Finding Work at Home Jobs Online - 

How to search for, apply for and land online jobs

The key to finding work at home jobs online is knowing not just where to look, but even more importantly HOW to look. You're one of thousands (if not millions!) of people who are dreaming of staying home, working in their pajamas, spending more time with their children and still being able to have a good job.



After three years doing various work at home jobs online, I've learned that not only is this possible, but it's a great life to live. If someone in my family is sick, I can help them. If my husband and I want to take a trip, I don't have to wait to accumulate vacation days I can just go and work from wherever we are (or not!).

However, this is only possible if you can find work. Otherwise you're just unemployed and staying home watching TV. If that's what you want to do, that's fine, but don't expect to get paid for work you don't do. If your goal is to have lots of time off of work, or not working at all, then you should think about starting an online business that will provide you with passive income. For those of you willing to work, I've put together my best tips and tools here for finding work at home jobs online.

If you're not good at job hunting, or if you hate doing it, you should rethink working from home. This is because most of the work at home jobs online will require you to be an independent contractor and on a contract basis. This means you'll be self-employed. You will most likely also be on a 1099 (in the US) and if you're not comfortable with, or accustomed to, taking out and paying your own quarterly taxes, you'll be in for a big shock at tax time.

No matter what though, you'll always be needing to be looking for more work to continue growing your income and career. This isn't the kind of thing where you can put in 3 years and expect a promotion or raise - you have to make those things happen for yourself. The good news is that if you get good at finding work at home jobs online, you can propel your career much faster than you otherwise would in an office environment.

There are some basic tips for finding work at home jobs online that will not only make your job hunt more effective, but also more efficient (so you don't have to spend 5 hours each day doing this).

Step One: Get Set Up With Your Online Portfolio

First of all, if you really want to make a career of working online, you need a website. On your own domain. Yes, you could get a blogger blog, but that won't get you much beyond the initial $10-$12 an hour jobs. Let's face it, you don't want to be putting "http://subdomain.domain.com/page/page/blablabla" on your business cards, you want to put "www.yourname.com" or "www.yourservices.com" on them. Even if they're just digital business cards. You don't, however need to shell out for monthly hosting, you just need to learn how to use a domain redirect.

Ok, so go over to GoDaddy and register your name as a domain name. It's a good place to start and it'll help protect your personal 'brand' to own that sucker. If you're name is Joe Smith, throw in a middle initial or maiden name. Whatever works, but be sure you'll be comfortable branding this for the rest of your life. This'll cost you about $10.

Got it? Good, now set yourself up with a Google website. Go to sites.google.com and sign yourself up with your Google account and create a website that will show off your skills and abilities. It's free. They'll also walk you through how to point that lovely domain you just registered to your free site. I'm not going to re-write the book here on how to do this, they have an awesome and easy to follow help section. Setting up a website will immediately show off your skills to any work at home jobs online that you're applying for, which is also a good thing.

Think of this website as a cross between a resume, a portfolio and a business card. Make sure the information you'd have in each of these is on that site on a separate page. When you're applying to work at home jobs online you want to send them to www.yoursite.com/resume for your resume. You'll also want to reference www.yoursite.com/portfolio in your cover letter so they can see what you've done in the past.

Once you've got your online portfolio set up, put it in your automatic signature lines for all your emails so that everyone can see what you do and how to get you to work for them, even if it's just your mom to start. After all, you never know who your Grandma's Uncle Ernie might forward the email of your new baby to who might be looking for a freelance worker in your industry.

Step Two: All set? Now Find Work at Home Jobs Online automatically

RSS feeds are your friend! They will set you apart in the search for work at home jobs online. Not only can you use these suckers to subscribe to blogs and job boards and such that help you become a better employee, you can take it to the next level by creating your own RSS feeds to deliver to you searches from top job search engines directly to your inbox. These will provide you  with legitimate work at home opportunities that match exactly what you're looking for. Like your own personal (but free) headhunter service.

Plus they'll get you the newest listings FAST. If you've got your portfolio and cover letter ready to go, you can easily be one of the first applicants for a newly posted job - thus increasing your chances of getting your application seen.

If you're still defining what kinds of jobs you're looking for, start with Craigslist and Indeed as your search engines. Each of these is riddled with job bank spam, so be aware of what that is. Job Bank spam are job postings that are intended to get lots of people to apply for them and fill a job bank database, but which aren't actual work at home jobs online.

There's not an easy way to bypass this type of spam with a search, but avoid any application that requires you to go to another website and fill out a long application with all your information. Not only will it take a lot of your time, but you're essentially filling in a database for them. Ones where you send your resume & cover letter via email will be deterred by having your resume on a website (thus requiring a human to print it out and scan it into their OCR system to fill the database). Real jobs will only be impressed by your website (in my experience), your ability to create a PDF and your web-savvy. 

So, go to Craigslist or Indeed. Each of these has a 'search' field. Craft a very specific search. Make sure to include "work from home" or "telecommute" in the search fields. I've had better luck searching Craigslist's Gigs section as these are usually smaller work opportunities that can be leveraged to open doors to more work with the same company. Remember, when you're just starting looking for work at home jobs online, you want whatever you can get to gain experience.

Now, here's the TRICK : be as specific as possible. Don't worry too much about having a very small sample returned to you - focus instead on creating search results that return exactly what you're looking for day in and day out. Then, once you've figured out what to search for and you're getting the work at home jobs online listings you're looking for, hit the RSS feed subscription button in your browser bar (that little orange triangle thing next to where you type a web address). This will create an RSS feed for the search result page and any time that page changes, it will deliver the new additions to you immediately.

I like to choose to have these types of subscriptions delivered to my email, then I can have them automatically filtered into a folder or whatever, but that way I see them immediately when they come through. Frequently in getting these jobs, speed of application is as important as anything.

Now, go back and repeat this procedure for every Craigslist metropolis center (each one has a different sub-domain) and major city on Indeed for your country. This is VERY IMPORTANT - remember, you might be one of hundreds apply for the website gig in Los Angeles, but there's less of a chance you'll be in such a stiff competition pool in Wichita. After all, if you do your work at home jobs online you can literally work anywhere.

Because I speak English, I also set up feeds for other English-speaking countries with Criagslist (not Indeed), but only for Gigs in those countries because I don't want to have to worry about international work regulations and paying taxes in England when I've not even stepped foot in the country.

[Of course, if you're looking to immigrate, you might find a work at home jobs online and leverage one of them into a desk job over time in order to secure a work visa.]

Step Three: Streamline the application process

The first day or so of hunting for work at home jobs online, you'll probably want to write a unique cover letter for each email application you submit. When all of your cover letter applications start to sound the same, come up with a compelling yet universal cover letter that requires you not to change much of it. I usually will change the company, the name of the addressee and a couple key points to match a specific job posting. Usually this is 1-2 sentences from my original letter, which I keep in a Google Document so that I just have to copy and paste it into a new email.

Make sure that you have links to all your cool stuff on your personal website where the employer can see more about you right in your cover letter. Once you've done this, your application process is literally copying and pasting a single email (2-5 seconds if you have the window open) and changing a couple of lines in that email (~1-3 minutes) to answer any specific questions that the job description has.

Once you've streamlined the application process, you need to set up a schedule for applying and following up on your applications. I recommend applying to all postings as soon as you see them come through your email, if you're actively looking for work at home jobs online. If you're away, then within one business day. I then follow up with an email or phone call (if you can find the telephone number of the office) in 3 days from when I sent the original email. In the follow-up I send the link to a resume again, in case my initial email got lost (read: deleted and decided against) so they don't have to go looking for it again (which will remind them why it was deleted or turned down the first time).

Step Four: Prove your worth

Let's think like an employer for a moment. You've got some work that needs doing. If you could figure out any possible way, you'd have someone in your office do it because then you could make sure they were doing it right.

Hiring someone to outsource work to is more scary for employers than finding work at home jobs online is for you - if you get scammed, you might have to cancel some credit cards. If they get scammed, they miss their deadlines and potentially loose large sums of money (for every day production is delayed), or at least loose whatever they spent to hire you. Thus, you need to prove to them that you're a professional.

This begins before you get your work, and you need to have a plan for how you'll show it to someone who lives and works 3,000 miles away.

How you do this will be unique to you, but here are some suggestions:
  • Give them the name and phone number of a current client who will give you a good review in your follow-up email.
  • Have quotes of praise from past employers (with numbers!) on your website.
  • Offer to do a trial-run, especially for something that will be an ongoing project. Examples are a Website Review (for SEO), a design moc-up (for websites, graphics, etc), a syllabus for a class (for teaching), a typing test, a sample blog post, a first chapter or two, etc.
  • Be conscious of their time - if they're on the East Coast and you're on the West, get up at 5am to call them first thing when they get into the office. If it's reversed, don't call them before 12 or 1 your time (especially if they work from home too).
  • Be set up and ready to go for any phone calls, check-ins, etc. Don't do phone conferences at noisy cafes or in the Supermarket.

Step Five: Follow Through

Once you've gotten the job, follow through. Up-sell them with more services or recommendations of what you can do to continue to increase their bottom line. Like with anything, the customer and companies you're already working for are much easier sell on more services than someone whose never worked with you before. Ask them for recommendations to their friends and colleagues. Send them some business cards so they can give them to folks who they tell about you.

Remember, you never stop looking for work at home jobs online. Even after you've gotten a job, continue with steps 1 & 2 by adding to your portfolio website (document everything!) and pursuing more business. If you start to get more work than you can handle, raise your prices! Then, even if you've got a bunch to do, you'll be able to afford outsourcing parts of it.

Return from Work at Home Jobs Online to the main Work at Home Jobs page


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