While student debt has always represented a controversial and prominent issue, its recent ascent has triggered even greater consternation. Not only are the current generation of students borrowing more to fund their education, but they are also are entering an employment market that is volatile and populated with low-paying job opportunities. As a result of this, the value of overdue student loans has reached an all-time high in the United States, while nearly a third of of 20 to 24-year-old graduates are currently unemployed.
The cumulative amount of student debt in America has now reached a staggering $1 trillion; this represents the single-largest category of consumer liability outside of mortgages. The consequences of this are far reaching for graduates in the current economy, as they are unable to establish savings or fund the purchase of a house until they have found viable work and begun to repay their debt. Given that the rate of self-employment also fell by 19% among individuals aged 25 and under between 2005 and 2010, it is clear that soaring debt levels are also preventing students from becoming entrepreneurs and using their skills to create opportunities for others.
With this in mind, it is increasingly important that students seek out relevant and gainful methods of employment while in college. Whether they use their skills to secure temporary employment or establish an entrepreneurial venture, this willingness to work will enable them to create new income streams and acquire practical experience within a chosen market or industry. The latter can prove to be particularly valuable, especially when you consider rising graduate unemployment and the competition that exists for lucrative, industry specific jobs.
So, which summer jobs and work opportunities should students pursue in 2013? Consider the following options:
Become a Tutor or Mentor
With technology giant Intuit predicting that freelancers will make up 40% of the U.S. workforce by 2020, it is clear that the ability to effectively market your skills will be crucial in future employment markets. This particular talent is also becoming increasingly important for those who seek more traditional roles of employment, especially when you consider that modern recruiters are far more interested in how your skills may be deployed rather than their individual nature. By first understanding your core skills and learning how them to apply them in variable circumstances, it is possible to maximize your earning potential.
As a student, your most marketable skills will relate to your knowledge base and specific area of academic expertise. You may also have particularly strong social skills, and these attributes can be used to successfully mentor or tutor younger students. Just as individuals in employment may seek out guidance and actionable advice from more senior colleagues, so too are young students keen to benefit from those who have experience in following a similar academic course. So long as you focus on your areas of strength and can help others to recognize their innate abilities, you can generate significant income while sharing the benefit of your practical experience.
Embrace the World of Blogging
The term "accidental entrepreneur" originated from the Great Recession, as the onset of economic crisis ravaged American behavioral patterns and forced individuals to work independently out of necessity rather than desire. It is also to important to recognize the role of technology in this drive, however, as independent earning techniques such as blogging have been made increasingly accessible by innovation and advancement.
Blogging itself has encountered rapid growth during the last decade, with Technorati reporting that the number of registered Internet blogs rose from 4 million to 70 million between 2004 and 2007. As one of the world's most prominent growth industries, blogging represents a genuine money-making opportunity for students. Boasting low-cost start-up fees and access to easily manageable software, blogging can generate significant profits and help to raise awareness concerning a specific brand, cause or project.
Once again, the key is to focus on your core knowledge base and use this to create educational and engaging content. You can even market your written communication skills to firms that are hoping to promote themselves through guest blogging services. When you consider that the highest-earning blog of 2012 turned over an estimated $30,000 per day, there is ample opportunity for you to earn and gain experience is a thriving market.
Profit from Your Carefully Created Essays and Revision Materials
There have been additional innovations that have created earning opportunities for students. Consider the development of website building packages or resources that enable individuals to build their own mobile applications. Take the experience of student Nick D'Aloisio, for example, who designed an app that aggregates international news stories and condenses them for mobile devices. After further development, the young entrepreneur subsequently sold the application to Yahoo for a grand total of $30 million in March of this year.
Such an endeavor may compromise your studies, however, especially when you consider the effort that needs to be invested into the design process and subsequent negotiations. Fortunately, there are far simpler ways of earning money through technological platforms, with Gradesaver.com providing a relevant example. Using this resource, you can sell your completed academic works, essays and study notes for research purposes, earning up to $25 for every published piece of content. These items have practical value, as they can be used as reference points by fellow students, while the site itself retains the copyright so that they cannot be plagiarized or used inappropriately.
The Bottom Line
While there are many more options available to students who are looking to make money and develop practical work experience, these earning methods offer particular value. More specifically, they enable students to generate additional income without compromising their studies, while tutoring and blogging in particular provide actionable experience that can be taken forward into the current employment market. In the quest to reduce student debt and create a brighter professional future, enjoying a profitable summer may provide the ideal starting point.