Working from home is not an easy task.
Landing a work-at-home job is, in fact, a bigger challenge than working from home. You are only halfway there when you decide to work from home, the challenging path to land your first work from home job can be a long one.
Many work-at-home job seekers give up their dream of working in an online job, as soon as they start facing some hurdles in their search.
I was in the same situation many years ago, but I knew if I was persistent then finding a good work from home job was possible. And I did.
Though the number of remote jobs has increased now, so has the number of job seekers who are applying for them.
Today I am going to share some tips and facts that you should know to successfully land your first work-at-home job.
I hope these tips help you to get your dream job even without having any experience.
1. The Competition is Fierce
Telecommuting or working from home increased steeply to 115% from 2005 to 2015. This increase shows the demand for these stay-at-home jobs. No matter what kind of job you are eyeing, there will be a tight competition for it. If you have worked in a 9-5 job and this is your first foray into the work from home market, do not expect fast results with your application process.
The massive competition for this market is primarily because of the flexibility telecommuting jobs offer. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, enhancing your skillset, highlighting any experience and stressing on your strong points can help.
2. Understand the Job Requirements
Remote jobs have specific requirements, and it is essential that you understand what the employer wants from you.
The first and most important requirement for any remote role is you will have to work independently to a larger extent. This requires a lot of self-discipline. You should also do some research to get a good grasp of what exactly the job is about and know if there are any special requirements.
For example, for some remote positions, you may need to be able to work in a different time zone other than yours. Some phone-based roles might ask you to work in no-noise environment with a dedicated home office. For some roles like call center agents, you might have to attend an initial on-site training before you work remotely.
Understanding the exact requirements and responsibilities of the role put you in a better position to get the job. And sometimes it can even help you know ahead of time whether the job is going to be a good fit for your situation.
3. Have a Stellar Resume
Having a comprehensive and up-to-date resume is required for remote jobs as well. Generally, in a usual 9-5 job, the application process starts with resume submission and then the interviews. Because there are no interviews in many remote jobs (some jobs do require telephone or webcam interviews), your resume is your best chance to impress your employer.
Focus on your strong points, education and past working experience. You also earn bonus points if you can demonstrate any remote work experience.
Include any soft skills you have like excellent communication, teamwork related projects, etc. Work from home jobs focus a bit more on soft skills, because you will work in a secluded environment and having strong interpersonal skill is vital for this setup. Make it point to highlight your ability to work in remote team environment and stay connected even though you work from home.
Your resume is the starting point for your work from home journey, so give your 100% to it.
4. Learn New Skills
If your goal is to get a work from home job, then I strongly suggest you work on acquiring particular skills. There are many in-demand industries in the work from home market, and it can be very profitable if you learn these skills.
For example, virtual assisting is one such industry which is going strong right now and is expected to grow a lot in the coming years. Learning the necessary skills can take you a long way especially when it comes to working from home. Online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and Skillshare can be beneficial if you want to learn new skills.
There is no shortage of work-at-home courses like Transcription, Proofreading, SEO Consulting, Scoping, Bookkeeping, Social Media Management etc. Before jumping into the work from home job market focus on learning the suitable skills.
5. Be Tech Savvy
Being tech savvy is something you cannot ignore if you are planning to work from home. Knowing the minimum in’s and out’s of the technical stuff is an essential part of working from home. You will be doing your own troubleshooting, so be prepared to handle some geeky stuff. This does not mean you should be a pro at the technical stuff, just knowing the simple things in the day-to-day work process can help a lot.
For example, if you are in a teaching career, you should be able to download and run video software like Skype. You might have to do some scanning or printing, where you need to connect and use your printer with your laptop. If you are doing specialized work from home like transcription, then you will need to install and use specific software related to transcription.
Additionally, you need to know how to run your laptop or desktop efficiently with regular antivirus scans and have a good internet connection. Working in a complete online job means you are prone to regular virus attacks, having an up-to-date anti-virus software, can protect you from this.
Basic knowledge of remote work-related software is one of the most mentioned requirements of the majority of remote companies. As most of your work and communication is done online, learning these skills helps in any remote job stream.
6. Beware of Work-at-Home Scams
I cannot stress enough on the fact that when you first start looking for work from home jobs, be super critical about every opportunity you see. Not all remote jobs are authentic.
Of all the scams, two major types are data entry and mystery shopping gigs. Both of these scams are too prevalent and most of the online job seekers fall prey for this. Though there are online data entry jobs available, they do not pay very high, so any role promising a huge salary would probably be a scam.
If you have been searching for work from home jobs, then I am sure you must have come across the various mystery shopping opportunities. First of all, mystery shopping is only a side job, it cannot provide you with a full-time income. Second, you SHOULD NOT PAY to become a mystery shopper. Most of the mystery shopping scams work around telling people to sign up to get access to list of mystery shopping companies.
Always pay attention to the source where the jobs are found, the company advertising them, and verify the credentials. Websites like BBB and Glassdoor have reliable information on hundreds of websites.
There is no shortcut to earning a good income, so if a remote job ad promises an insane amount of income, it's a big red flag.
Most of the work-at-home job seekers fall prey to these scams because they are desperate to land a job and this pushes them to get into dodgy work-at-home scams.
7. Give it Some Time
As I mentioned earlier, work from home industry is getting competitive. So, if you are a beginner with no experience in online jobs, be prepared to give time because many others will be more qualified and experienced than you.
Personally, it took quite some time for me to find a good work-at-home opportunity, the only thing I believed strongly was not to give up.
Expecting quick results will only give you disappointment and eventually you will give up on your job search. Like any other job search, remote jobs also take time, and many factors go into landing an online job. Being optimistic and learning the necessary skills can catapult your job process hugely.
8. Focus on Right Resources
Before you even start applying for work from jobs, do thorough research on the right kind of remote job resources. There are many legitimate work-at-home job boards, blogs, and directories that advertise remote jobs from many industries.
Job boards like FlexJobs have many worldwide jobs advertised. This blog and others like The Work at Home Woman, Real Ways to Earn Money Online and Work at Home Mom Revolution are some of the most legitimate resources to find flexible online jobs.
You can also sign up for Google Alerts with terms like ‘work-at-home jobs’ or ‘remote jobs’. By doing this you will get regular weekly emails about your chosen keywords.
Always do your research and have some trustworthy websites bookmarked before you start applying the process.
9. Develop the Right Traits
This is something you need to focus long before you get into the job application process. Remote jobs are not for everyone. You need to have or develop certain traits to work remotely.
Being a great communicator, having excellent planning and time management skills, being self-driven and able to work independently are just some of the things you should have to work in a remote job.
They are vital for your work from home job success. Being proactive and learning these skills can pave your way to being successful in any work from home related role.
If you are dreaming of working from home, you need to start focusing on the above things even before you begin the actual process. Getting a remote job is not hard if you work on some key points and are open to learning and improving your skills.
Sireesha is a career blogger and an avid side hustler helping people to find remote jobs, and unique side hustles through her blog, Crowdworknews.com. She also has a free course on Starting a Profitable Side Hustle.