Last Updated March 12th, 2019

How To Find Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

How To Find Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

Typing is one of the most popular ways to work from home. Job seekers see it as an easy way to earn money while watching their kids. And while work at home data entry jobs are few and far between, there are alternatives. One possibility is to find work from home closed captioning jobs.

In its way, captioning is much like transcription – you’re typing up what people say. It’s more specialized, however, especially if you caption live television, which requires much greater speed and accuracy than preparing captions for recorded shows.

Accurate captioning is vital, as it allows hearing impaired people to enjoy television and movies at home. Some people with good hearing also like having the captions on, especially if the room is noisy.

What Are The Types Of Captioning?

There are two basic types of captioning jobs out there. While they require similar skills, one is much harder than the other.

Offline Closed Captioning

Offline closed captioning is where you’re likely to start if you have little or no experience. There are still rules to learn, such as how you cope when people talk over each other, and what you do about background noises.

Sometimes you will have a script to start your captioning, and then add the time codes to it so that everything matches up. Other times you will transcribe first from the show, then add the time codes in.

You will also need to learn how to use time codes. These help keep the captioning aligned with what’s happening on the screen. Captioning that gets ahead or behind what’s actually being said is annoying to the audience.

On the plus side, offline captioning can be highly flexible work. This depends in part on the company, but some will allow you to decide when you work rather than set a schedule for you.

television

Realtime Closed Captioning

When you see closed captions on the news and other live television shows, that’s done by more highly trained closed captioners. It’s a good job for people with training in stenography, and you will likely be expected to use stenography equipment. This allows their typing speeds to go as high as 200-300 words per minute.

You have to be fast to do realtime closed captioning. Ideally, the words should appear within two seconds of being spoken, with very few errors. If you’ve ever watched a live show with captions, you may have seen how the captioner will sometimes go back and make rapid corrections. They need to do so for accuracy, but they risk losing track of what’s being said if they have to make corrections too often.

And of course, realtime captioning means you work on the schedule of the shows you caption. No flexibility there.

You cannot afford any distractions if you are doing realtime closed captioning. This is not a job for someone who is also watching the kids or has to deal with other noises while they work. Distractions are a bad idea even if you’re captioning previously recorded shows, but they’re disastrous if you’re working live.

What Training Do Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs Require?

While not all companies require training or experience for work from home closed captioning jobs, it’s a good idea to get training first. Training will help you get off to a better start, as you’ll know what you’re doing. The better prepared you are, the easier it is to earn money.

Training also means you may qualify for better paying jobs. If a closed captioning job doesn’t require training or experience, odds are that the pay is very, very low.

If you’re already trained in transcription, you’re a good part of the way there for captioning. You’ll need to learn how to use time codes, but you’ve learned how to type rapidly. You’ll still need stenography training for some positions, as that requires a different set of skills.

Court reporting and stenography training are also very helpful. Some court reporting schools also offer training for captioning. You will be trained on stenography equipment, which will allow you to write the captions much more quickly than you could type them otherwise. This training may take 2-5 years.

How Much Do Captioning Jobs Pay?

The pay rate for captioning varies quite a bit by company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups captioning with court reporters, and gives a median income of $55,120 per year or $26.50 per hour. You will not earn that much as a beginner, so don’t set your expectations that high right away. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/court-reporters.htm

Glassdoor lists captioner salaries starting as low as $8 an hour. Many companies pay on production, so it is possible to earn less than that when you’re still learning the job. This number is probably more realistic when you’re just starting out.

computer with speakers

The reason it’s difficult to figure out exactly how much you will earn is because many work at home closed captioning jobs pay on production, not hourly. As of this writing, Rev states that they pay $0.45-$0.75 per video minute. When you’re new, this means a very low hourly rate, but gets better as your skills improve.

Realtime captioning pays better than offline captioning, due to the challenges involved and training required.

What Equipment Do Captioners Need?

You will need to set up your home office with the right equipment before starting captioning work. Many work at home captioning jobs are freelance, and so you will need to start out with enough equipment to get you going. If you’re a regular employee, your employer may provide equipment to you.

The first thing you will need is a computer. Some companies want you to have two computers, to ensure that you have backup. This way it’s not a complete disaster if your computer fails; you just go over to the spare.

You will also need high speed internet, and possibly multiple phone lines. The exact requirement varies from company to company. Many jobs are done entirely online which used to require a connection over the phone.

Headphones are a must. Don’t use ear buds – you want high quality, over the ear headphones. Any background noise in your home will be a distraction that slows you down.

If you do offline captioning, you will probably want a foot pedal. If you do realtime captioning, you will need stenography equipment. It’s often best to look at jobs before buying equipment, as employers may have a preference or may provide equipment to you.

Companies Which May Have Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

Aberdeen

Realtime closed captioning jobs at Aberdeen may pay as much as $75 an hour. This is for the highly experienced captioner who can type at 180-220 wpm. Jobs transcribing video clips may also be available. Their jobs may require familiarity with Biblical and Christian terminology.

ASC/Morningside

ASC/Morningside doesn’t so much do captioning as they do transcripts of news shows and such. Not all positions are home based, so pay attention to the location before applying. At least three years of experience is required, along with a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism.

computer and keyboard

CaptioningStar

CaptioningStar looks for experienced, freelance, realtime captioners. They offer closed captions, broadcast captions, live captions, and open captions to their clients.

Captionmax

While many of the captioning positions at Captionmax are located in their office, they have some contractor positions that can be done remotely. These positions are for realtime captioning, and require that you have experience and your own equipment. An A.A. or B.S. in Court and Conference Reporting or satisfactory completion of other 2-year equivalent program is required. You should also have NCRA certification Certified Broadcast Captioner or equivalent.

Daily Transcription

Subtitler/captioner positions with Daily Transcription require previous experience in the field. You also have to sign a NDA before testing for the position. They also have transcription positions available. Applicants must live in the U.S. or Canada.

They allow you to create your own schedule, which is great if you need flexible work. You get work based on the time you select on the scheduler.

They also state that they pay more than Rev. Their top transcriptionist earns $250- $950 per week.

Dotsub

Dotsub offers freelance captioning positions. On their application, they’re interested if you are bilingual, have a medical or legal background, are familiar with technology, or are a sports fan. Some positions involve subtitle translation.

GoTranscript

GoTranscript mostly offers transcription services, but they also offer captioning services. Positions are freelance. The average transcriptionist earns $150 per month, with the top earner at $1215 per month, according to their site.

They do not require experience, but you must have good English skills. You can even retake the test a few days later if you fail the first time.

NCI

NCI may have both in-office and home based captioning jobs available. Some positions are for independent contractors, but employee positions may be available as well. Stenography experience may be required for realtime captioning positions.

Rev

Rev offers a variety of freelance positions, including captioning, subtitling, transcription and translation. Captioning pays $0.45-$0.75 per video minute and they state that the average captioner working for them earns $240, with top earners going up to $1570. You do not need experience to work at Rev.

Rev is completely flexible with their freelance captioners. You decide when to work and how much you work. It may not be open to all locations, however.

Vitac

Vitac starts out work at home captioners as part time employees. There may be the opportunity to become full time later. One job title to look for on their board is Voice Captioners. This work is done using speech recognition software. They say the hours are flexible, but to expect this to include nights, weekends, and holidays, which means you may need to be flexible for them.

If you are selected to work for Vitac, they may have you travel out to Denver, Colorado for onboarding and initial training. Full time employees may qualify for benefits.

What About Other Typing Jobs At Home?

If you’re looking for typing jobs at home and have decided that captioning isn’t for you, consider transcription jobs. The skills needed can be similar, with a few differences, as you don’t have to prepare the transcript to keep up with the show.

Some kinds of transcription, such as medical transcription jobs, require training before you can look for jobs. This is due to the specialized vocabulary and formatting required.

Others require no special training, but it can help. You may want to consider a course such as Transcribe Anywhere to learn what is expected in a transcription job.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 25th, 2019

What To Do If You Get Fired From Your Work at Home Job

What To Do If You Get Fired From Your Work at Home Job

It can happen. You find a work at home job, but for one reason or another, things don’t work out. You get fired from your work at home job. Now what?

Getting fired is a painful, difficult time, especially if you rely on the income. If you need your job to be home based it can be worse in some ways, as legitimate work at home jobs can be very hard to come by.

But it’s not time to panic right away. You have more important things to do. Take a deep breath and deal with the situation.

Find Out If You Qualify For Unemployment

Not everyone who works at home will qualify for unemployment benefits. First and foremost, you may not have been paying into the system if you were considered an independent contractor. If you or your employer aren’t paying into the system, you don’t get money out.

Secondly, whether or not you qualify for benefits will depend on why you were fired. This may vary from state to state, so you can only tell by contacting your local unemployment office. I can’t tell you anything about whether you’ll qualify or even if you should try for it.

If there’s a chance you will qualify, file for benefits right away. You only hurt yourself by waiting. Sure, you may think you can land a new job right away, but what if you don’t? Do what you can to keep money coming in by filing.

Do not listen if your employer tells you that you can’t file for unemployment because you were fired. They aren’t the ones who determine that.

sad after fired

Be Professional

Whatever you do, take a professional attitude toward your former employer. Don’t contact former coworkers or clients with complaints about being fired. That can look worse on you than on your former employer.

Don’t talk bad about the company that fired you to potential employers either. That’s a great way to ruin an interview. If you speak poorly of your previous employer, the interviewer will be concerned about how you’ll speak of them if you’re hired.

Ask Your Former Employer How Your Departure Will Be Described

One of the awkward parts about looking for work after being fired is wondering how your former employer will describe you to future potential employers who are checking out your work history. You can ask.

It’s not too uncommon for companies to only confirm your dates of employment or give minimal information. Depending on why you were fired, they might keep things that simple for you. You should still be honest about having been fired when interviewing with potential employers, but knowing what your former employer will say can help you decide exactly how much to say.

Know What You Should Get From Your Employer

Just because you were fired doesn’t mean you no longer have any association with your former employer. There may be some things you still get.

Some positions may offer severance pay, even if you were fired.

You may also be able to continue your health insurance for a time through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). This will be more expensive, as you will be paying the entire cost, but it may be important.

Don’t forget to compare what you can get through healthcare.gov.

Know your rights if your employer asks you to sign a nondisclosure or noncompete agreement. Employers usually cannot enforce a noncompete agreement in California, for example.

If you have a 401k with your employer, you have a few options. You can leave it there, roll it over into a 401k with your new employer, move it into an IRA, or cash it out. Consider your options carefully.

job hunt planning

Review Your Finances

Just what is your financial situation without your job? Are you going to be okay without a job for a while, or is it a major crisis? How can you stretch things out if necessary?

Depending on whether or not you get unemployment benefits and what other money your family has coming in, you may or may not have a huge rush to get a new job.

You’ll do best if you cut out unnecessary expenditures, so what money you do have lasts as long as possible. You don’t want any trouble if the job hunt takes longer than you thought it would.

Contact Potential References

Just because you were fired from a company doesn’t mean that no one there will be a good reference for your new job hunt. If there was a supervisor or someone else you worked well with, you may still get a good professional reference from them. Ask if you think it’s possible.

Also start contacting references from previous jobs if possible. Places you volunteer may be another place to find references.

Think About Why You Were Fired

Don’t focus on this right away. Give it a couple days first, then think about why you were fired? Was it something you did, or completely out of your control? Be honest with yourself. This is something you should learn from.

Think About What New Kind Of Work You’d Like

One thing about being fired, you’re now free to consider what direction you’d like your career to go. You no longer have the security of a job keeping you from seeking out better or just different.

You can, of course, stick with your current career path if that’s where you want to be. Even with work at home jobs, there are a number of companies to work for in most industries. Even when things didn’t end the way you wanted it to, you have some amount of experience in it. It may not be significant if you weren’t on the job long, but if it was a position you held for some years, that’s good.

This may be the perfect time to update your skills and education if you can afford to do so.

find job

Start Job Hunting

Once you’ve had a little time to deal with the shock of being fired, it’s time to start looking for a work at home job. If you’ve already had one work at home job, you may remember having a difficult search. It’s not at all uncommon to have a hard time finding remote work.

Prepare yourself for your work at home job hunt. Planning ahead will help you deal with them. You can greatly improve your chances of getting a work at home job if you have the right training or experience when you apply for jobs. Employers hate dealing with all the people who think they can land a job that they have absolutely no qualifications for.

Make sure that you clean up your social media so that you look good online during your job hunt. Especially for remote jobs, this may be one of the major ways you make an impression on potential employers. You want it to be a good one.

Get Your Resume Ready

Take some time and prepare a good resume. Odds are it has changed somewhat since you last looked for work. You want your new resume to reflect where you want to go next and be easily targeted toward potential new jobs.

Prepare a basic cover letter too. Like your resume, you’ll customize this to target each potential employer, but it’s a lot easier if you have a basic version ready to start.

You do not need to bring up that you were fired in your cover letter or resume. Deal with that issue honestly when it’s necessary, not before.

Never lie on your resume or job application. That would give future employers cause to terminate you.

Network

No matter the reason why you need a new job, networking matters. If you have contacts in your industry, especially if they might know about work at home positions, let them know you’re in the market for a new job. You never know who will know about something.

Think About How To Handle Your Firing In a Job Interview

The question is going to come up about why you left your last position. You need an honest reason. Don’t say anything bad about your former employer or why you were fired. Focus instead on what you learned from it. You may be able to turn it positive and show how you’ve grown as a potential employee.

Look For Ways To Earn Money While You Hunt For A Job

Don’t spend all of your energy looking for the perfect long-term job. Taking on freelance jobs and side gigs can make a lot of sense when you’re unemployed. There are lots of super flexible companies out there that allow you to earn money on your own schedule. That’s a huge help when you never know when a job interview will come up.

Remember to report any income when you file for unemployment if you’re receiving money from them! You do NOT want to pay a penalty for failing to report income. Report any and all income.

Don’t Be Ashamed

Lots of people get fired. It hurts, it’s easy to be embarrassed or ashamed at first, but many people have had the same experience. It’s rough, but it can be an opportunity too. Don’t let the fact that you were fired from your work at home job keep you from doing what needs to get done.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 2nd, 2019

Your Work at Home Job Hunt – Are You Prepared?

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.

Example:

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

job hunt planning

In some ways, your qualifications matter more when you want to work at home than when you want to work outside the home. Training home based workers has different challenges, as does supervising them. This means that employers want people who are ready to work at home without a ton of direct supervision.

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.

Network

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

job searching

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.

Read up on what makes a good resume. There are plenty of books on resume writing, and many are available in Kindle editions so you can access it right away.

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

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.
  • Interview is 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.
  • Job cannot 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

application form

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 good paid job board will be focused on what you need from it – work at home jobs, for example – and have a clear refund policy in case you find the service unsatisfactory.

Be Sensible About Your Goals

apply now

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 home job hunt can improve your chances of success. It may take some time – most job hunts do – but with persistence and a good match of your skills to the jobs you apply, you might land the job you want.

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.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 24th, 2018

How to Improve Your Chances of Landing a Work at Home Job

How to Improve Your Chances of Landing a Work at Home Job

Are you having trouble landing a work at home job? It’s not an easy process for most people. There’s a lot of competition for most positions. But if you’ve applied to a lot of work at home jobs and haven’t landed one yet, odds are that there’s something you need to change in your work at home job hunt.

Following these tips won’t guarantee that you land a work at home job. Nothing can do that – it’s up to the employers, and I am not an employer. What these tips can do is help you look better as you seek out the right work at home job.

Set Up A Spreadsheet

This part is optional, but setting up a spreadsheet can help you to keep track of where you’ve applied, when you did so, and what you heard back. I’ve made a sample job application tracking spreadsheet you can use with Google Sheets.

Knowing where and when you’ve applied can save you a lot of trouble. You don’t have to rely on your memory for how long it has been since you applied.

You can add a lot more information to your spreadsheet than what I’ve done here. As you think of things you would like to track while applying for jobs, put them into your spreadsheet. It will save you a lot of frustration.

Know The Scams

If you don’t know how to spot a work at home scam, learn.

Now.

Being scammed while looking for a way to earn money is incredibly painful and humiliating. But if you’re alert, you can avoid a lot of them.

Many scams fall simply into the category of “too good to be true.” If a remote job opportunity looks too good to be true, look more carefully before applying. You might just be staring at a scam.

Others are more subtle. Some scams use the names of legitimate remote employers to gain your trust. Make sure you know for certain that the person you’re dealing with is who they say they are and that they’re representing the company you believe you’re dealing with.

Falling for a work at home scam wastes your time. It makes your job hunt more miserable. Do everything you can to avoid falling for a work at home job scam so that you can avoid that frustration.

work at home job hunt

Are You Qualified?

Before you start searching for a work at home job, go over your skills and experience. You need to narrow your search down to the jobs you are qualified to perform. I hear of a lot of people applying for work at home jobs with no consideration for what they already know how to do.

Think of it this way. Would you expect to get hired for an outside the home job if you had no qualifications for it?

Probably not.

Sometimes this means you have to get training before you start to search for jobs at all. I had to get training in medical transcription before I got my job doing that.

Training can cost money when you do it yourself. Career Step, for example, provides good training for medical transcriptionists and medical coders, but it’s not cheap. If you put in the effort and get a job after, it should be worth it. Kick back and do a poor job of training, and you’ve wasted your money.

It is not a scam to pay money for high quality training. You can get scammed if the training isn’t what it claimed, but good training no different than attending school for an outside the home job. Sometimes it’s just what you have to do.

There are some remote jobs that require no experience. If you don’t want to get training and you lack experience, these are the jobs you want to apply for.

Don’t go applying for jobs that want lots of experience – you’re wasting your time. Many employers use software to sort applications to see who has qualifications, and if you lack them, odds are that no human will even look at your application.

So just skip it if you are completely and utterly unqualified. I can’t repeat that one often enough. Companies that hire people to work at home get very tired of unqualified applicants. I’ve even had one tell me so.

Does Your Resume Show That You’re Qualified?

Your resume can ruin all your chances of landing a work at home job if it doesn’t do a good job of representing the skills and experience you will bring to the job. It’s the first impression most employers will have of you.

Write a crappy resume and you can expect crappy results. It’s really quite simple.

The first thing your work at home resume must do is show that you have the skills the employer is seeking. Look at the job description. Do you think your resume is a poor match, a good match, or a great match for the job as described?

You want it to be a great match. Failing that, a good match will do.

Look at the keywords used in the job description. If the employer is using software to sort applications, odds are that it’s looking for those keywords. Use them in your resume to improve your chances of getting an interview.

Make sure you follow directions when you apply for a work at home job. I can’t tell you how many people have contacted me after reading a job listing here on this site, thinking that I’m the employer.

I’m not. Nor do I have an “in” with these companies to help you get a job.

They also want to see that you can work independently. Anything you can do with your resume or cover letter that shows that you can work with little to no supervision will help.

Never, ever, minimize your skill with a computer. If you’re working remotely, odds are that you will be using a computer a lot, even if the job requires little to no experience. Employers don’t want to hold your hand as you learn computer basics.

Get ready to work at home

Are You Following Instructions?

How you apply for the job tells the company a lot. If you can’t follow their instructions, if your resume is a mess, they aren’t going to be interested. They’ll find someone else out of the thousands of applications from other people who want to work at home.

Some employers, for example, will have their job posted on a job board but want you to email them directly rather than apply through the board.

They may even have you use a particular subject line in your email to show that you’re paying attention.

But following instructions goes beyond applying on the right site. It’s what you do after you apply.

Many employers specify that they do NOT want you to contact them to find out the status of your application. They get a lot of them. It takes time to go through all those applications and they don’t have time to answer the questions of a bunch of hopefuls every day.

Yes, that means you have to wait and wonder about your application. Keep applying to jobs until you get one, and don’t spend so much time wondering about individual ones.

Are You Prepared For Interviews?

Be prepared if you should make it as far as the telephone interview. Even if you won’t be on the phone as a part of your job, you will need to sound professional on the phone.

Yes, you will often be going up against some heavy competition.

Whenever your interview is, find a quiet place for it. Have someone keep the kids and pets away. Keep the television and radio off, and no surfing the internet while you talk.

Preparing for a phone or video interview is much like preparing for any other interview. Have some questions ready that you can ask your interviewer.

A word of warning: Just because you get an interview doesn’t mean you should let your guard down about work at home scams. Be aware of the signs of a work at home job scam interview. They count on your eagerness for a job to get past your defenses.

home office ready

Have Your Workspace Ready

Many remote jobs have specific requirements for your workspace. If you don’t have this ready to go before you get an interview, you’re at a disadvantage.

If the jobs you’re applying for require the use of a wired telephone or internet service, wireless isn’t going to do. Set up in advance, or you may find that you miss out on jobs because you can’t get things installed in time.

Similarly, you don’t want to have to buy a lot of equipment. Some employers will provide the basic equipment you need, but many will expect you to provide your own.

At the very least, you will need a sufficiently current computer of the right kind. Some employers require that you have a Windows computer, not Apple OS. Your operating system should be reasonably up to date as well, and don’t forget current antimalware software!

Don’t forget to set up a comfortable home office. Not everyone can have a dedicated home office space, but do the best you can. Some employers will be very interested in how your office is set up so that they know it meets their standards.

This is especially important if you’re dealing with things that require privacy. Medical transcriptionists and medical coders, for example, have to follow HIPAA. If your home office isn’t sufficiently private, you could get into trouble.

Consider Freelancing

Even if you’re really after a steady work at home job with benefits, sometimes taking on freelance work will be the answer you need. Freelancing has a lot of advantages.

The first advantage is that you can usually get higher pay. Don’t underestimate what you should earn from a freelance gig. Remember that you will have to pay higher taxes on freelance income, as they are not withheld by your employer.

Flexibility is the next advantage. Freelance jobs are usually quite flexible, although they can also be highly demanding if they want a lot of work with a quick deadline.

And of course, freelancing gives you more experience. This is great if you keep hearing from potential employers that you don’t have enough experience. Freelance for a time and get that experience.

Sometime a freelance gig will turn into a regular job. Some employers use freelancers essentially as a long job interview to decide if you’re who they want to hire. This is why you cannot dismiss a freelance gig offhand. It might take you exactly where you want to go.

Keep Trying

Will all this guarantee you the job? Dream on! It’s still a matter of how good you look versus everyone else trying for the job. But if you put your best face forward you certainly can improve your odds.

Landing a work at home job takes time. It can take months to land even an outside the home job, so why expect things to be any different when you want to work at home?

Give it time and improve your odds of success.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 26th, 2018

How Safe Are Work At Home Jobs?

How Safe Are Work At Home Jobs?

Being scammed is one of the big fears of every work at home job seekers. If you’ve done any research at all about working at home, you know that it’s a real concern. But the question is, how concerned should you be? How can you find safe work at home jobs?

In part, this depends on how you look for a work at home job. If you use the right resources, it’s fairly safe. The wrong ones, pretty risky. No matter how you look for a work at home job, there are things you can do to make your work at home job search safer.

Know The Signs Of A Work At Home Scam

The most important thing you need to know when looking for a work at home job is what the signs of a scam are. Knowing this will help you avoid them.

This will help you even if a scammer is using the name of a legitimate company to fool you. It happens – in fact, some companies that offer work at home jobs have warnings about this on their sites because it’s such a problem.

Your classic work at home scam will offer too much money for too little work. That’s the essential basis for scams such as the check cashing scam. They send you a check or money order for hundreds or thousands of dollars, tell you to keep a couple hundred for yourself and wire the rest back to them. It works on some people because they get greedy. The idea that you can earn hundreds for a half hour’s work, including driving, is pretty appealing to many people.

Poor grammar and lots of typos are often indicative of scams. Many come from people who do not speak English as their native language, so when they try to scam someone who speaks English, it’s not written the same way a native speaker would write it. It may also help to weed out those who are too aware, as the ones who dismiss the scam due to how it’s written may be too likely to see through it. Scams prey on the unwary.

I’ve written quite a bit about work at home scam on other occasions. Read these for more detailed information.

The Work at Home Job Seeker’s Guide to Scams
How to Spot a Work at Home Scam
4 Work at Home Scam Emails
What If The Work At Home Job Is Legitimate But Illegal Or Unethical?
The Check Cashing Scam Is Still Around

Know The Kind Of Work At Home Job You’re Looking For

It’s much easier to fall for a work at home scam if you have no idea what kind of work you’re looking for. This is because generic terms such as “work at home” are used to attract you even when you don’t have a type of job in mind.

I see so many people do this. They ask for help to find a work at home job, with no information beyond that because they haven’t thought that far. They want the advantages of working at home but haven’t truly considered it beyond that.

Know what you’re looking for. Are you open to a home business, starting a blog, etc., or do you only want a work at home job? What kind of job do you want? Do you have work experience? What skills, even if you haven’t used them in a job?

Being specific allows you to narrow down your search quickly. That’s vital for a safe work at home job hunt. It won’t guarantee that you avoid all the scams, but it helps.

Use Trusted Resources

Perhaps the best way to have a safe work at home job hunt is to use trusted resources to find a work at home job. I aim to have this blog and my remote job board be that kind of a resource.

If you aren’t certain about the kind of jobs you’re looking to do at home, for example, you can try my list of entry level remote jobs or my list of remote jobs with benefits. Either will give you a good number of places to start your search.

Even trusted resources can fail you. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone through my list of companies to find out that one or another has gone out of business since I last checked. That puts the company’s domain at risk for being used by scammers. Things change fast on the internet sometimes, and it’s not always for the better. This is why you must always use caution in your job hunt.

Use Caution With Your Personal Information

Always be careful when sharing your personal information online, especially your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank information.

Some legitimate companies have been known to ask for your Social Security number during the application process. I recommend trying not to share that until you’ve been offered a job – they don’t need that information until then.

Some companies will ask for credit card information to pay for a background check. I’ve never liked the notion of potential employees paying for a background check, but that’s how some companies do it. Be very, very certain that they’re legitimate before taking a chance on this.

Companies shouldn’t need any banking information until they’re paying you, and so that should never be shared in an application.

Anyone who is too eager to get your personal information too quickly should be eyed with caution. It might be normal for their particular business, but it’s not a good idea for you to go along with it too easily.

Places You Shouldn’t Look For A Work At Home Job

There are some places that are very high risk in your work at home job hunt. I would recommend avoiding these in general.

Street Signs & Public Bulletin Boards – You’ve probably seen the signs on the street or on bulletin boards advertising work at home or easy money opportunities. These are almost certainly scams. You may get the occasional person trying to recruit their downline for a network marketing company (a risk of a different sort), but many others are flat out scams.

Newspapers – Job offerings in newspapers can be legit, but how many people actually look in newspapers for jobs anymore? The scams that get posted in newspaper ads are looking for people who aren’t that savvy. You’re better off using your trusted online sources so that you can do research on the jobs you find during your search.

Newspapers are also too localized to be much good for work at home jobs. You might find one or two, but you can find so many more if you search online.

Comment Spam – How often have you seen spam comments on blog posts, forums, and social media advertising easy money earned from home? They aren’t honest. Usually, they just tell you to post ads of the same sort and make money on commissions. That’s not an honest model.

Craigslist – There are legitimate work at home jobs posted on Craigslist, but there are also scams. The community can flag the postings to shut them down, but they may still be up for a while. You’ll also find business opportunities claiming to be job opportunities. I’ve always hated that sort of deception, but people use it.

Can The Better Business Bureau Help You Find Safe Work At Home Jobs?

Many people will tell you to check with the Better Business Bureau when looking for work at home jobs. I’ve done so in the past, but these days I think there are better ways to figure out if a work at home job opportunity is, in fact, a scam.

Many people don’t realize that the Better Business Bureau is not a government agency. They are themselves a business. Companies pay to be members.

That said, sometimes you can use them to spot a scam. Just don’t use them as your only source, because they can’t tell you if someone is using the good name of a real company to scam you. They’re only helpful if scamming potential employees is all the business seems to do.

Know The Risks Of Home Business Opportunities

If you decide that your work at home job hunt is going to end with a home business opportunity of whatever sort, know what the risks are before you join.

Network marketing opportunities, for examples, are highly appealing to people who desperately need to earn money from home. Promoters can always point to the people who have earned a ton of money from the opportunity. You can usually check out the product before you join so that you know it’s something you’d like to do.

What often gets swept under the carpet is how many people lose money on these opportunities. Some people will lose thousands of dollars trying to keep up a good supply of products to sell. Most people who join even the best of the network marketing opportunities do not thrive at it. Others do very well, but it’s a risk you must be willing to take.

The same goes for blogging, much as I love it. You always hear about the people making five figures or more a month blogging. It sounds wonderful.

From what I’ve heard, most bloggers earn less than $100 a month. Is that a chance you’re willing to take?

The great part about blogging is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. If you decide you want to blog, I recommend spending a little on it, as good hosting and domain name aren’t free, but they are cheap. The risk is pretty low, and you don’t have to spend more until you’re ready to take that chance. Choose the right topic, and blogging is fun, regardless of the money made. I strongly recommend trying to earn money from your blog, just because it’s so awesome when it works, so long as you don’t overspend trying to make it happen.

Be careful of blogging courses and such. Many high income bloggers have them, and income from selling their courses may be a significant part of their income. Taking their course doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do equally well. The right course might just be a wise investment. The wrong one will be a waste.

The same goes for any other home business opportunity. Know the risks before you risk too much money. There are times when spending money is the best path to improving your home business. Other times it’s no better than a scam aimed at home business owners.

Safe Work At Home Jobs Can Be Found

If you give your job hunt time and don’t give in to desperation, safe work at home jobs can be found. Take the time to look over every opportunity carefully so that you know what you’re getting into before you share your personal information or spend any money. Do it right, and you’ll avoid most scams with ease.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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