Networking will only take you so far in your search for freelance jobs; sometimes you just need the critical mass of many potential clients looking for freelancers. Job boards are an excellent place to find that critical mass.
Not all job boards are created equal, however. Some job boards act as third-party agents (i.e., middlemen) between the freelancer and potential client; this is bad because middlemen job boards typically skim a portion of the freelancer’s earnings and make it difficult to negotiate with the client. Other job boards (e.g., eLance, oDesk) force freelancers into a “bidding war” against each another, causing them to undercharge their services during the freelance “race to the bottom,” as quoted by Carol Tice.
On a side note, some “job boards,” like the one recently introduced by Flickr, cleverly hide programmer jobs inside of website source code!
10 Job Boards for Freelancers
The following list provides no mention of middlemen or bidding. I hope you enjoy and profit from my list of these top 10 freelance job boards:
This Facebook-based job board and networking site is managed by Brian Scott of FreelanceWriting.com and publishes several job listings per day. Most of the gigs are centered on writing and/or editing and cover a range of genres including blogging, ghostwriting, copywriting, e-course development, etc. Some of the posted jobs even call for freelance editors/supervisors that manage other writers and editors. Some of the listed jobs are location-specific, but most allow you to work from home and online.
This site lists mostly software developer (e.g., Java), programmer (e.g., C++) and designer jobs (e.g., graphic), with about half of them being freelance. The job board itself is part of Smashing Magazine. Perusing the site, I also found jobs for writers, ad managers and consultants. It would be nice to see more freelance jobs posted on this site- but I’m betting a lot of the employed ones eventually allow telecommuting. Smashing Magazine also offers a good number of helpful resources and articles.
One of the reasons I love LinkedIn is its high-quality job board that can be tailored to find almost any position. By going to the jobs tab of LinkedIn and hitting “Advanced Search,” you can use keywords to narrow down your job search and find every “freelance whatever” position that is currently listed. You can also have LinkedIn send you daily email alerts of all the jobs that match your selection criteria. Because clients must pay a hefty fee to LinkedIn for listing an open position, there is little chance of finding spam or scams here.
The name rightly suggests that you’ll find mostly blogging jobs here; however, after perusing (a word that actually means carefully examining) ProBlogger’s job board, you can find lots of other gigs too like website testing, editing, newswriting and copywriting. What I don’t like about ProBlogger is that, on occasion, a content mill “job” slips through and gets posted. Overall, though, the site offers a wide range of writing gigs that pay a decent rate per hour or task.
This site sounds like another iteration of ProBlogger and it kind of is, except that BloggingPro seems (at least to me) to list an even greater number of blogger positions than ProBlogger, with just a smattering of writer and journalist positions thrown in for fun. About 3-4 new job leads are provided on a daily basis. BloggingPro also maintains its own blog (where you can submit a post), publishing lots of useful information there on jobs, writing, social media, etc.
If you’re looking for editing or writing opportunities in well-known magazines and trade publications, then Media Bistro’s job board is the place to go. Many but not all of the posted jobs are location-specific; however, you can also specify that only telecommute positions be shown. Membership on the site is required before you can look over the job listings; luckily, you can sign up absolutely free. Paid AvantGuild membership is $45/year and comes with additional perks like insider information on how to pitch national magazines.
This job board is fairly easy to use- you simply input the type of job you’re looking for and in which geographic location. As a freelancer, specifying a location is kind of pointless and you do have the option of just leaving that area blank. Following your site search, about half the jobs that come back are freelance/contract in nature. There are various jobs available, from software development to programming to writing. What I like about SoloGig is that it tracks your keyword-based searches while you go job searching (assuming you sign up with the site); doing so helps the job board adapt to your job preferences over time.
Another easy-to-use job search board is offered on Journalism Jobs. You can select for only freelance positions by inputting “freelance” into the keyword area prior to running your search. Most of the listed jobs involve some form of writing or editing; however, I did find forum moderator, market analyst, videographer and application designer positions offered too. It costs clients $75 to create a single category job posting on Journalism Jobs, which helps cut down on get-rich-quick and spam postings.
According to 37Signals, heavy hitters like Facebook, Apple, American Express and The New York Times have posted jobs to its job board. Just looking through the site, I also found other big names include CNET, Adobe, Yelp and Bloomberg. The site is very tech-heavy and is probably best intended for website developers and programmers.
By using long-tail keywords like “Freelance Technical Writer” to search this job board, you come up with a quite a number of decent-paying and legitimate jobs. There are some pitfalls, however: the site relies heavily on imported postings from Craigslist, which I consider another “race to the bottom” job board that leads to underpaid (or unpaid) work. Ironically, I actually had better luck on this site when I avoided using the search term “freelance,” of all things.
What about paid job boards?
Are you more likely to find a decent job if you pay for access to a specific job board? I say no. Having been given access to a number of paid job boards, I find that most of what you pay for is the human effort of sifting through publicly available jobs and posting them to one site. However, those jobs are still out there- and can be easily reached by simply searching my above listed sites. In fact, many of the paid-for job boards that I have access to actually mention taking job postings from the above listed sites like Facebook4Freelancers and ProBlogger. To quote Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun.
However, should you wish to try some paid job boards, here are the ones I recommend:
This site offers some choice jobs that you can click on and read; however, applying to these positions requires a $7/month subscription. Because FreelanceSwitch hand picks some good paying jobs that are limited in applicants due to the subscription fee, you may wish to consider shelling out a few bucks and seeing if this place will work out for you.
Carol Tice, a six-figure freelance writer whom I interviewed last month, operates and offers The Freelance Writers Den, where one can access a “no-junk” job board, forum, classes, interviews and other goodies. Because the Den requires a subscription fee of $25/month, I state that its job board is a paid-for paid job board. I recommend this job board because many of its listings are personal referrals by Carol herself; thus, you’d be unlikely to find them anywhere else online. As a side note, I joined the Den last month and have secured two writing gigs already thanks to those internal job referrals.
This site has been on my RADAR screen for a while and several other freelancers have recommended its job board. To access this site, however, you need to pay $14.95/month to $49.95/year. Still, the fee may be worthwhile if it saves you time on sifting through Craiglist-type spam ads and other low-paying junk.