The number one question I’m asked about working at home has to do with jobs. Nearly everyone who contacts me is asking how to find telecommuting work. Today, finding the jobs is fairly easy, it’s the getting hired part that is hard. The process takes longer and is harder if you don’t understand work-at-home jobs and dedicate time daily to finding and applying to them.
If you’re serious about getting a work-at-home job, there are nine things you can start doing today to increase success.
1. Let go of the idea easy, fast money.
Many of the emails I get about work at home jobs ask about work that’s usually a scam (i.e. data entry) or won’t make enough money to buy groceries (i.e. surveys). I’m not sure where the idea that you can sign-up to make big bucks doing menial work came from (the scammers??), but it continues to get in the way of people finding real work. It’s important to understand that work-at-home jobs are like other jobs. They require part-time or full-time hours. They require skill and often experience. They require a resume or application that highlights your qualifications for the job.
The longer you hope for fast, easy money, the longer it will take you to find legitimate work at home because you’ll constantly be distracted by new, shiny work-at-home opportunities. Further, you’re more likely to fall victim to a scam or end up spending money on something you don’t want to do.
2. Inventory your skills, experiences and interests.
As I mentioned, work-at-home jobs are like regular jobs. If you were job hunting in the regular work world, you wouldn’t go to your search engine and type “jobs” or read every single help wanted ad in your paper. Instead, you’d start by considering your education, skills, experience and interests. From that list, you’d focus your search on jobs that needed what you could offer. The same process is required in getting a work-at-home job. What is your education? What skills have you developed in jobs, volunteer work and hobbies? What experiences have you had that can help an employer? What do you enjoy doing? From there, you find jobs that fit your qualifications.
3. Review your resume.
Few things are more boring than a resume. If you’ve ever been on a hiring committee, you know what I mean. Most people use the resume as list of their skills and experience. While resumes need to highlight your qualifications, they should be filled with strong active verbs and quantitative information. For example, don’t say, “I know how to type fast.” Say, “I type 50 words per minute.”
Also check for clarity, grammar and typos.
4. Bookmark job search sites.
Hopefully, you have the WAHS Telecommuting Job Board bookmarked so you can check new jobs every weekday. If you are checking jobs, you’ll also see that I include links to resources where you can find more jobs. Bookmark those or any others you like as well. Saving these sites for easy access makes checking jobs daily quicker. If you use an RSS feed, you can check your feedreader for new items.
If you’re really serious about a work-at-home job, consider signing up for FlexJobs. It’s not free, but it can save you time in searching and applying for work. Plus it offers tons of resources to help you beef up your resume and appeal to employers.
5. Sign up for job alerts.
Many job search sites offer job alert services in which the site will email you when jobs you’re interested in are posted. This is a great way to find out about new jobs and get your resume in fast. Because so many people apply for work-at-home jobs, the sooner you can get your resume in the better.
6. Engage your network.
Most people underestimate the power of their network to help them find work. The reality is, networking is one of the most powerful ways to not only learn about jobs but get hired. If you’re introduced to a job opening through your network, the employer is often more likely to consider you since you have a mutual acquaintance. Let your friends and family know not just that you’re looking for telecommuting work, but also the type of work you want. Create an account at LinkedIn and begin making connections. There are many groups at LinkedIn with experts and professionals who can help in your job search.
7. Spend at least 30 minutes a day.
When was the last time you searched jobs and submitted a resume? Many people I talk to go days, sometimes even weeks between job search and resume submission. If you want to work-at-home, you need to search and submit daily. You might be perfect for a job, but if you put off sending your resume even a few days, the employer may have more resumes than he can read and never see yours. Thirty minutes is nothing in the scheme of things. If you truly want a work-at-home job, you can find 30 minutes at some point during your day to search for jobs and submit your resume.
8. Tailor your resume to the job.
Earlier I suggested you review your resume and beef it up with strong words and impressive stats. When it comes time to submit your resume, tweak it to fit the job needs. That doesn’t mean lie or embellish. It means that you need to highlight the skills you have that the employer wants. If the job announcement says “I want someone with at least 5 years of Quickbook experience,” don’t send a resume that says you’re an experienced bookkeeper. Instead it should say, “I have X years Quickbook experience.” Make it easy for an employer to say, “Hey, that’s the person we’re looking for!”
9. Be professional all the time.
By all the time, I don’t just mean in your resume, phone calls or interviews with potential employers. I mean ALL THE TIME. Especially online. Why? Employers will Google you and what they find can effect whether they hire you or not. Does that mean you can’t post your cat picture or child’s graduation online? No. But you should think twice about rants and other items that might offend or suggest that you’re not reliable or trustworthy.
I’d encourage you to be professional offline as well. Remember, you’re network can be a great help in leading you to a job. But if you’re unkempt or rude, members of your network may not want to introduce you people in their network.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she’s been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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