I've been working virtually for 90% of my recruiting career. I originally started working from home so I could be closer to my kiddos, but after a brief stint of working in the office, I've learned there are many other benefits that come from working from home:
- No commute - anyone else despise rush hour? I have no patience for crazy drivers and have no interest in spending 1-2 hours of my day in a car.
- More productivity - I have found that I get twice as much done at home in half the time I would if I was working in an office. There are so many less distractions!
- I live healthier - This is a big one for me. I have zero self-control when it comes to sweets and carbs. How many times have you walked into your office and saw an array of bagels and donuts laid out, free for anyone to grab? Or your boss offers to buy lunch for everyone, and asks what you want from the local Mexican restaurant? I swear this happened to me almost daily when I worked in an office, and I'm pretty sure I gained 10 pounds the first month I was there. For those of you who can resist this, I applaud you!
While working from home may not be appealing to everyone, for those of you who are interested in finding something virtually, I am here to help! However, before we dive in and how to find virtual job openings and the most common types of virtual jobs, I want to clarify one thing -
Working from home is not for everyone.
If you want to work from home for the flexibility to come and go as you please, chances are you probably won't last very long. You need to be extremely self-motivated and self-disciplined to successfully have a virtual career. I've seen many people start a virtual position, only to quickly lose it because they didn't take it seriously. Make sure you are up for the added challenge of holding yourself accountable more than you would if you worked in an office. There is no one around to keep you on task - it's all up to you!
If your ready to accept the challenge, let's dive right in! To start, let's look at some of the most common work from home job titles:
- Customer Service Representative
- Sales Representative
- Medical Coder
Unless you are a fantastic writer or have a specific expertise that you can consult for, I highly recommend applying to be a virtual customer service representative if you want to start working from home. While not the most glamorous job, customer service representatives typically take incoming calls from customers who have questions or inquiries to a product or service. To succeed in this type of position, you must have a quiet work-space setup because most companies have a zero background noise policy. There are many large companies out there who are almost always actively hiring virtual customer service reps:
I know it's not the most exciting position, but starting off in a customer service position can open the doors to a lot of other exciting opportunities. The majority of these companies tend to hire from within; put in your time, perform well and eventually you can start applying for Supervisor, Trainer, and other virtual opportunities that the company may offer.
Targeting Your Search
When you decide to start searching for a new virtual position, you need to make sure to change up the keywords to find all possible openings. There are a few different ways to classify a job as virtual, and you need to make sure you are searching for them all to find the most open positions:
- "virtual customer service"
- "remote customer service"
- "work from home customer service"
- "telecommute customer service"
When you go to a job board like Indeed.com to start your search, use a term from above and leave the location blank. If you find a virtual opportunity that has a location listed, still check it out. Many times companies will post these openings in large metro cities, so take the time to scroll through the job posting to see if there is any limitation on location (and to make sure it is indeed a work from home position)!
It's important to check for new positions daily (preferably in the morning) and when you see one you are interested in, apply immediately! These openings get a ton of new applicants every day and the sooner you apply when it is first posted, the better chance you have to hearing from a recruiter.
Avoiding the Work from Home Scams
There are unfortunately a lot of scams out there that target people who want to work from home. If an opportunity seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is. Whenever you find an advertisement to work from home and you aren't familiar with the company, make sure to google search the name of the company to see if it is legit. Fortunately most companies that are trying to scam people have been called out by someone on the internet, so it shouldn't be that hard to identify.
If a company requests any money or personal information like your bank account or social security number upfront, it is 99% a scam and you should stay away from their posting. Working from home takes as much dedication and hard work (if not more) as it does working in an office, so don't pay attention to the job openings that promise a way to make easy and fast cash.