Freelance Research Job Search Tips

Freelance research work can include some fantastic opportunities for the real enthusiasts in their disciplines. A lot of this work is unique, particularly the advanced academic projects, but there are other possibilities as well.

  • Media research (particularly documentaries)
  • Movies research
  • Historical research
  • Arts research
  • Technological research (Usually documenting work, including developmental information)

This type of work is often highly specialized, requiring qualifications in the disciplines involved, and in many cases is a useful adjunct to academic roles, particularly for those involved in doctorates, or postgraduate level work.

It should also be noted by freelancers that this is “portfolio work." Your credentials as a researcher can get you a lot more business. If you’ve done media research for a major producer, for example, it acts as a good reference to your standards of work, your research methods and your ability to provide useful information.

Freelance Research Job Search Online

The word “research” doesn’t help much when you’re doing a basic job search on a big job board. It will find jobs, but may also include the names of employers, and general references to non-job related things. It’s best to start with a qualifying term related to your specific areas of research, like “historical research."

The other problem is that the big job boards aren’t necessarily particularly helpful, period. These jobs are specialist work, and often show up more consistently on academic and employer sites than they do on job boards. You may even have more luck on Google than on the major job sites. A search like “historical research jobs” will at least put you on track and find sites that run these advertisements.

Being a freelancer, however, you have a few more options. Freelance sites like iFreelance, the big US freelance website, cater exclusively for freelancers. This is a bidding site, where freelancers make competitive quotes for jobs.

It’s also a site where you can post your profile, list your skills and areas of expertise, and use the profile as a very effective job hunting asset. iFreelance lists at the top of Google search rankings, and the site traffic is good, so you won’t be wasting your time if you sign up for this site.  

Other Freelance Research Job Search Options

  • Cold canvassing: In research, specialists always get some interest from employers, because research is very demanding in terms of deadlines. In media, in particular, it’s very much a business issue to get materials prepared on time. The lead time from research to production is a real problem, if producers have to wait for essential information.
  • Academic research: This is a typical mainstream freelance research zone, and outsourcing is popular, because of the nature of some research work, where hiring a graduate student isn’t really an option. This area can produce a lot of work, and you can find out what sorts of work are available in your field with a phone call to the college departments involved.
  • Historical research: This can include archaeology, as well as modern history. The ranges are huge, and so are the number of possible jobs. If you’re a historical researcher, you may find you get more work than you can handle. It’s best to speak to the higher grade professionals in this field to get a realistic picture of the job possibilities.