The number of people searching for legitimate work from home jobs is growing at a phenomenal pace.
And why not?
Working from home has tons of benefits.
You can get paid well, while staying at home to take care of your family.
You can get job opportunities that are not available in your city (or state or country).
You can earn additional income by doing a bit of freelancing.
You avoid the pain of daily commute.
You have the freedom to travel and not be stuck to a single location.
Because of all these benefits, an increasing number of people are choosing to take up work from home jobs. In 2017, 43% of U.S. workers worked remotely at least occasionally, up from 9% of workers in 2007.
The best-known companies are hiring for work from home roles
A growing number of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 companies are allowing people to work remotely. Hundreds of top companies such as Amazon, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Paylocity, Dell, Toyota, Manulife, Salesforce, Intuit, Adobe, American Express, JP Morgan, all have several remote work opportunities across different roles.
Traps and how to overcome them
However, finding the best work from home jobs isn’t always simple. There are several potential drawbacks that you should be careful about:
There are plenty of scamsters who defraud people into parting with their money with promises of well-paid work from home opportunities. You should know how to tell a scam from a legitimate work from home job. (More about that in a minute).
Do you believe working from home means compromising on your career?
That you will have to take something that’s way below your capabilities?
That’s what most people believe, but it’s completely wrong.
When you search for work from home jobs on Google, you mostly come across low-paid jobs that will add little value to your long-term career prospects. Routine jobs that do not offer any opportunities to grow.
But this doesn’t mean that there are no great jobs. You just have to know how to find and land them. I will share the ‘how’ in a later section.
Many work from home jobs pay you a lot less than what you would make in a regular job. Even if you take into account the savings from not having to commute, you end up earning less. You should know how to negotiate for a salary at par with market rates.
However, if you follow the right approach, you will have no trouble finding a legitimate job that will add genuine value to your career and pay you well.
In this article, I will cover:
- The different kinds of roles available for work from home jobs
- How to find the best work from home jobs suited to your experience and education
- How to apply for these jobs and get an edge over other applicants
- How to make sure that you get paid well
- How to avoid getting scammed with fake work from home job offers
Different kinds of roles for work from home jobs
Broadly, there are four kinds of work from home opportunities:
Most people who search for work-from-home jobs, look in the wrong places.
They completely ignore regular jobs which are not advertised as remote roles. Jobs requiring specialized skills or for managerial roles are usually not advertised as ‘Remote OK’.
But just because a company has not advertised a position as ‘Remote OK’ does not mean that you don’t stand a chance of getting hired for that role.
Employers just want candidates who can get the job done. If you can convince them that you can take care of your duties from a remote location, they would be perfectly open to hiring you.
This wouldn’t have been possible five years ago. But in 2018, where 43% of the US workforce is working from home at least ‘some of the time’, most companies are open to exploring a remote work arrangement, providing your profile matches their requirements.
How do you convince them to consider a remote work arrangement? I will discuss that in a following section.
However, please note that these jobs will be far less flexible that roles that are advertised as ‘Remote OK’. Even if you work from home, you will be expected to be completely available during business hours.
Remote OK roles
These are regular jobs, which state that they are ok with a remote employee. Startups often hire people at senior levels with remote ok options to attract and retain good talent. Many of these jobs also pay quite well for the right talent, and give you equity too.
Roles advertised as work from home
These are jobs which only have a work from home arrangement. These are also the types of jobs you end up finding if you do a simple Google search.
Keep in mind, that many of these are low paid routine jobs which will add little value to your resume and have minimal opportunity for growth. Therefore, if you have a good profile, don’t restrict your search to only these types of roles. You should look for ‘Remote OK’ opportunities, regular jobs or even freelancing.
Freelancing is obviously not a full-time job, but it can often make you a lot more money. Several freelancing opportunities evolve into long term projects that keep you busy for months. Moreover, lots of companies give permanent job offers to freelancers they are happy with.
If flexible timings are really important for you, you should certainly explore freelancing options. It will give you more freedom than any full-time or part-time job will.
Where to look for legitimate work-from-home jobs
Your current company
Your work-from-home job opportunity might be closer than you think!
Before you quit your job, try to convince your boss to let you work from home. Rather than asking for a permanent arrangement right away, ask your boss to let you do it for a week. If you can successfully carry out your tasks from home, that’s an excellent argument in your favor.
For a permanent arrangement, prepare a proposal outlining the following:
- How you will manage your responsibilities from home. Clearly state how you will communicate with different teams remotely, stay of track of your tasks and more.
- How working from home will help you become more productive and deliver more.
- How it will save the company money.
- Examples of how other companies are successfully implementing remote work options.
If you are a valuable employee, your company will find it hard not to at least consider your proposal.
If your boss isn’t convinced, consider other opportunities within your company which are more suited for a remote role. It’s a good idea to speak to your HR team. They might be able to help you with finding an opportunity within your company.
Regular job sites
If your company doesn’t agree to let you work from home, don’t quit your job yet.
Start searching for opportunities in other companies in your industry or domain. Your experience might be considered a valuable addition to their teams.
The first place to look for legitimate work from home jobs should be in regular job sites such as Indeed, Monster or Linkedin jobs.
Go to Indeed and type in your role in the search bar paired with terms like “remote work” or ‘telecommute”. You will get a long list of opportunities which have remote work options.
Look for the right roles first
As I have said earlier, don’t restrict your search only to jobs which have remote options. Instead search for jobs which are a good fit for your profile. If you have the experience they need, you are in a fantastic position to negotiate a work from home arrangement.
Angel.co is probably the best website for landing legitimate work from jobs with startups.
Most startups don’t mind hiring telecommuters, and many of them actively look for them. That’s because it’s a lot smarter to build a team without leasing expensive office space.
Therefore, if you are searching for legitimate work from home jobs, you should certainly take a look at this site. It’s also completely free.
Angel.co is extremely user friendly. Use the filters and keywords to look for jobs that match your role, experience, desired salary, etc. It’s a lot more transparent than most other job sites and you can see the offered salary range in the job posting.
If you wish, select the ‘Remote OK’ option to look specifically for remote opportunities.
The quickest way to find a legitimate work from home job
Startups are a lot faster than bigger companies at taking hiring decisions. If you want to find a work-from home job fast, look no further.
They are also easier to approach and it’s usually the founders or CXOs who take care of the hiring themselves. If they like you, they will give you an offer much faster than a bigger company will.
Startups also offer far more opportunities for growth than bigger companies. And they don’t usually object to senior managers working from home – which is a problem you might face in midsized or larger organizations.
Flexjobs is a website dedicated to remote work opportunities. Make sure that you visit this as part of your job hunt.
One of the best things about Flexjobs is that opportunities are verified and you won’t get scammed with fake job offers.
Flexjobs is a paid resource, but it’s absolutely worth the investment. That’s because the Flexjobs team manually screens all companies on the website and adds useful information on the company’s page. That saves you the trouble of doing too much background research on the company and verifying their legitimacy.
How to get selected for the best work from home jobs
Let’s face it.
Landing a great work from home job, is a lot more difficult than getting a good old regular job.
Moreover, convincing a company, which has not advertised for a remote role, to allow you to work remotely is harder. After all, the opening will have dozens of applicants who are ready to commute to their office. Many of them will be more qualified for the role than you are.
However, if you go the extra mile, you can get shortlisted, and hired over candidates who might be a better fit than you are.
I will share a few strategies that will make you are more attractive candidate.
Most importantly, if you follow these tips, you won’t be susceptible to scams that lighten your wallet.
Let’s dive in:
Determine your goals
Looking for the perfect work from home job does not begin by browsing through job sites.
You need to take a couple of steps back. Start evaluating your goals.
Asking these questions will give you clarity about your priorities and the tradeoffs you want to make.
Why do you want a work from home job? How will it benefit you?
Is it only for flexibility? Are you looking for opportunities outside your city?
What working hours are you looking for and how many hours you can put in every week?
How many months/ years do you want to work remotely? Or do you want this to be a permanent lifestyle?
What is your desired salary range?
What are your expectations in terms of growth and promotions?
How open are you to a job outside your area of experience?
Answering these questions will give you a clear idea of your goals and the tradeoffs you need to make. This will help you shortlist the right jobs to apply for and ignore the opportunities that do not match your priorities.
Evaluate your skills
Evaluating your skills while looking for a new job is an excellent exercise that helps you create a better resume.
Moreover, this gives you a better idea of what roles you can apply for. For example, if your current job is in finance, but you have studied marketing in college too, you might want to expand your search to include marketing jobs as well.
Update your social profiles
Maintaining appropriate social profiles is extremely important while applying for work from home roles.
Your potential employers will probably not get to meet you face to face, and at the most they will interview you on a video call. Because of this lack of physical proximity, they will try to gather as much information about you as possible from your online activity.
Therefore, make sure you have updated your social profiles to give employers the best impression of who you are. Clean up your accounts by deleting any tweets and posts that employers might consider offensive. Tons of candidates get rejected simply on the basis of their social media activity.
Invest some time in building an impressive LinkedIn profile. Highlight your skills, get as many recommendations as possible, upload a very professional looking headshot and include details of your accomplishments in all your previous roles.
You can’t include too much information in a two-page resume. Make use of your LinkedIn profile to add to the information in your resume.
Customize your resume
Use the insights derived from the previous exercise to create a preliminary resume.
There are many resources available online to assist you with writing an effective resume. You can also choose to work with a professional resume writer. Check out some of the top resume writing services available online.
To stand out from the crowd, create short videos for each application about what you can contribute to the role. Demonstrate that you have done your homework about the company by mentioning actual examples of what the company does. Keep a link to the video towards the top of your resume so that it’s not overlooked.
Customized video applications will prove that you are a candidate who is diligent and eager to get the job, and do not lack commitment just because you wish to work remotely.
Applications and records
As you apply for jobs through Indeed, Angel.co, Flexjobs, etc. keep a separate record of each opportunity you apply to in a spreadsheet.
Why is this important?
It will help you remember your applications. If an employer calls you, and you are unable to recall who they are, it immediately reduces your chances of being shortlisted.
You will also need this spreadsheet in the next step.
Connect with stakeholders
Each opportunity will have dozens of applications and recruiters don’t spend more than a few seconds looking at each CV.
Even if you do get shortlisted, you are up against plenty of impressive candidates. So how do you stay on top of employers’ minds?
They key is to interact online with key stakeholders in companies you apply to, so that you stand out.
The first step is to make a decision-making landscape of every company you apply to. Who are the people who will look at your application?
For instance, if it’s a marketing job, make a list of all the people in the marketing team that you can find on LinkedIn. If it’s a smaller company list all the top executives too. But don’t send LinkedIn invitations to anyone. Adopt a non-intrusive approach.
Here are a few things you can do to impress these stakeholders.
- Leave comments on any updates they share on LinkedIn and on any articles they might have written. Intelligent comments that add value to the post are a great way to get their attention and impress them. So, spend a bit of time to craft insightful comments.
- Follow all of them on Twitter and like and retweet their posts.
- You can also send a key decision maker an email highlighting how you can contribute to the role. Offer to work on a small project for no charge to demonstrate your capabilities. However, note that emailing people can work very well with startups, but can backfire with larger companies when you have also applied to the same company through a formal process.
Keep a record of all these interactions in the spreadsheet I mentioned in the last step. That will help you plan these interactions and space them out so that you don’t appear to be too intrusive or pushy.
How to avoid work-from-home scams
The rapid growth in telecommuting and remote work has led to the growth of a flourishing industry – work from home scams!
When you search for work-from-home jobs, you are bound to come across these scams sooner or later. Some of them are completely illegal while others are highly ingenious and stay within the letter of the law. But all of them have the same objective – to get you to part with your money.
Here are the most common types of work-from-home scams:
Common work-from-home scams
Computer based work
You will be offered an opportunity to make money from home by doing elementary work on the computer such as word processing, data entry, social media marketing, etc. They will just ask you for a small fee to get started.
You will be promised software, training and support for anything between $2,000 to $10,000 for providing billing and financial services to doctors. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has issued warnings about these types of scams because “Few consumers who purchase a medical billing business opportunity are able to find clients, start a business and generate revenues – let alone recover their investment and earn a substantial income.”
Internet marketing courses
These are some of the most sophisticated scams. ‘Marketing experts’ will ask you to buy an online course ($1,000 to $5,000) about how to quickly start an online business and make millions. They will also show you testimonials of their past students who apparently made millions and are now traveling the world. These courses are not illegal, and some of the techniques they teach you will also be authentic.
However, the part they leave out success rates of online businesses is less than 0.1%.
How to recognize scams
A little bit of due diligence is all it takes to avoid these scams.
Never pay for a job offer
No company or recruitment firm will ask you to pay to help find you a job or hire you. If anyone does, it’s a scam.
Search in authentic sites
Search for jobs only on authentic and well-known job search sites. However, keep in mind that fraudsters also post openings on these sites. That’s where the next step comes in.
Research the company
If a company offers you a job or even an interview opportunity, do a thorough background check. Check out their social media pages, the profiles of their employees on LinkedIn and their customers. Check out their reviews on the Better Business Bureau website.
Be perfectly clear about your remuneration – the quantum of fixed and variable and when you will get paid. Try to look at the employment contract before you accept the offer.
Never Pay for ‘Training’
Avoid paying for training and online courses that claim will help you make money.
Never Share Confidential Details
Be suspicious of any recruiter or company which asks you for confidential or personal information.
Finally, avoid looking for elementary or offbeat jobs. Most of the scams are targeted in those areas. Instead, set you sights high and look for good opportunities in line with your experience and education. Finding a great job isn’t hard, as long as you invest a bit of effort.
Getting a legitimate work from home job that pays well and allows you to grow in your career isn’t hard, as long as you follow a few simple strategies.
- Understand your priorities and limitations and exactly how you want to benefit from the work-from home arrangement.
- Set your sights high and apply for good jobs that fit your profile.
- Avoid any job posting or advertisement for elementary jobs. You can do better.
- Avoid any recruiter, ‘expert’ or marketing guru who will promise to help you get a job or make money – in exchange for money.
- Demonstrate your enthusiasm and experience to potential employers by interacting with them on social media.
Apply these tips and you will find the job you are looking for!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.