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Red flags in freelance job postings

stop sign and traffic cones blocking an entrance

Ever start applying to a job and then get a bad feeling about it? I've had this happen on a few occasions. (Once I backed out of an interview at the last minute because I discovered the company was a pyramid scheme, but that’s a story for another time…)

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like in the freelance world especially, there are a lot of job postings out there that seem fishy. Here are a few red flags I've come across when searching.

You can't find any information about the company

Recently I found a job on LinkedIn that I was interested in applying to, but partway through, I decided to stop and Google the name of the company — only to realize there was no information about it anywhere online. I'm talking no search results even remotely matching the name of the company. So this is your reminder to research a company before you apply (because it may not even exist!).

The pay is very high (or very low)

You know the saying…if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But on the flip side, if the pay is significantly lower than what you should be making in your industry, it's not worth wasting your time on it.

The job description matches that of a full-time role

This is one I've seen numerous times — a freelance role that looks promising, but then you see a sneaky line in the job description that they’re wanting 40+ hours of work from you per week. Unless you're looking for a full-time job disguised as freelance work, stay away. Not only is this sketchy on the company's behalf, but chances are, you stepped into the freelance world so you could have the freedom to work with multiple clients, not spend all your time on one.

Things just seem…off

You know when you have a gut feeling about something? Listen to that! I've found a few freelance jobs I’ve started applying to, but then after some quick research, I don’t have a good feeling about it. It could be that their site looks scammy or there are several typos in the job posting. Or it could just be a feeling. And that's okay!

Truth be told, I haven't had much luck with freelance jobs I've found on LinkedIn or Indeed. In my experience, I've found more success through connecting with people in my network and finding projects that way. However, it's never a bad thing to stay on the lookout — just be sure to watch for red flags and don't waste your time if things don't feel right.


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