How to Find Legitimate Telecommuting Jobs
When I was starting out in the freelance web development business one of the biggest obstacles I kept stumbling over was the pervasiveness of “garbage jobs” and junky “job search engines” that clogged the internet. At the time I needed to be able to find remote work from real businesses and clients. During my initial search I kept running into the same three problems:
- Scams and MLM Marketing schemes clogged job search (and even Google search) engines with junky “work from home” garbage posts, making it difficult to find authentic telecommuting positions
- Many businesses were outsourcing my work to other countries, such as India, where they would do the same work for an unlivable (by US standards) wage
- Great looking jobs were seeking “local candidates only”
Let’s get something straight right off the bat – it is possible to earn a full-time wage, or make a living freelancing by doing all of your work from home, or telecommuting. I do it. But it isn’t easy. Often you will have to have more than one remote job/client to make it work. I’ve put together a guide that will hopefully help you make some sense of taking on the often daunting task of telecommuting.
Where to Look for Work at Home Jobs
Let’s start with one of my favorite websites that has paid some dividends over the last couple of years:
I know this sounds kind of silly. After all, Craigslist just launched a massive campaign targeting illegitimate job postings. They have alerts at the top of all their webpages warning you not to respond to postings that ask for personal information. Obviously there are scams all over craigslist, but it’s been getting better.
Why suggest craigslist? There is a trick you can use!
First, you can choose to respond to a job search ad in any city you would like. The advantage of telecommuting is that you aren’t restricted to one location! The best way to find a legitimate job or project using craigslist is to do the following:
- Pick a city (preferably a larger metro area like New York, Boston or LA)
- Under the “jobs” tab, choose the field that matches your specialty
- Click on the “telecommute” option at the top
- Search for jobs
This will filter out any jobs that are for local candidates only, and you’ll be presented with a list of openings that will be all remote, online positions. Not finding what you are looking for? Switch to another city and repeat these steps!
For a fee of $14.95 a month, you can have someone else do the filtering for you. Go to Flexjobs and take a look around. This is a good option if you want to save time. They have been featured on CNN and have helped hundreds of jobseekers find work. They are legitimate and work with some interesting companies all over the United States. If you do sign up, remember that there are no guarantees that you will find work – it’s just a method you can use to make your search a little bit easier and save you some time.
5 Tricks to Increasing Your Odds of Landing a Telecommuting Job
1. Apply the day the job was posted.
If today is March 31st, don’t apply to a job ad that was posted on January 26th. It’s incredibly likely that the position has been filled and the poster just neglected to take the ad down. (Don’t we all wish they would take them down when they no longer are hiring?)
You are much more likely to be considered for a position if your application is one of the first to be viewed by the employer. This is especially true with telecommuting positions, which often get upwards of 300 responses!
2. Make Sure Your E-mail to the Hiring Company/Individual is Personal
If you simply create an e-mail template and “mass apply” to twenty positions with the same text in each e-mail, you are likely to get ignored. With each job you should attempt to put some care and thought into what you want to say. In the day of the internet, the initial e-mail is like a cover letter. You will want to be conversational, friendly, and professional. It’s ok to crack a joke (and in fact, this might help you stand out) if it looks like the position you are applying to is staffed by fun-loving, laid back types.
I landed one freelance gig by joking about the content of this website (The Great Office Escape) and how it would make me an ideal candidate for remote work!
3. Search for Telecommuting Jobs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Mornings
Think I’m joking?
Applying for remote work on a Friday often gets your application shelved until the next week where it will eventually join the applications of your competitors who applied over the weekend. This is because many companies take Fridays off from going through the hiring/resume-reading process. It’s too close to the weekend and golf beckons.
Monday is usually bad too, because people are notoriously slow to get to work on Mondays. You want your application to be looked at right away. The longer your application sits in a virtual bin somewhere, the more likely other applications are to join it. That’s more competition, and that’s bad.
4. Include a Link to your Online Portfolio
It’s very helpful to have a pretty website that showcases some of your work. It will help you stand out from the crowd of applicants, and it will be easier for the hiring company to get to know you. You don’t have to be a web designer, graphic designer, videographer, or other creative professional to have a nice online portfolio.
As a side note, if you are looking for someone to build you a simple website or online portfolio, I’ll be happy to help! Just send me a message 🙂
5. Treat a Remote Interview Like Any Other Interview, but be More Open than Usual
So you had an interview for your potentially new remote-job. Wonderful! Don’t forget to send a thank you letter after the interview. Reiterate your desire to work for the company you applied to, your interest in the position and make sure to give the company correct contact information where you can be easily reached. It’s much easier for information to get lost/messed up when everything is remote.
Since you likely interviewed on the phone, anything that you can do to help the interviewer get to know you as a potential client or employee will increase your odds of landing the job or project. Don’t be afraid to be open about yourself, your work history, and what you do. Transparency is everything in a remote job, where it’s harder to build trust!
Charting Your Voyage Out of the Rat RaceMay 12th, 2010
How to Find Legitimate Telecommuting JobsMarch 31st, 2010
How to Start a Website (Part 2)August 19th, 2007
How to Start a Website (Part 1)August 16th, 2007