Landing a work-from-home job can be challenging. Not only do you have to weed through employment scams to find legit opportunities, but you also need to make sure that the job is a good fit for your personality.
But it's not all doom and gloom, with a little elbow grease and some persistence you can find and land your dream work-at-home job.
Here are ten simple steps for landing a work-from-home job.
1: Take a Personal Inventory
Make a detailed list of your skills, previous job experience, education, passions, hobbies, and strengths. Once you have your master list, create another list of jobs you can do be because of your previous knowledge and experience. Remember to think outside the box; try searching for opportunities by your skill set, not just your occupation. Your nursing background and love of social media could make you the perfect candidate for a Social Media Marketer in the healthcare industry.
Need more ideas, read: I Don't Know What To Do With My Life! Tips For Finding Your Career Path
2: Research Jobs and Companies
Take time to research the companies you'd like to work for. What are their qualifications and equipment requirements for virtual employees? Do they offer benefits? Is there an opportunity for advancement and growth? Besides looking at the company itself, check out what others are saying about the company on Glassdoor.com and the Better Business Bureau website. You should also do a Google search, to see if you can dig up any other reviews or helpful information.
- Do they treat their employees well?
- Are there fees associated with the position?
- What are their ratings?
By finding the reputable companies whose values and interests mirror your own, you can help to ensure the best possible fit while avoiding work-at-home scams.
3: Polish Your Resume
For any job search, you need to update and polish your resume. Work-from-home jobs are highly coveted positions, and employers are looking for the cream of the crop. Update and freshen your resume, references, and cover letter to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd.
Remember to tailor your resume to each specific job that you are applying for; nowadays, resumes are first scanned by applicant tracking systems (ATS) searching for keywords and phrases that were used in the job listing. If you're struggling with this step, you can use a service like Jobscan, which scans and optimizes your resume so you can boost your chances of getting an interview.
If you've been out of the workforce for a while, remember to document this and add noteworthy accomplishments that may boost your creditability, volunteer experience, helping with a family business, personal blogging, social media experience, etc.
4: Connect With Your Network
I'm always talking about this, and there's a reason why – it's because networking works! Out of my last four jobs, three of the four I landed through networking, and here's why. First, people are more apt to trust a known person's recommendation over a stack of totally unknown resumes. Secondly, people enjoy helping other people out, so let it be known that you are searching for a work-from-home job. Start by telling your friends and family that you're looking for a home-based position and if they hear of anything to let you know. With social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn getting connected and staying connected is easier than ever. And as they say, it's not so much who you know, but who your contacts know.
5: Integrate Social Media Into Your Job Search
Get involved in the three big social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (all free to join). On these platforms, you can connect with old colleagues, friends, and classmates, but also increase your reach by following companies you'd like to work for, joining groups, and meeting new people.
LinkedIn is a great place to start your job search; here, you can easily create a professional profile, search for jobs, and connect with former employers, co-workers, and managers. On LinkedIn, you'll want to make your profile as approachable as possible. One way to do this is by joining various groups, such as alumni groups, professional groups, and company-sponsored groups.
Twitter is another great network to facilitate your job search. You can announce what you're looking for, connect with brands, and even search for job openings.
For more ways to use Twitter in your job search, read: Five Ways to Use Twitter for Your Job Search
6: Utilize Job Tools
If there were tools that could make your job search easier, why wouldn't you use them?! Try adding a couple of these to your efforts, and I'll bet you see faster results.
FlexJobs is a paid membership site that posts flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time, and freelance positions. On FlexJobs, they screen all of their jobs before posting so you can rest assured that you're never deal with a scam company. There is a small membership fee, but it is well worth it for the time you'll save not having to weed through scams.
Want to incorporate networking into the mix, but you've already hit up all of your existing networks? Try the professional networking app, Shapr. With this app, you can meet new people in the industries you're wishing to target. Just create your profile and start swiping to make connections. Don't worry, just like popular dating apps; both parties have to want to make a connection for it to happen.
Need an assistant to keep all of your job searches straight? Try using a career management tool, like our Work From Home Career Bundle. With this bundle, you can organize and manage your job searches, track your personal and professional relationships, target companies, and track jobs that you've applied to. But most importantly, it will help you identify and steer clear of employment scams.
For more tools, read: Looking for a Remote Job? Try These 7 Job Search Apps
7: Practice Your Interviewing Skills
Before you land the interview, you need to take time to practice your interviewing skills. One of the best ways to do this is to gather a list of standard interviewing questions and practice answering them out loud. Do this over and over again until you're comfortable answering them on the spot.
Along with this, you need to research the company thoroughly and know some background information on them. Many companies will ask you, “Why do you want to work for us?” – And you will need to come up with a good answer. Having this background knowledge will not only help you to answer the question, but it shows the interviewer that you're well prepared (a quality that employers are looking for).
8: Dress for Success
Along with practicing your interviewing skills, you need to be prepared for the interview by looking the part. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so prepare ahead and make sure that you have an appropriate outfit or two for your interviews. Dressy slacks, a button-down shirt, a blazer, and some heels will do the trick. Finish the look off by paying attention to the small details: clean nails (no chipped polish), clean hair (maintain your cut and color), and minimal accents (jewelry, makeup, or perfume).
While many remote positions will require that you interview via Skype or over the phone, you still should dress up just as you were going to meet them in person. As they say, if you look good, you feel good – and this will come across in your tone, attitude, and mannerisms.
9: Follow-Up With Employers
After you've applied for a job, give it a few days and then send a follow-up message. By doing this you can ensure that your resume made it to the correct recipient, and it also shows that you are a person that takes the initiative. With this being said, don't be pesky. One to two follow-up messages should be sufficient unless you're given instructions to call again at a specific time.
Did you score an interview? Awesome – Now remember to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview. Handwritten notes tend to score the most points with managers, but if they are making a decision quickly or you don't have a physical mailing address, a thank you email will work perfectly fine.
10: Don't Give Up
According to FlexJobs, it can take anywhere from 3 to 300 days to land a new job, depending on the individual, industry, and the state of the economy. In the same article, it mentions that it usually takes one month of search time for each $10,000 you plan to earn. So if you want to make $60,000 annually, it will likely take you at least six months to land a new job. The key is to be patient and persistent. If you start to feel frustrated, find a support group – Meetup has various groups in different locations just for unemployed individuals.
As you can see, there are many steps involved in landing a work-from-home job. And though it can be frustrating searching for a new job, if you take it one simple step at a time, you will make progress!
How did you get your work-from-home job? What tips and tools do you recommend?
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Originally published January 11, 2012. Content updated in May 2020.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman's Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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