Legitimate Work from Home Jobs - 

What to look for and what to avoid to identify them

Legitimate work from home jobs can be as elusive as a bird, apparently abundant one moment and gone the next. Once you've begun to look for work from home jobs, you'll quickly find that while there are opportunities out there there are just as many scammers.

If you let it get to you, discerning the legitimate work from home jobs from the rest of them can be discouraging and disheartening. Don't give up! You just need to learn how to identify the legitimate opportunities quickly so you don't waste your time with them.

Reading The Posting

Legitimate work from home jobs have postings that are involved and intricate. The HR offices posting these opportunities are as sick of spam applications as you are sick of spam listings. Most will put subtle application directions into their job postings and automatically weed out anyone whose application doesn't follow these instructions.

Read enough postings and you'll begin to see the more specific language that some of them have. These are more likely legitimate. Listings that don't use anything to identify the industry they're seeking employees for are usually from headhunters and not legitimate.

To Fill Out The Application or Not?

I don't fill out online applications. That's me, however, and for the right opportunity taking the time to fill out a detailed application can help to quickly set you apart from the rest of the crowd by proving your determination. The key is figuring out which applications are for legitimate work from home jobs and which ones are simply filling a quota in somebody's database.

Ask yourself - does this form look like it will get to an employer's desk or will it end up in cyberspace somewhere?

Usually, applications that are on an employer's website are fine. Applications that redirect you to a third party website bear more investigation. Do a quick web search for the root URL and see what it turns up.

When in doubt, ask

When I was actively applying for writing work from home jobs, I found that a great way to identify legitimate work from home jobs among all the spam when it was hazy to me was to drop the poster a quick request for more information. Make sure you're asking something specific and related to the post, but asking for more information about a posting will quickly do one of two things:

Either it will set you apart from the rest of the pack and get you a confirmation of a job's legitimacy, or you won't hear anything from them.

Of course, there's the rare auto-responder that will reply with a "apply at this form" email, but then we've already covered what to do then.

If I'm leaning towards thinking it's one of the legitimate work from home jobs, and just want to be sure, I'll also include a PDF of my resume - just in case.

A Job Pays YOU, not the other way around

It should go without saying, but if you have to pay something to get the work, its not one of the legitimate work from home jobs.

Membership with placement companies (like secret shopper head hunters) or trade organizations are possibly an exception to this rule. However, even in these situations, the companies you're paying a membership fee with aren't the companies eventually employing you. So, the rule stands.

[note: Professional Background Checks are not part of this - depending on your field you may have to pay to get one of these done before you can be offered a job. However, these fees are, again, not paid to the company employing you but to a 3rd-party source that's doing the checks. At least, they should be if it's a legitimate opportunity.]

What about 'start-up' costs? This is the difference between starting an online business and legitimate work from home jobs. If there is a start-up cost required (initial purchase, intro package, training, etc) that you'll need to pay out of pocket, that indicates that you're starting a business of your own, not getting a job working for someone else.

This doesn't mean it's not legitimate, it just means you should treat it like the business that it is from the get-go.

Legitimate work from home jobs are employment with someone else's business where you're trading your time and effort for a regular paycheck. Think of it like working at your local school district. If you wouldn't pay the fee to work there (school districts usually require background checks pre-interview and membership in the union upon employment), then you shouldn't pay it to work online.

Protect Yourself

You won't get them all - occasionally you'll end up dealing with a spammer or a bad gig (which is almost worse) - it's just the nature of the beast. So, there are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself from getting your identity stolen or your inbox flooded with spam.

Use an email other than your personal email for sending applications. Do as I say here, not as I did. When I was hunting for legitimate work from home jobs, I just used my regular email address since it's based on my name and is professional sounding enough. However, I also use spam filters excessively. I still get lots of junk four years later. Learn from my mistakes.

Don't give any online applications your Social Security Number. They'll tell you they need it to proceed. They're lying. The only time you need to provide a Social Security Number is when you're proving that you're legally allowed to be employed in the US, which happens AFTER they've offered you the job. The ones who tell you otherwise are headhunters - they run programs that check you before they add you to their system - but you don't need them.

Listen to your gut. If something that a potential employer asks you to provide over the internet makes you unsure, don't give it to them.

If concerned, walk away

Even if you're offered a job, if you have any concerns about any of your seemingly legitimate work from home jobs, don't be afraid to walk away. There's always someone else with better standards and ethics you could work for - just keep looking.

When you start looking for legitimate work from home jobs, this might seem extreme. You need the money to start your new lifestyle, why would you walk away? Trust me, don't let this mode of thinking get you doing something you're not comfortable with - your gut is usually right. Be professional when declining, but remember that if you don't get paid for the work you do then you'll not only have lost the income, you'll have lost the hours and days of your life.

Really, isn't that part of why you wanted to work from home in the first place?

Return from Legitimate Work from Home Jobs to Work at Home Jobs

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