searching, you’ll probably feel underqualified for literally everything. You have the ability to generate valuable experience from your college bearings.
Online jobs for students can offer many of the same benefits of in-person work:
- Make money (of course)
- Build recommendations (more on that below)
- Build something that can support you in the short term or long term
These online jobs for students are all about building the opportunity that you want to see.
8 Online Jobs For Students To Consider
All of these positions are remote jobs, don’t require a degree and are flexible, which is why they make great online jobs for students.
1. Pinterest Management
Also known as a Pinterest virtual assistant, or PVA, Pinterest management is an in-demand skill that pays well and creates a great bond between you and the brands you work with.
I know, because it’s one of my income streams. I started managing other creators’ Pinterest accounts in 2020 when the pandemic slashed my in-person income stream (my day job as a part-time nanny).
My brand’s Pinterest account reaches a couple of million people a month, and I started using this as a portfolio piece to get clients. It’s been profitable, rewarding and reliable, which is why it’s my #1 recommendation for those looking at online jobs for students.
A few tips for getting started with this online job for students:
- Start learning the basics of Pinterest marketing
- Create your own business account and learn the basics so you’re well-acquainted with Pinterest’s inner workings
- Join Facebook groups for bloggers and creators – people will post job opportunities there
- Become a student of Pinterest: listen to podcasts that discuss the algorithm, follow the news and start experimenting with your own content to learn how Pinterest works
If you’re only familiar with Pinterest as a pinner and not a creator, let me give you a rundown of the responsibilities involved:
- Create pins that lead to your clients’ blog posts or product pages (usually in Canva)
- Write SEOed (search engine optimized) descriptions for each pin so that pinners can find your clients’ content
- Upload X number of pins a day for your client. This number varies greatly between Pinterest managers and depends on how much content the client has, but I upload 1 pin per day for my clients
Average pay for this online job for students: there is a huge range in pay for Pinterest management. A quick glance at Upwork shows people offering this service for a range of $6 to $60 an hour. Your personal salary will depend on your success managing other accounts, the clients you’re targeting (solopreneurs will have a smaller budget than a company looking to outsource their account) and how much your time is worth.
This online job for students ties in very nicely to suggestion number two: blogging.
This suggestion is personal for me: my only regret from my college experience is that I didn’t have the gumption to start a blog.
Instead of publishing my own content, I was constantly peddling my freelance writing published anywhere that would take it. At that stage of being a student, portfolio building felt like everything.
It never occurred to me that I could just publish my own writing. If you’re a writer or an aspiring one, blogging could be a great opportunity for you.
Benefits of blogging as a student:
- Use your blog as a portfolio piece to be hired doing content creation, basic search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, WordPress management, etc. Any skill that you do well for your blog can be marketed to businesses or other creators. This list is endless
- Use it as work experience on your resume. When you graduate, you will see endless lists of job requirements requiring 1-3 years of experience. Create that experience for yourself with a blog
- Make money from your blog through affiliate sales and ads
A few blogging success stories:
- Blogger Sophia Lee started her blog as a freshman in college. In 2 years’ time, she built up her monthly blog income to $9k a month, and transitioned into working for her brand full-time after she graduated in 2020
- Blogger Dr. Laura Scott is a content creator who uses her brand to share content from her entire lifestyle: advice for pre-med students, balancing family life, her personal stories of getting through med school and starting a family
- Famous travel blogger Nomadic Matt started his travel blog initially as a portfolio for his writing, but has turned it into a robust business model. He makes money from Patreons, books and guides, courses and affiliate marketing (and probably even more income streams). He also co-owns a hostel in Texas, which certainly benefits from his name recognition in the industry
Blogs themselves make money from affiliate marketing and ads (traffic = money), and can serve as a launchpad for the other online jobs for students outlined below.
At the heart of blogging is this sentiment below, a quote from my blog post on advice from strong women to inspire your mindset:
3. Selling Digital Products
This is one of the most profitable online jobs for students, because it’s endless (in a good way).
Digital products are products that you make once and sell over the course of weeks, months or years.
There is an endless list of digital products that you can sell:
- Templates for Instagram posts, Pinterest pins, ebooks, etc. (for example, I sell Pinterest templates in my shop)
- Music backtracks
- Stock vectors
- Fillable workbooks, guides, planners
A quick search on Etsy for “daily planner” will return a flood of results, all low-priced, which may give the impression that this isn’t a very profitable online job for students.
One daily planner, only priced at $2.14, has been sold 49,841 times. That’s $106,659.74 from just one product.
Huge profits won’t come overnight, but if done successfully, selling evergreen digital assets can have huge payoffs.
4. Starting A Niche Site
A niche site is similar to blogging but has a few key differences. Most notably, a niche site is built with profits in mind. Many blogs focus on a specific person’s lifestyle, capitalize on individual connection and the blogger’s presence within the brand.
A niche site is often built with the intent to sell it down the road once it has built up authority, traffic and revenue. Before that big payday comes from selling the site, niche sites generate revenue from ads and affiliate sales.
Before you jump into a niche, there are a few things to consider:
- What is the search demand and difficulty to rank for these searches? You can find out how many people Google any phrase a month and see how difficult it is to rank (be positioned on page 1 of Google) on Keysearch
- How much value can you provide?
- How much can you actually write on this subject? A niche site should be on a topic that you can write a lot of helpful information about from your experience
Ideas for niche sites can come from any area of your life:
- You could embrace the college experience and make a niche site about your university town. Here is a great example of a university niche site
- Do you have a lot of knowledge on a specific subject that you’re not using anymore? Maybe from high school or childhood? For example, you could build a niche site giving advice for K-12 swimmers/dancers/competitive violinists and their parents
I babysat my way through high school, college and my 20s. By the time my friends started having kids, I was answering questions about childcare and hiring babysitters constantly. This gave me the idea to start a babysitting niche site, Better Babysitting. You may very well be more than knowledgeable enough right now to start a niche site on something from your background.
The financial payoff for building a niche site doesn’t come right away: this is a sweat-equity online job for students. But the payoff can be huge.
Spencer over at Niche Pursuits is a fantastic resource or niche site building if you’d like to learn more about this online job for students.
5. Social Media Management
You can make a job out of your social media savvy by managing other people’s social media accounts as a social media manager. This online job for students doesn’t just apply to communications majors: every field has communicators. You can get int o
Some tasks for social media managers can include:
- Creating images for posts, likely using Canva
- Writing text to accompany graphics
- Engaging on the platform
You can even a brand new platform to an organization. I’ve talked many people into pursuing a Pinterest strategy for their brand when they’re previously overlooked it. Sell the opportunity waiting for them on the platform that you can manage well for them!
Questions to ask when feeling out a social media marketing position:
- What platforms do you want managed?
- Do you already have a presence on those platforms, or are you looking for someone to build this from the ground up?
- What is the purpose of this social media account? Do you want someone to simply upkeep an active account, or are you trying to grow substantially?
- Do you want posting upkeep or an awareness campaign around a specific event, product, etc?
- Are new platform features a priority? For example, if someone is hiring you to manage their Instagram account, do you they want just static posts on the grid to keep the account active, or do they want reels, guides and stories as well?
If the brand isn’t very specific about what they want, a healthy mix of content creation can be a 2:1 ratio: 2 posts should focus on nurturing the following they already have, and then 1 post should be focused on growth.
Average pay for this online job for students: The pay for this job will naturally vary based on how many platforms you manage, the number of posts per week and if you are responsible for generating original photography.
Assets to showcase in your interview/pay negotiation:
- Your own social media presence
- Testimonials/LinkedIn recommendations
- If you have no real-life examples, make a portfolio of ideas
6. Instagram Engagement
This is probably the easiest freelance job that you’ll ever find, yet it’s so high-value.
A step back from being a full social media manager is simply doing Instagram engagement.
The best way to grow on Instagram is to engage with people on the platform. Engagement is simple: leave meaningful comments and reply to stories.
This is as simple as it sounds: spend a certain amount of time on the platform every day engaging with people.
Who you engage with on Instagram:
- Search hashtags related to the brand and engage with the people using it. Don’t engage with the “top” posts, you want people to read your comment and come click on the profile to check out the account. Engage with the recent posts
- Engage with the people already following the account.
- Is this brand location-specific? Engage with people tagging the location
Average pay for this online job for students: There are no hard-and-fast rules with this type of service, but I’ve seen this service advertised in Facebook groups at the going rate of $400 a month for 10 hours a week, which averages out to 30 minutes a day Monday to Friday.
7. Brand Collaborations, AKA Influencing
There will be skeptics to this online job suggestion, but let’s set the record straight: it is totally possible to make good money from brand collaborations.
Influencing is another way to earn money from your social savvy, but it’s very different from social media management.
This may look similar to social media management but it’s actually very different. With social media management, you’re building someone else’s account and influence.
How to get started with brand collaborations:
- Step 1: Pick a topic that you want to create content around. What do you want to talk about? College life? Eating well? Travel? Low-waste living? That was my first niche, before I pivoted into remote work. You don’t have to stay in this niche forever, but you need to start somewhere
- Step 2: Start sharing content. The most important thing to remember here is to share value around your subject. Why should someone follow you? What do they get from it?
- Step 3: Make a media kit showcasing the rand you’ve built. After you’ve developed an audience and have been providing valuable content for them, it’s time to showcase what you can offer brands. This is essentially a resume for your brand. The numbers are a little outdated, but you can see my media kit here if you’d like to see a visual.
- Step 4: Pitch brands and make killer content for them! That is, of course, oversimplified, but those are the overarching steps to making a living creating brand content. I interviewed my friend Chas who supports herself and her husband with her paid Instagram collaborations – you can read her advice for aspiring content creators in this blog post on remote work success stories
Pay for this type of work varies greatly, and after a quick Google search for average influencer pay, I’m not impressed or convinced with the results. Many people support themselves full-time off of this work, so do thorough research and find insight from actual influencers, not simply marketing websites.
8. Online Tutoring And Education
This job should be left for people who like working with kids. The fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude can help you launch into many online jobs for students, but this isn’t necessarily one of them.
Parents who hire online tutors do so because their children need help passing a certain exam or class. It’s okay to be new, but if you have no passion for children, then pursue a different job.
That warning aside, education has endless opportunities:
- You can create any course you want and teach it on Outschool or Skillshare
- Teach English online. This is a very popular digital nomad job, but most platforms require a bachelor’s degree. However, the platform Langu doesn’t require a completed degree! My friend Rachel has been teaching English online for years and shares her insight on her blog
Payout for Outschool and Skillshare will vary, but Langu pay starts at $13 an hour.
Tips For Nailing Down These Online Jobs For Students
Execute your hunt for the best online jobs for students with an open mind. People paid for virtual golf lessons and online babysitting during the pandemic! There is *virtually* no reason why people won’t pay for your skills.
1. Never Overstate Your Qualifications
It’s okay to be new. You don’t have to be apologetic for that fact, but likewise, you should never put up a front.
Be honest about your knowledge of the tasks at hand and your ability to close the experience gap with research. If you struggle with knowing your worth, heed the advice in this blog post.
2. Play The Student Card (In The Right Way)
People often confuse the word “young” with “immature.” Being young isn’t anything to apologize for – and you can use it to your advantage.
The best way to play the student card is to express great interest in learning, growth and enthusiasm for your projected position. Bonus points if you have ideas for recently-evolved platforms.
Are you bubbling with ideas for SnapChat or TikTok marketing? A lot of millennials or gen Xers don’t even use those platforms.
Heck, Pinterest is 10+ years old, and there are still loads of companies that have left money on the table by never bothering with the platform.
This goes without saying, but of course never gibe anyone based on any age-based assumptions. But you get what I’m saying, right?
Sell the opportunity waiting for companies on newer platforms and come flushed with ideas.
3. Always Conclude With A LinkedIn Recommendation
Many internships and entry-level positions will ask for letters of recommendation. These are glowing one-page letters with details personal to your strengths, experience and career aspiration.
It’s likely that most clients won’t be good candidates for these letters, but that’s okay: get them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation instead.
Letters of recommendation aren’t publicly published and generally serve a single purpose (are specifically written for 1 position). LinkedIn recommendations are evergreen and will live on your profile for everyone to see forever.
Never miss an opportunity to build up your reputation online. Ask every single happy client to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Online Jobs For Students Conclusion
These online jobs for students lay host to opportunities in every industry for every career path.
The advice in this blog post on online jobs for students is given with a little bit of projection: it’s my greatest regret from my college experience that I didn’t use that time to start and grow an online business of some sort.
Imagine graduating and already having income, authority online and something valuable to show for yourself?
The opportunity is at your fingertips.