Since I began working from home a few years ago due to my social anxiety, I have been asked hundreds of times about how to find real, legitimate work-from-home jobs. If you have a disability, struggle with anxiety or depression or just find it hard to work a “regular” 9-5 desk job, you’ve probably already Googled and searched and ended up frustrated. I know, I’ve been there too. But I finally did find legitimate jobs that I could do remotely from home – and I know with a bit of perseverance and maybe a few tips, you can too. I made this YouTube video about my journey to find work-from-home jobs, so if you haven’t watched that yet, press play below:
If you want even more information, tips and tricks to finding your own work from home job, keep reading…
As you may have noticed, we are living in a world DOMINATED by social media. Information can be exchanged in a matter of seconds, and almost everything can be done online – from grocery shopping to dating, and yes, even your job. It’s becoming easier to find remote, work from home jobs and actually make real money. No surveys, ad-clicking or “webcam modeling” required 😉
Before I get started, I wanted to post a little disclaimer to let you know that I am NOT going to try and get money from you, ask you to download anything, cut this blog off by telling you to purchase my e-book for more info (I don’t even have an e-book…yet), or link you to any scams. I am simply doing this because I have struggled a lot with finding a job, and I want to help others out if I can, by explaining what worked for me. It may not work for everyone – but it’s the best I can do and all based on my personal experience.
THE FIRST STEP: It may sound corny, but you have to do this. Think about what YOU are good at. Even if you think it’s silly, or not relevant to a job, make a mental note of it or jot it down. That’s what I did, and after thinking about what I really have experience doing and what I’m good at, I realized that I am pretty dang good at social media. I have been on YouTube since it launched almost 8 years ago. I not only manage my YouTube channel, I do all my own branding and promotion. I manage my Facebook pages, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WordPress, Tumblr…. Along the way, I have gained a lot of knowledge about Google analytics, keywords, SEO (search engine optimization) and promotion. These are things lots of people have relevant experience and knowledge about in this day and age – without even having a degree. Think about it: You found this blog, right? You know how to use keywords to do a Google search, and I am willing to bet that you have at least one social media account that you manage. I know that you can put your skills in social media to work if you’re anything like me.
The first, and most reliable place I have found jobs focusing on social media is CRAIGSLIST. I know, I know… You’re probably thinking about all the horror stories, the scams, the porn. Yes, there are a lot of scams on Craigslist, but it’s such a popular site, you’re going to have to wade through that crap. On the bright side – Craigslist allows you to search by keyword, category, and even lets you search specifically for “telecommuting” jobs. This makes it pretty easy to bypass most of the scams and nonsense that you find on Craigslist.
It’s important to note that not all work from home jobs are listed under “telecommuting” though. Actually, probably 70-80% of jobs that allow you to work from home are not listed under that section – but it’s still a good place to start. The word “telecommuting” is a bit outdated, so sometimes it’s more beneficial to use the keywords: remote, work-from-home, at home, anywhere or global.
You can also narrow down your searches specifically by keyword. For example, if you are looking for jobs in social media (this is a fairly broad category, anything from managing Facebook pages to recruiting for YouTube partner networks to social media sales) you can search specifically for “SOCIAL MEDIA”, and you’ll get jobs that list “social media” somewhere in the title or description. You can also use terms like: social networking, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google …etc. The same goes for anything you’re searching for – customer service to data entry. Just make good use of your keywords – and if you don’t see the results you like, don’t be afraid to search lots of different terms and keywords, even if you’re just changing one word, it can make a difference. It takes time and sifting through a lot of garbage, but if you’re determined, you’ll find something that works for you.
Another thing that has helped me immensely in my job search on Craigslist, is that when looking for remote, work from home jobs, you can search in ANY city! Think about it: you’re working from home, so it doesn’t matter where the company is located. I live in a smaller city, so I couldn’t find anything locally. I decided to search in big cities – Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, etc. These provide many more results, and I have found that companies that aren’t even located in these big cities are posting work from home jobs on the Craigslist pages for bigger cities! The first company I worked for was located in the heart of Los Angeles, California – thousands of miles away from me. The company I work for now is located in Canada – a completely different country! So if you don’t find what you’re looking for in one city, move onto the next.
*Note: (for countries outside of the USA who do not have Craigslist, replace with your favorite community listing site, ie: gumtree)
The final tip about Craigslist: Make sure to exclude the term “internship” or “intern” from your searches by using the minus (-) sign before the word internship.
Below is an EXAMPLE of a quick Craigslist search I just did:
If you don’t want to do this, you can always just skip past the jobs that have intern in the title, or if you’re unsure; scroll down to the bottom of each individual job posting and look at where they list the pay rate – that’s where it will usually say unpaid or internship. Internships are usually unpaid – so unless you’re a college student who needs experience and college credits, these jobs won’t do you any good. However, if you are a student, these types of internships are great, because they can help to get a foot in the door, and something good to put on your resume.
Speaking of resumes…(CV to those of you outside the USA)
Most jobs on Craigslist ask you to provide a resume via email. This can be scary when you’ve never put together a resume before – or if you’re like me, and hadn’t worked a regular job in over 7 years. Not to worry – you can put together a functional resume that highlights your strengths, abilities and talents, and does not have to include your specific work history like a chronological resume does. This is a lifesaver for those who haven’t been able to work in a while and have big gaps in their employment history, or no employment history at all – while still looking professional and highlighting why you’d be a good fit for the job.
Some different types of resumes are:
FUNCTIONAL: A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history. *This is the one I recommend!
CHRONOLOGICAL: A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current, or most recent job, first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them.
COMBINATION: A combination resume lists your skills and experience first. Your employment history is listed next. With this type of resume you can highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and also provide the chronological work history that employers prefer.
Here is an example of my personal resume to give you an idea of what a Functional resume looks like (although I have some work history, so mine leans towards a combination resume). Pay attention to the notes in RED for explanations of the sections and tips on writing your own resume:
Here are some helpful links to read about resume writing, and to see specific resume examples:
Types of resumes: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/resumes/p/resumetypes.htm
Example of professional functional resume: http://jobsearch.about.com/library/samples/blresumefunctional.htm
Okay – So what if jobs in social media just aren’t your cup of tea?
Well, believe it or not, there are lots of companies who hire for at home (virtual) customer service positions. Even if the company has employees who work in-office, many of them are now allowing telecommuting, or work from home – because in the long run, it’s actually cheaper for companies to offer these work from home programs. Amazon.com is one of the largest companies that offer specific work from home customer service jobs. Some companies hire exclusively for the Holiday season (seasonal), and some companies (like Amazon) only offer these jobs in certain states.
Here is a list of a few others companies that I know offer work from home Virtual Customer Service opportunities (please Google these yourself, as sites or opportunities are subject to change and I don’t want to link to incorrect information):
- American Express
- West (west at home)
- Alpine Access (Sykes at Home)
- J Crew
Now, that is not a comprehensive list – the best way to find out if a company offers a work from home program is to visit the website and find the jobs or careers link. If you can’t find it, then Google the name of the company and add “jobs”, “work from home”, “remote”, “virtual” or “telecommute” to your search – like I said, finding these jobs takes a bit of time and research, but it’s worth it.
Keep in mind that these remote Customer Service jobs usually require you to at least attend an orientation or training class in person (Amazon trains its Customer Service Associates online from home, but you have to attend a new-hire orientation), and most of these will require you to interact in some way with people – usually by talking on the phone (taking inbound calls) and offering customer service, although in some cases there are other options like online chat customer service, or email customer service.
A few more tips and resources when searching for jobs:
Watch out for scams! If something SOUNDS too good to be true, it probably is.
If the company asks you for money – run away! MOST legitimate jobs will not ask you to pay anything to get started or work with them! Some companies (like Avon, Scentsy or BeautyControl etc) will ask you to buy a kit upfront and then sell product for commission – but this is different. Always do your research and trust your gut.
Applying for jobs and working from home is virtual, but most legitimate work from home jobs will have a contact number, and you’ll be able to speak with someone directly. If you cannot find any information about the company with a quick internet search, proceed with caution.
Working from home isn’t for everyone – it takes dedication, motivation and discipline. You have to make sure you stick to your schedule, and although you can work in your pajamas, you have to make sure to get your work done! If you are the kind of person who requires a lot of direction and has a hard time being your own boss, working from home might not be right for you. The temptation to sleep in, text your friends, browse Facebook, make snacks and watch Netflix is strong when you’re working in the comfort of your own home!
Most companies will have technical hardware/computer requirements for employment – like high speed internet, a desktop computer with at least 62 bit and Windows 7 or higher, a home-phone line, etc. If you’re running on dial up (or even DSL sometimes) you won’t be able to do the job – especially the virtual customer service positions. As a virtual employee, you are responsible for paying for these things out of pocket. (For my Amazon.com job, I had to buy a new updated computer, install a landline phone and of course keep current on my internet bill).
Sometimes, you will be hired as an independent contractor. Especially for social media jobs. This is different than being an employee. As an independent contractor, you are working for yourself, and just hired as a contract employee by the company. Most of my social media work from home jobs have been this way. The biggest difference between an independent contractor and a regular employee, is that you do not have any taxes taken out of your paychecks – so you are responsible for filing and paying your own taxes each year. However, one perk is being able to write off some of the costs of working from home (internet bill, phone bill, power bill and even rent) at the end of the year. As as independent contractor, you will also not be eligible for employee benefits (like medical and dental). Make sure to discuss the terms of your employment with the company you are applying to before accepting the job, to make sure it’s right for you. Read more about being an independent contractor here: http://womenforhire.com/get_started_working_from_home/working_from_home_as_an_independent_contractor/
If Social Media jobs or Customer Service aren’t your thing – then you can find other jobs to do remotely, though they may be harder to come by. I have come across many different types of jobs in my searches, and with a little research and patience, you will be able to as well. Some of the other types of work from home jobs I have found are:
- Data Entry
- Proofreading and Editing
- Personal Assistant
- Tech Support
- Website or Graphic Design
- Promotion for bands or artists
- Medical coder or transcription
- Telemarketing (Surveys, Selling, Recruiting)
With a bit of hard work, research, perseverance and patience, you can find a legitimate work from home job that suits you. More and more companies are going virtual every day, and if your search doesn’t produce any worthwhile results today, check back in a week and your results may be different. Take your time to craft a professional and fun resume that showcases what YOU can do, and apply to jobs as soon as you find them – don’t wait!
I hope these tips were able to help someone out there in their quest to work from home like I do! Feel free to comment with any questions you may have about working from home, or if you have any tips that I haven’t included here, I know my readers would be grateful for any advice or tips you could share!