If you live in a city …
1. Drive for a ridesharing service
Leading the way in new taxi services are companies like Lyft and Uber. A NerdWallet survey of 14 large markets found that the average Uber driver makes about $16 in pretax income for each ride. That’s well above the minimum wage you might earn slinging hamburgers at a fast-food joint. If you own a car and live in a city where one of these companies operates, consider driving others while you search for a more permanent position.
2. Deliver your favorite foods
While you can always snag a traditional pizza delivery job, try earning some extra cash on your own schedule by delivering restaurant meals for a company like DoorDash and Caviar.
3. Become a personal shopper
Need a break from driving people (or meals) around, so you can stretch your legs? Companies like Instacart will pay you to grocery shop for their customers. If you’re a resident of Boston, San Francisco, Denver or one of the other 12 major cities where Instacart operates, you can apply to become a shopper on your own time and earn up to $25 an hour.
4. Do some odd jobs
If you don’t mind a little exercise, consider signing up to be a “Tasker” in one of the 19 metro areas where TaskRabbit operates. Take your talents beyond your circle of family and friends and earn money doing tasks or running errands for your neighbors and local businesses.
If you’re good at …
5. Writing — be a freelance blogger
Have a favorite blog that you read religiously? Put your creativity to use and ask about writing the occasional guest post in exchange for a small fee. Freelance writing is a great way to build your resume while making money.
6. Math — be a tutor
If you’re hoping to land a job in a technical field, you might not want to let your math skills get too rusty. Consider giving lessons to the neighborhood children, offering your math skills to friends and family, or joining an online tutoring service like InstaEDU.
7. Photography — submit your photos
You might not be the next Peter Parker, but consider submitting your snaps of current events to newspapers or photo contest blogs in exchange for a small reward.
8. Illustrating — do graphic design
You’ll need to build a robust portfolio of your work if you’re hoping to turn your artistic passion into a full-time job. If you were an art major in college, you’re probably almost there, but it can’t hurt to add to your portfolio while you look for something more permanent. Take on the occasional job designing logos, websites and illustrations for businesses through freelance sites such as Designcrowd.
If you want to work from home …
9. Join a focus group
Get paid to share your opinions with companies looking for people to participate in market research and focus groups. You’ll have the flexibility to work in person or online on a schedule that works for you.
10. Sign up for Mechanical Turk
If you’re looking for an easy way to earn a bit of cash online, taking on simple tasks — like writing user reviews and answering business surveys — on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service is a simple way to make money on the side.
11. Complete projects on oDesk
Put the skills you learned in college to use while you look for a permanent job by doing tasks such as data entry, website design or market research. On sites like oDesk, businesses post available projects, and you select which ones you can do based on your experience and the time you’re willing to commit to the project.
12. Freelance your skills
If you’re looking for a flexible gig that goes beyond the busy work of most side jobs, consider joining a freelance marketplace, such as Guru or Peopleperhour.com, where you can build your personal brand by completing large and small projects on your own time. Whether you graduated with a degree in marketing or computer science, or just want to expand on a skill you’re passionate about, doing some freelance work is a sure way to pad your resume during a job search.
Gianna Sen-Gupta is a writer for NerdWallet’s higher education team. Follow her on Twitter @gianna_sengupta for more things college and career.
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