Escape Routes

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. Pick a city (preferably a larger metro area like New York, Boston or LA)
  2. Under the “jobs” tab, choose the field that matches your specialty
  3. Click on the “telecommute” option at the top
  4. 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!



  • Dimitry Drai August 21, 2010 at 8:11 am

    This article is very interesting for me. But I would like to offer additional possibility, make video about you profession with comments. I think it would be power step.


  • Dimitry Drai September 3, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Hi Mike. I would like to publish this article on the my job search site
    There is category sanctified to this theme (Telecommuting Jobs).
    There will be back link to this page or to home page of this blog.
    Best regards.


  • shymol akka May 6, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Many people want to make money at home and they want to find a work at home job to do it with. Ultimately what happens is they become frustrated as they search from website to website looking for the right job. This brings up the question, why are work at home jobs so hard to find? In this article we will take an honest look at this problem.

    1. First of all you should know that most of the opportunities to work at home are not actually paid jobs. This is true because most employers do not know you and have no control over the work environment when you do it from the comfort of your own home.

    If you realistically think about this, why would someone pay you an hourly rate when they do not know if you are really working or not? Therefore many of the opportunities to work at home are actually in the form of business opportunities where you work for yourself.

    2. There really are some companies looking for people to work from home. This phenomenon is known as telecommuting and does provide an opportunity for people with legitimate skills to get paid working from home.

    This benefits both the company and the worker because the business does not need to provide a space for you to work from, and as an employee you do not have to get up and drive to work every day.

    Many companies now will offer work at home jobs that include an hourly rate and benefits. These benefits can include paid vacation, retirement plan, and health insurance.

    One such website or you can visit is They match employers looking for workers with employees who are looking for opportunities to telecommute. This works out very well for people who have skills such as sales, customer service, website design, and other categories.

    3. Another thing I want to talk about is websites that present themselves as work at home jobs doing data entry, taking paid surveys, and typing at home. Generally these websites are trying to sell you information on how to get involved in this type of work.

    There are companies who will pay you for your opinion, or to do data entry and typing. The websites that are selling you the information deserve to be paid because they have taken the time to develop a list of companies for you to contact.

    In the future work at home jobs will become more readily available. Until that point you need to be conscious and only deal with reputable companies before spending any of your hard earned money.

    To learn more about the top paid survey sites please visit:


  • Cintia Cava July 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Your ws is great but it is not mobile friendly 🙂 and it should, I love the contento…kust a heads up


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