Your Work at Home Job Hunt – Are You Prepared?
If you want to work at home, you need to be ready for your work at home job hunt, just as you would for any other kind of job. Your search will generally go better when you plan things out in advance and are generally prepared to apply for the jobs you find. There are several strategies which can help you get ready.
Know What Kinds Of Work at Home Jobs You Want
I often have people email me asking how to find a work at home job. Asked like that, the question lumps all work at home jobs together and is not a good start. “Work at home job” indicates where you would be working, not what you will be doing. It’s rarely the most important consideration when preparing for your search, even when home is where you really want to work and you have good reasons for that preference.
What matters more is the kind of work you are interested in and qualified for. Employers won’t be all that interested in why you want to work at home, although they might ask in an interview. Far more important to them will be the skills and qualifications you bring to the job. Figuring out what you want to do prepares you to figure out your qualifications in the next step.
You want to work at home, but all of your experience is in retail and you don’t have a college degree. What kind of work at home jobs do you qualify for?
Customer service jobs may be a good fit if you can set up a comfortable and quiet home office. The time you’ve spent dealing with customers in a retail setting may prepare you for an entry level customer service job at home.
If you type well, you may also decide to consider a general transcription job. You can get training online or try one of the lower paying entry level companies that care relatively little about experience.
Figure Out Your Qualifications
In some ways, your qualifications matter more when you want to work at home than when you want to work outside the home. Training
Add in how many people really want to work at home for various reasons, and things get pretty competitive.
Review your experience from other jobs. What makes you qualified for the jobs you want? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Some work at home jobs require special training before you apply. Medical transcription and medical coding are two popular options that require you to get training on your own first. Some jobs also require certifications and a couple of years experience. Other jobs, such as software development, may require a college degree or significant experience. Be realistic about what you’re qualified for and what you can get qualified for.
Put the word out that you’re looking for work. Friends, family, former and current coworkers, your alumni association, members of your church, parents of your children’s friends, neighbors, members of any organization you belong to – all can be helpful in your work at home job hunt. You never know who will have information about job openings.
Be clear about your employment goals and be ready to tell people about them. You may have only a few seconds in person, so have your pitch ready.
Include LinkedIn in your networking efforts. You might be surprised by some of the connections you can find once you’ve started. Make sure you understand how to use LinkedIn. Be professional – LinkedIn isn’t about your personal life. Participate in groups, be valuable.
Write a Better Resume
How does your resume look? Is it ready to send off to employers? When was the last time you updated it?
Here’s the thing about resumes. You should have a resume that you can readily adapt to each job you apply for. Pay special attention to the exact skills and qualifications the employer is looking for. Many companies have a computer sort resumes before a human ever sees them, and having the right keywords for the job improves the chances that a human will consider yours.
The resume you create for your work at home job hunt should show that you’re ready to work at home. Make sure your resume emphasizes relevant work at home skills as well as the skills the job requires.
Plan Your Cover Letter
Like your resume, your cover letter should be customized for each application. Plan out a basic one, and take the time to edit it for each job.
Your cover letter should be an introduction to you and your skills. Exactly how you should write your cover letter will depend in part on the industry you want to work in. As with resumes, it can pay to read up on what makes a good cover letter.
Some online job applications will not have space for a cover letter, and if that’s the case, don’t try to figure out how to send one. Go with the information requested by the employer.
Know The Work At Home Scams
Work at home scams are a constant problem for job seekers. Many prey on people who need work badly enough that they don’t catch the warning signs. Others are so sneaky that even an alert job seeker may have difficulty spotting the.
Start out by knowing the common warning signs:
- You have to pay to apply: While some legit companies charge for a background check, scams may ask for money for a variety of reasons. Make sure you don’t pay when you shouldn’t.
Interviewis on Google Hangouts: Very few legitimate job interviews happen on Google Hangouts.
- Contact email is a free email address: Most legitimate jobs will have you contact them through an email address with the company’s domain name.
Jobcannot be found through their site: Most work at home jobs can be found through the employer’s website. If it’s listed on another site and the contact information cannot be verified as belonging to that company, find another way to confirm that you have found a legitimate position with them.
- Pay is too good: Scams may appeal to your greed by offering oddly high pay for the work required.
- They will send you a check for “expenses:” Some scams will claim that they will send you a check to cover equipment expenses. While some companies will help you get equipment, this can also be a check cashing scam.
These are just some of the ways to detect work at home scams.
If none of these warning signs apply, but your gut feeling is that it’s a scam, pay attention. You may have noticed something you don’t fully understand. Do extra research to ensure that you’ve found a legitimate opportunity.
Some scams are so sneaky that you may not spot them until the interview. Be alert even when you reach that stage with potential employers.
Find Your Preferred Employers
There may be some employers you would really like to work for. Find their website and where they post job openings, both on and off their website. If you have any connections with people who work there already, on LinkedIn or other websites, let them know what you’re looking for. You might hear about openings before they’re posted if you’re lucky and have done a good job networking.
But don’t forget to look at other employers too. Just because you like what some companies have to offer doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore less ideal companies. Having a job is usually better than having no job. It may even make you look more appealing to other employers.
Discover the Best Keywords For Your Work at Home Job Hunt
Don’t rely only on the employers you’ve already heard of. Figure out the best keywords to help you find other opportunities you’re qualified for. “Work at home” is not the best keyword for home based work much of the time, although it has its uses. Too many scams use it for it to be your best primary keyword. “Telecommute,” “virtual” and “remote” are often better. Combine them with the kind of work you want; don’t use them alone.
Your job skills, for example, can make great keywords for your work at home job hunt. This is especially true on job boards.
A PHP web developer, for example, may want to use “PHP” as a keyword in their search, rather than web developer. This way, they’ll find positions where the employer is looking for the exact skill they offer.
The most common job title for your skills may work as well. If you’re looking for a customer service work at home job, odds are that you’ll find most listed as “customer service,” if not in the job title, then somewhere in the description.
Don’t be scared off by the fancy titles some companies give common jobs. It doesn’t matter if the job title calls you some kind of guru – the real question you must answer is “can you do this job?”
Choose Good Job Boards
There are plenty of job boards out there to help you with your job search. The work at home job board here at Home With the Kids is free. Other job boards such as Dice and Simply Hired can also provide good leads, although you will need to sort out the jobs that actually offer you the opportunity to work at home.
You can also consider paid job boards such as FlexJobs. The advantage to such sites is that they may do more screening of employers, to make sure they’re legitimate. A
Be Sensible About Your Goals
Do not set a daily goal of so many applications or anything like that. It’s a waste of time to apply to jobs just to meet some arbitrary goal you’ve set yourself.
Your goals should have more to do with accomplishing a successful job hunt. Some days you might spend several hours reviewing job listings and applying to interesting positions. Other days you may not find much you haven’t looked at already. An arbitrary goal may push you to put too little effort into some applications or apply to jobs that aren’t really relevant to your skills.
Taking these steps to prepare yourself for your work at
Be Ready For Interviews
Preparing for interviews is a vital part of any job hunt. When you’re doing a remote job interview from home, you need to prepare in ways you may not have considered.
Remote interviews may be conducted by phone or on a service such as Skype. In either case, make sure you’re ready for interviews when they happen.
For phone interviews, this means having a quiet place to talk where no one will interrupt you. You will need to talk to everyone else in the house about what that means. It looks unprofessional if you allow interruptions during an interview.
On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about what an interviewer thinks of your physical appearance during a phone interview. You may still find it useful to dress professionally for psychological reasons, but it’s up to you.
If your interview is on Skype or any other video service, you should definitely dress professionally. You should also test your equipment so that you know you’re completely ready. You won’t look good if you agree to a video interview and then have trouble getting your camera or microphone to work for the interview.
Be prepared to discuss your work at home setup. Potential employers may need to know the details of your home office space, the kind of equipment you have, and how you plan to deal with distractions.