Techniques For Finding The Right Work From Home Job

by WorkFromHome on May 14, 2011

Everyone wants to be paid to do interesting work from the comfort of home while enjoying flexible hours, extra time with their children and the opportunity to work in their pyjamas from time to time. The trick, of course, is to actually find one of these great jobs that allow you to telecommute without giving up a stable income.

Everywhere you look, it seems like there are advertisements for jobs that will pay you to work from home. Whether they are listings in the local newspaper, job postings on employment websites or advertisements in trade journals, there is no shortage of advertisements, but how can you be sure that an opportunity is a legitimate one? Unfortunately, many of the so-called opportunities that you see advertised around town and online are the product of scam artists who are hoping to lure unsuspecting stay at home parents into handing over their personal identifying information and banking information.

The good news, though, is that with a little savvy, you can avoid false advertisements for business opportunities and fake job listings and zero in on the best work at home jobs and businesses for you and your family. Read on for strategies that you can use to identify home-based jobs that will pay you for your time and efforts.

Popular Scams To Avoid

It is entirely possible for an advertisement to bill itself as a business opportunity and be entirely legitimate. Unfortunately, this term is also popular with scam artists who use it when they try to get unsuspecting applicants to send them upfront deposits for franchise costs or placement testing. Although it is possible that a home based business will require you to pay upfront costs for items like inventory, a legitimate hiring company never will ask you to pay money to have your application processed or your work reviewed. Sticking to franchise businesses that have a long history of legitimate business practices will help you to safeguard your assets if you decide to start your own home based business, while keeping your banking information to yourself is the best plan otherwise.

How Job Searches From Home Should Go

Although working from home may feel a lot different from working in an office, the steps that you follow to find your new dream job should be very similar to those that you would follow to find a traditional position. Start by putting together a resume that has been customized for each position that you apply for. Yes, it takes longer to apply to each position if you edit your resume to highlight the skills and experience that are most likely to appeal to each potential employer, but it will be worth it when you land your dream work from home job.

While you are applying for telecommuting jobs that allow you to work from home, any legitimate potential employer should still interview you before hiring you for a position. Of course, since you are applying for a job that you perform from home, this interview may take place over the phone or while chatting over the Internet.

Once hired, expect to fill out all the normal tax forms for employees or independent contractors, depending on the terms of your employment. Regardless of whether you are working in an office or at home, part of a legitimate job is being paid for the work that you were hired to do. You should be paid the agreed upon amount of money at the appointed time, such as every week or every two weeks, until or unless you and your employer agree to alternate terms.

Different Work From Home Job Types

Despite making working from home a qualification in your job search, there are still many different areas that you can find employment opportunities. It is important to keep an open mind while you job hunt since the work at home industry has grown substantially from the days of simply stuffing envelopes and assembling simple crafts, such as picture frames. The Internet has made it possible for you to do nearly any job from home, since you can easily liaise with office mates and managers remotely.

In fact, it is entirely possible to be a virtual or 100% remote employee in a number of highly paid fields. These range from administrative areas, such as working as a virtual assistant or customer service representative to more technically sophisticated fields, like designing websites or other commercial artwork. Freelance writing or full time copy writing for businesses, newspapers and other publications is another option that you may want to explore. If you have a talent for teaching others, then you may even be able to tutor others in academic topics like science, English, calculus and foreign languages over the Internet.

If you are hesitant to spend all of your time attached to your home’s computer, though, you can still enjoy the freedom of working from home along with the excitement of spending time meeting plenty of new people every day. You may never have to visit your employer’s offices to do jobs like mystery shopping, investigating and appraisal work, and, best of all, you can still set your own hours. Working at your own pace means that every day is a rewarding and low stress one.

Many of you may still want the occasional face to face contact of going into the office once in a while to meet your boss or colleagues, if only to enjoy the camaraderie that comes from spending time in training each year with others in your field. For example, if you are in accounting, then you may spend the bulk of each year preparing income tax returns for clients remotely, but travel annually to a tax conference with the rest of your company’s staff to stay up to date on the latest changes in the law.

Sales professionals for national and international companies are often located across the country or world. These professionals are given ownership of their schedules on a daily basis, reporting in on an as needed basis to their bosses and participating in regular conference calls throughout the year. A few times a year they may meet up for training or to discuss best practices, but it would be too costly for their employer to fly them all to the same place at the same time very often. If you have experience in medical device or prescription sales or in recruiting then you may be uniquely situated to enjoy a home-based career in one of these areas while still enjoying occasional in person appearances with your employer and colleagues.

When A Work From Home Job Listing Wants Local Candidates

Do not be discouraged if a job listing for a work from home position requests only local candidates. It may sound counterintuitive for a remote job listing to include a preference for candidates’ locations, but do not let that deter you! Often, this is because businesses are just as concerned about finding legitimate employees to work remotely as you are about finding a legitimate employer to work for. Finding employees who are physically located near the company means that the business can have prospective employees come into the office for their interviews instead of being interviewed over the phone or through a web conference. Often, there also are legal and tax concerns related to where employees and independent contractors are working and being paid.

More than security concerns, though, businesses that are looking for local candidates for remote positions to do work from their homes are often doing so due to the nature of the work. For example, if you are a talented seamstress, then you may be able to enjoy significant income by doing piecework or other sewing from home. However, the nature of this work demands that you be able to bring finished work in to your company’s headquarters or other offices when it is completed. At that time, your employer may want to be able to examine it with you. High end seamstresses, such as those employed by wedding salons, often bring finished bridal gowns into the bridal salon to fit the brides themselves instead of handing off a finished dress to someone else.

There are other job fields that may be more conducive to being local to an employer. For example, babysitting is a great way to make some extra money or even an entire extra income from home. Check out the local laws in your area to make sure that you do not need to file for any extra licenses before you begin to advertise your childcare services!

Actually Finding Your Work From Home Job

Looking on job search websites is a great place to start your job hunt. Beware, however, of listings that promise to pay you thousands of dollars each week but do not provide any information about what you will actually be doing. Be even more cautious of listings that claim that you do not need any experience. These ads sound like obvious red flags for scams, but as they continue to be spread across the Internet, they catch up innocent job seekers every day.

General job boards can still be a great option, though, as long as you are smart about how you search for your new job. Search for general categories that you are qualified to work in, such as bookkeeping, medical transcription services or other areas. Potential employers pay for job listings on these sites, which should help to increase the quality of the job listings available to you.

Still finding too many potential scams while searching for your ideal work from home position? Then it may be time to check out niche job listing websites. These websites cater to professionals in specific areas, such as accounting, education and information technology. No matter how specific your interests are, there is a website that has job listings for it. Looking at job boards that cater to work from home mothers and fathers is another avenue that you should explore as you continue your job hunt. Of course, there may not be a job listing that is your perfect job, so it makes sense for you to continue to search a variety of job search websites so that you have the best possible chances of finding the right work from home job.

Tell The Real Job Listings From The Scams

Having a hard time figuring out which job advertisements are scams, and which ones are legitimate listings for positions that could potentially pay you a steady income for weeks, months or even years to come? Take a deep breath and remember first and foremost that if a listing sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. This means that if a job advertisement has a headline boasting compensation that is far above the normal rate for your industry, it probably is a scam. Click the “next” button on your computer screen to keep searching for the possible work from home job listing.

You also should ignore those job listings that do not provide details about the type of work you will be doing. For example, a job listing that says “Work From Home! Easy Money!!” might sound great, but it does not tell you what “work” you will be doing. More than likely, this is a scam artist hoping to talk you into sharing your personal information, such as a bank account number, or paying him or her for a phony “application review” or some other nonsense.

Head-hunters Can Save You Time

If you are tired of sifting through virtual piles of job listings, then try out a staffing agency or head-hunter. These human resources professionals are paid by companies to find professionals of all kinds to fill different needs. From corporate vice presidents to customer service representatives, corporate recruiting firms have become popular alternatives to traditional human resources departments. Visit their websites to see the types of jobs that they are recruiting for currently.

You can search on a staffing agency’s website the same way that you would on a job listing website or another search engine. Plug in your favourite key terms for a more general search to start with, and see what the website comes up with. Use drop down menus to narrow down the job listings available by category and experience until you find a position or series of positions that you are interested in sending in your resume to.

The only difference between this process and a general job board website is that you will not see the name of your potential employer here, only a general description of the job title and the position itself. Be ready to submit your resume to the staffing agency. The good news is that even if you are not selected to be interviewed for the exact position that you have applied for, you are still likely to be contacted by a member of the corporate recruiter’s staff. They will want to know all about your skill set and other qualifications so that they can match you to other clients who are in need of your skills. Even if they do not have a client searching for a professional like yourself currently, they will still keep your resume on file and call you when your services become in demand by a client.

Paying To Advertise Your Services

Anytime you are opening up your wallet to jump start your career working from home, you are running the risk of being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous virtual thief. However, with so many professionals turning to telecommuting as an alternative to spending hours away from their family each week while they drive to and from the office, it may be necessary to join a fee-based website in order to remain competitive while you work to land the best possible work from home job.

Before you sign up with a fee-based website, however, make sure that you have done your due diligence to ensure that, just like a potential employer, the website is a legitimate one that will help you to meet your goals. Scroll down past the sales pitch to the fine print and find out if they include a guarantee of employment. A guarantee of employment is a major red flag. After all, no one can guarantee that any of us will have a job, home-based or office-based! If someone is willing to offer you a promise that they cannot keep, then they probably have no intention of keeping it at all.

If the website still seems legitimate, then you should consider whether their overall reputation is one that you want to be associated with. Consider whether they post listings on general job listing websites that make themselves appear to be employers instead of a fee-based website, which can be an indicator of unethical business practices. A fee-based website’s business ethics can be further scrutinized by considering whether the website is admired or maligned on message boards for work-at-home professionals across the Internet. Take the time to do a search of the fee-based website’s name and see what kind of reviews come up.

A legitimate fee-based website should go to great lengths, however, to be transparent. This includes allowing members to speak with each other. You should be able to verify references that the fee-based job listing website is using to promote itself by getting the contact information for those members. Be wary of a fee-based job search website that does not allow you to have this information

Freelance From Home

Instead of working for just one employer while working from home, you may be happier to create a career as a freelance professional working for several different companies. You can find work on a variety of different websites that connect freelance professionals with businesses that are in need of their skills. If you have a niche talent, such as web design, copy writing, foreign language translation, technical writing or bookkeeping, then you can provide those services to small businesses that need your skills on a part time or contractual basis.

Not sure if you have a skill set that translates to becoming a successful freelancer? Peruse the listings on a freelance website or two to see what type of advertisements have been placed by businesses. Although popular areas, such as data entry, may not appeal to you, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can enjoy a successful and profitable future working as a seamstress, surveyor, copy editor, ghost writer, recipe tester or in another capacity.

Qualifications Matter

Regardless of which avenue you choose to pursue in your search for a home based job, remember that there are a lot of other highly qualified professionals who are also excited about the chance to eliminate their commute, take control of their schedule and enjoy more time with their families at home. This means that you will need to be just as highly skilled to get the jobs that you are applying for as you would have to be if you were applying for positions in traditional offices.

You also will need to be able to produce the same quality of work as someone in a traditional office if you want to continue to enjoy your great new position working from home. Even though you are able to do your job while wearing comfortable sweatpants, you still need to be a consummate professional whenever you are communicating with your boss or your colleagues.

Even if you are logging onto your laptop computer for a conference call while enjoying a day at the beach with your family or sitting in the car while waiting for your kids to get out of an after school program, your colleagues and clients should never think that your full attention is not on the work that you are being paid to do for your company. Of course, this also means that the work that you send to your clients should also be meticulous at all times.

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