I get a lot of people asking me how to get started looking for a work at home job. They know they want one, but have no clue where or how to start looking, even after finding this site.

So, short answer, take a look at the Work at Home Jobs section of this website.

Ah, but that’s not terribly helpful to those who really don’t know what they want to do. How do you get to the point where you can start looking for a particular work at home job?

1. Look at your expectations.

Despite the myths, working at home isn’t easy. So many people just want to be pointed in the right direction and have it handed to them, and that’s just not going to happen. When you want something in life you can’t sit around waiting for it to happen. You have to do what it takes to make it happen.

Expect to have to work at looking for a job. You probably wouldn’t get the first outside the home job you apply for, so why should you expect that for a work at home job?

Don’t assume that you’ll be making big bucks from a work at home job. That’s one of the big reasons people get scammed so easily. Visions of easy money make people lose all common sense. Many work at home jobs don’t pay spectacularly well unless it’s a more in demand and hard to find skill. And most home businesses can take anywhere from months to years to become profitable, IF they ever do… no matter what the hype says.

2. What do you want to do?

Just as in looking for an outside the home job, it really helps to know what kind of work at home job you’re looking for. What are you qualified for? Do you have any relevant experience?

It’s all well and good to say, “Well, I’d like to do customer service, or maybe data entry or even assemble stuff from home, just so long as I get paid.” That is, if you want to fail.

Don’t be vague. And don’t just think about the classic work at home jobs. There are a lot more possibilities out there.

3. Really look at your experience.

It’s extra hard landing a work at home job if you lack experience. There’s rarely any face to face training unless the company has strict location requirements.

Experience always helps. It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re looking for. Employers love experience.

You don’t necessarily need the exact job title as the one you’re going for. Many jobs give you a part of the skills you need for the common work at home jobs. Just think about how many jobs have aspects that can be related to customer service, for example.

4. Work on your resume.

Now, the best resumes are targeted to the individual job, not just a generic resume for a particular field. But you should have one that is generally targeted toward what you’re seeking so that it doesn’t take too long to customize it for each application. You want to target it to each individual employer’s needs.

5. Work on your cover letter.

You may not always need one, but it’s good to have a cover letter available as a way to introduce yourself when possible. Don’t talk about wanting to work at home for more time with your family and that kind of stuff; it’s not relevant to potential employers, any more than saying you want to work to support your family would be for applying to an outside the home job.

Just as with your resume, have a generic one you can customize as needed.

6. Put a salt shaker on your desk.

No, you don’t have to do this literally. But when you’re about to start looking at work at home opportunities, you need to be prepared to take things with a grain of salt and a whole lot of skepticism. Probably go through the entire shaker pretty fast.

Work at home scams outnumber legitimate opportunities by far. I try to keep things clean here, but I can’t promise to get it perfect. And if you’re searching around and about the internet you’re probably going to run into a lot of scams.

7. Start looking.

With a good notion of the kind of job you’re looking for, it’s time to quit preparing and start looking. You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t take action.

Don’t pay to apply for a work at home job. A very few legitimate companies charge applicants for a background check – only consider these companies if you really think you’re a good match and can risk the cost of the background check.

Once you’re applying, it can be quite the waiting game. It is not at all uncommon for work at home job hunts to take months, sometimes over a year. I’m not going to promise you an easy time finding a job. Lots of other people probably want the same jobs you do, and you can’t all have them.

It can pay off to apply to some employers every few months. Don’t overdo it or you’ll be an annoyance, but a time can come when sending in a fresh application is the right move.

Finally, if your family is desperate for money, do consider an outside the home job if that’s what you need to keep financially afloat. I see too many people saying they need a work at home job desperately so they can pay their bills. If that’s you, consider finding an outside the home job while you hunt for work at home.

You may have to work at night if you’re married and can’t afford child care. You may have to find a friend to trade child care with if you don’t have any way to pay for child care and no one else to help you.

If you need income be realistic about it and remember that you can find work at home later, without such extreme financial pressure. Desperation means you’re more likely to make stupid mistakes.