The decision to work-at-home is usually a simple one. The hard part comes in deciding what to do from home and then making it happen. Many would-be home based workers start out wanting a work-at-home job. They want a steady income and possibly benefits, that are associated with jobs. But as they start to search for work, they discover it’s more difficult than anticipated to find and get hired.
Below you’ll find my top tips for not only finding legitimate work-at-home jobs, but also for getting hired.
1) What will a WAH job do for you?
Most people, myself included, didn’t start out wanting a work-at-home job specifically. Instead, they want what they think a work-at-home job can do for them. In my case, I wanted to be at home with my kids. And once they were in school, I wanted the flexibility that some work-at-home jobs offer. For others, work-at-home jobs offer the chance to get away from long commutes or difficult bosses and colleagues. Maybe it affords the chance to move somewhere better.
It’s important to know what you want out of a work-at-home job because not all jobs will give you what you need. If you want a job so you can be an at-home mom, customer service work might not be the right fit, because it requires several hours of uninterrupted, quiet time.
You also need to decide how much you need to make and any other perks you need such as benefits. Note, that many WAH jobs don’t offer benefits (we’re seeing less and less benefits in traditional jobs as well). As a result, you need to run the numbers BEFORE you start your work-at-home journey. The good news is that working at home can save you a boat load of money and even potentially lower your taxes, so you don’t necessarily have to earn as much as you would in a job outside the home.
2) What can you do from home?
Once of the biggest mistakes would-be telecommuters make is setting off on their work at home journey by searching “work at home” on Google, expecting to find some sort of typing, data entry or assembly work job, that will allow them to work at home right away. This method will not only fail, but quite possibly lead you to be scammed.
You wouldn’t start a traditional job search by typing “jobs” in Google or by checking out every single help wanted ad in your local paper. Instead, you’d focus on work that’s with your skill set. The same is true with work-at-home jobs. The only difference is that you can also use skills and experience from volunteer work, hobbies and passions, as well as those from your education and past jobs.
It’s important that you recognize that in a job (or a home business, blogging, freelancing…anything you want to make money with), you need to fulfill a need. An employer needs someone to take care of certain duties. They’re not looking for just anyone who can sign up. So a work-at-home job starts with making a list of all the duties you can do that an employer might pay you to do. These tasks can come from a variety of areas. For example, if you’re the newsletter editor for your church, you can look for WAH jobs related to creating newsletters. If you currently work in retail, home-based customer service might be a good option.
3) Learn about work-at-home jobs and, in particular, scams.
As I mentioned, jumping on Google to search for work-at-home opportunities has a potential for problems. Before you set off to find a job, first learn about telecommuting. Do you know why companies are using remote workers? Do you know how to screen a scam or biz op from a legitimate job? Do you know what is okay for employers to ask for (resume, background check) and what is suspicious? There is a ton of information here at WAHS to help you learn the real-deal about work-at-home jobs and how to avoid scams. Take some time to check it out. Knowledge isn’t only power, it’s protection from scams. Plus it will shorten the distance between here and having a WAH job.
4) Clean up your digital dirt.
It may not be fair, but employers will Google you and judge you by the content they find about you. If you’re using f-bombs, going off on volatile rants, or posting risque pictures from your trip to Cancun, you might jeopardize your job search. Before you start sending out your resume, take some time to see what’s online and clean up anything that might reflect badly on your character. That starts by Googling your name so see what pops up. If you can delete questionable stuff, do it. Another great way to handle digital dirt is to push it down in search engine rankings with new, more positive stuff. You might even consider creating a blog or online resume, so that employers find that, instead of the problem material.
5) Write a great cover letter and resume.
Finding WAH jobs is actually very easy. The hard part is getting hired. Your email introduction (cover letter) is the first chance you have to show off your stuff. If you make it past that, you’re resume must show how you’re the best person for the job. I can’t press upon you enough how crucial a quality cover letter and resume are to getting a WAH job. So how do you make yours stand out? By tailoring your introduction and resume to each specific job. That starts by matching your skills and experience directly to what the job announcement asks for. It also means doing a little research on the job and/or employer, so you can speak directly to that industry. Check out this article here at WAHS with specific steps on writing a winning a work-at-home resume.
6) Search for the right work in the right places.
I’ve already mentioned that you need to avoid Google and other search engines for work-at-home jobs. You wouldn’t use those resources for a traditional job, and you shouldn’t for a WAH job either. Instead, bookmark job sites that have work-at-home listings. For one, you can visit the Work-At-Home Success Job Board. A few of my other favorite places include:
FlexJobs: This isn’t a free service, but for the serious work-at-home wannabee it’s one of the best for job listings and job support services.
HomeJobStop : This isn’t free either, but it’s more affable and has over 100 jobs in clerical, and more in customer service, writing, transcription, miscellaneous plus 100’s of others.
Indeed Telecommuting Jobs: This is free and a terrific resource for finding WAH job. Just be sure you’ve read the article on screening WAH jobs out of the biz ops and scams, as questionable jobs can end up on Indeed.
Check out this post on 12 Places to Find Work-At-Home Job for resources.
6) Utilize your network
Networking is the most underutilized resources by job seekers, which is unfortunate, because it’s one of the best ways to find and get hired to a job. An employer is more likely to view your resume and interview you if you’ve been referred by someone he knows and trusts. So don’t be afraid to tell your friends, family, and online networks that you’re looking for a telecommuting job. See if they won’t share your LinkedIn Profile or online resume with their networks.
7) Search, apply, search, apply…
It’s tempting to submit a resume, and then sit back to wait for a response. But employers with virtual jobs are notorious for not responding. Or they might respond in a month. I once heard back a year later (and I, in fact, job that job). Unless you’re happy to wait, never sit on your laurels expecting a job to come through. Make time each day to search and apply for job. The more you apply, the greater the odds you’ll get hired.
8) Troubleshoot problems.
If you’re applying and applying, but not getting results, it’s time to figure out what’s not working. Is your resume doing it’s job in outlining what you have to offer an employer? Are you qualified for the jobs you’re applying to? While you can expect a certain amount of rejection in a job search, if you’re not getting any bites, you want to troubleshoot why you’re not getting hired.
9) Consider other options.
Most people who come to Work-At-Home Success want a work-at-home job because they think they’ll have greater security and regular pay. But that isn’t necessarily true. As you follow the steps above to find and get hired to a work-at-home job, or if you’re not having luck, you have a ton of other options to make money from home. Many of them can offer just as much security and stability, and often greater pay. Some other options to consider include:
Freelancing: being a freelancer often allows for greater flexibility and per hour rates. Just about any WAH job can be done as a freelancer. You can search the many freelance job boards or microwork sites for work, or start your own business.
Direct Sales: You don’t have to start from scratch. If you have an interest or passion about a particular product or service, odds are there is a direct sales or business opportunity that you can buy to promote them. Just make sure you do your due diligence in checking out the business, and then do the work become a direct sales success.
Blogging: One of the best ways to make income from a variety of areas doing something you really enjoy is blogging. While the income isn’t automatic, if you do the work, and provide content people want, it can be a fun and lucrative way to make money at home.
Check out some other online income options you can consider.
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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