Telecommute: Four Ways to Find a Work-At-Home Job
(c) 2004 Leslie Truex
Telecommuting has increased almost 40% since 2001 and is expected
to continue increasing to nearly 30 million telecommuters by the
end of 2004 according the International Telework Association and
Council. Despite the growing trend in telecommuting, too many
people who would like to work at home fall victim to work-at-home
scams. This is due in large part in a failure to understand what
telecommuting is and what it isn't. Telecommuting jobs are like
any other job in that they require skills and experience. There
is no list of companies waiting for people to sign up to type,
lick envelopes, glue earrings or process email.
Here are four ways you can create or find a legitimate work-at-home
1) Negotiate a work-at-home job with your boss.
If you are serious about working at home, the only way to approach
your supervisor is with a written proposal. The first step in
the proposal process is to evaluate your job and company for conduciveness
to telecommuting. What duties and activities related to your job
can be done from home? Does your company or similar businesses
allow flexible work options?
The work-at-home proposal must be written and must outline your
plans as well as benefits to the company your new work arrangement
will provide. Propose a work schedule and provide information
on how and when you will be available to your employer and coworkers.
What equipment will you need and who will provide it? How will
your work be evaluated? Show your supervisor how working at home
has been successful in other companies by including statistics
or articles on telecommuting
Before meeting with your boss, try to anticipate the kinds of
resistance you may receive. Be sure these are addressed in your
written proposal, and be prepared to respond to them in the meeting.
You boss doesn't want to hear about your morning hassles to get
kids to daycare so focus on benefits to the company that your
work-at-home arrangement will provide.
Be willing to negotiate. Maybe your boss doesn't want you to
work as indicated in your proposal but would be willing to allow
a different arrangement. By negotiating, you may be able get what
you want later, after you have shown how well telecommuting works.
2) Create Telecommuting
I landed my current telecommuting job by sending letters of
introduction along with a resume to businesses in my state inquiring
if they needed contract workers in my area. Start by sending your
professional introduction and resume to companies that are already
advertising for jobs in your field. In your letter, suggest a
contract position and include information on how such arrangements
can save the company money over hiring a regular employee.
You can also target similar businesses and industries that may
not be advertising. Use your phonebook and Internet to find companies
in your area or state that might be willing to contract with you
and send them your letter and resume.
If you get a response, be prepared with a proposed work arrangement
including duties and compensation but be willing to negotiate
3) Find a Telecommuting
This is by far the most popular yet most difficult option. Too
many people get caught up in the idea that they will be able to
type; do data entry or stuff envelopes. The key to finding work-at-home
jobs is to search where people post jobs. Employers are not looking
for home workers. They are looking for qualified people to fill
a position. It is the position they advertise and they advertise
them on job-related sites. That doesn't mean that scams are not
posted in job sites but for the most part you can be sure that
work-at-jobs won't be posted in search engines.
When you find a good job, be sure to follow the directions for
applying. I'm shocked at the emails I get saying, "I want to work
at home. I have a computer and can type." Would you hire someone
who sent you this? This sort of note would never be sent in a
traditional job search but for some reason people do it all the
time in a work-at-home job search. The fact is that you must submit
professional quality resumes and applications. Your written submission
is the first and only chance you have to make an impression. The
competition for a work-at-home job will be fierce. You need to
set your submission apart from the rest by having a professional,
Of all the online resources for working at home, this is the
easiest to find although it can still be a challenge to get. While
few companies are hiring full time, full salary, full benefit
jobs, there are 1000's of contract opportunities posted all the
time. Some of these jobs are ongoing and some are just a single
project. Like searching for a regular job, using job search sites
and freelance sites are the best ways to find this work. Again,
the best way to secure ongoing online freelance work is to be
professional when applying for work as well as providing quality
work on time.
I believe everyone can work at home. But it's not easy. It requires
a great deal of effort and often a willingness to venture into
something new. Many people give up too early or when the effort
becomes too much. The key to success is to look in the right places,
consider a variety of job options, submit quality resumes on a
regular basis, and don't give up.
====================================== Leslie Truex has telecommuted
in the areas of education and social work as well as for online
companies for over six years. She is the author of Jobs At Home:
A Complete Guide to Finding or Creating a Work-At-Home Job which
provides step-by-step details for finding and obtaining a work-at-home
job as well as a companion website with 100's of telecommuting
job resources. Get Jobs At Home at 40% off through this special
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