Working from home is the goal of many people. I understand. I work from a home office as well. It is great when you don’t have to dig your vehicle out of a foot of snow to get to work in the morning, or sit in traffic for two hours on the way home. There are lots of cons as well, but that’s for another post. So, if working from home seems like the right choice for you and your family, what is the next step?

From stay-at-home moms looking to supplement the family income to entrepreneurs hoping for a chance at a better life , work from home opportunities often seem like the perfect solution. Finding a position that allows you to work from home is possible, if you know where to look and how to apply. Cutting through the scams is just the first step. As a job seeker looking for an opportunity to work from home, you must be web savvy, able to articulate your skills online and tenacious work ethic.

Finding the perfect online job means sorting through fraudulent offers and scams. Many of the most “promising” opportunities require you to invest money, sometimes several hundred dollars before gaining access to the details of the opportunity. In other cases, the opportunity, which ‘guarantee’s’ income in the thousands of dollars per month simply do not live up to the hype. The best way to avoid these types of false opportunities is to carefully search for opportunities. Instead of using keywords like ‘work from home’ use keywords and phrases like ‘telecommuting’ and ‘virtual.’ This will allow you to find real opportunities.
While many online opportunities request a real resume, most simply request you start the process by filling out a form. This presents a problem for many job seekers who are concerned with safety. Avoiding giving sensitive personal information should always be foremost in your mind. Never send information such as your social security number via online form. It is also a good idea to set up a separate email address for the purpose of online job seeking. In general, be leery of any opportunity that requests personal information early in the process.
For opportunities that request a resume, job seekers are encouraged to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. Attaching portfolios or examples of your work is a great way to make your resume stand out. You’ll also want to add or attach a cover letter to briefly and professionally introduce yourself to the reader. No matter what the job is, highlighting organizational skills and self-motivation throughout your resume is critical as it sets you up as an ideal independent contractor.
In many cases the next step is a phone interview. Take this opportunity to highlight your personality, goals, ethics and belief system as they relate to working independently. Be sure to respond to all emails and phone calls promptly during the entire hiring process. Remember that once hired your primary contact with your employer will be via phone and email, so it’s critical to establish yourself as a prompt and courteous potential employee.
Working from home can be a viable career choice for many people, but only if they carefully select opportunities to avoid scams. Be prompt, professional and courteous in all your online dealings to increase the likelihood that you will land a plum at home job.