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This post comes from Brie Weiler Reynolds of partner site Flexjobs.
Welcome to our “Work From Home Q&A.” You ask a question about working from home, and our guest expert provides an answer.
This week’s question comes from John:
“I am very interested in ‘working from home’ and realize there are pitfalls I should avoid. However, I don’t know how to proceed in starting a ‘work-at-home’ process. I think you might have some information on the subject. May I be directed where to research this idea?”
John, I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate you asking this question because so many of us want to work from home. You’re smart to first recognize that there are certain hazards to avoid when searching for remote work.
First, it’s important to know a bit about the work-from-home job market. While there are real jobs that let you work from home offered by legitimate companies, there are also many scams posing as work-from-home opportunities. In fact, it’s estimated that for every one legitimate work-from-home job listing online, there are 60 to 70 scam listings.
Watch for these common warning signs of scams in order to stay safe when searching online:
- Asking for money upfront or for you to “invest” in training, equipment or software programs.
- Asking for personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number.
- Promising lots of money for little work.
- Lots of grammatical errors in the job post.
- Little or no company information provided.
- Pretending to be a well-known company but directing you to a fake website.
If you see these red flags, steer clear!
Now, let’s talk about how to find legitimate at-home job listings. There are several steps to take in this process:
Can your job be done remotely?
Some professionals find that their career field is well-suited to working remotely, while others will need to make a career transition to a job that is more remote-friendly. The 20 most common remote job titles include career fields like accounting, education, medical and health, writing and editing, engineering, web and software development, sales and customer service. But at FlexJobs, we see remote job listings in more than 55 career fields, so you might be surprised at which jobs can be done from home.
Use the right keywords to search
When searching for remote opportunities, don’t use the keywords “work-from-home” and “work-at-home.” These terms are most often used by scammers. When a real company is advertising a legitimate position they will usually describe it as a “telecommute job,” “remote job” or “virtual job.”
Write a resume for remote jobs
When you apply to remote job listings, you want the employer to see just how qualified you are to work remotely. Yes, you should be able to do the actual job, but also important is your ability to work independently, stay focused, communicate in writing and verbally, and be comfortable with technology and using tech tools needed to collaborate.
If you’ve ever worked from home before, even occasionally, mention that on your resume and in your cover letter. Include a list of remote technology you’re familiar with, such as IM programs (Slack, Google Chat), file sharing (Dropbox), document collaboration (Google Drive), video conferencing (join.me, GoToMeeting, Skype) and other remote collaboration tools.
Remote-friendly companies want to talk to job candidates whose resumes reflect these skills.
John, here are a few more resources: MoneyTalksNews offers a lot of information on finding a job that lets you work from home. FlexJobs and Remote.co specialize in remote job listings, and you can research companies and job search tips on those sites as well.
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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. So, it’s better not to ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you.
I’m a career coach who’s been working with job seekers and employers for almost 15 years. The senior career specialist at FlexJobs, I help people find flexible and remote work. I have an M.S. in human resources management, and I’m a certified advanced resume writer (CARW). Before joining FlexJobs in 2010, I was a career adviser for college students and alumni.
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