For those keen to start working from home for a better work life balance, and ultimately to see more of their kids, one of the toughest obstacles is the search for legitimate work from home (WFH) opportunities.
In fact, anyone with even a passing interest in the remote working lifestyle will have at one time googled ‘work from home jobs’.
A litany of spammy looking websites offering ‘$500 a day just for using Facebook’.
When I hook up with friends currently churning the rat-race, one subject that always comes up is how they can work from home?
For everyone of one them the idea seems so unattainable, (my life is almost exotic as a result), because they have no clue where to start looking.
If you do not want to set up your own business or enter the world of the online gig, where are those stable, high quality remote positions that you would be happy to bet your family’s livelihood on?
With scams left, right and center (a good rule of thumb, if it seems too good to be true, then it most probably is) and ‘real’ job placements with pay far from sustainable in the western world, it is no wonder so many people stick to the grind of the office 9 to 5.
Well I have some great news for you.
There are quality, well paid work from home job listings out there.
If you know where to look…
Insider Tips for Finding the Best Work From Home Jobs
Use the correct search terms in Google
The most important first step is the search for available roles.
One of the best ways to filter out the junk is to key in terms that won’t trigger the scams.
You should avoid phrases such as “work at home jobs” or “work from home,” as these will retrieve a high ratio of bad listings.
Extending the search terms to words a legitimate remote job posting will have is the way to go.
For example: “must have a quiet home office”, “this is a remote position,” or “partial remote” will help filter those results.
Better still are jargon based terms such as ‘completely distributed company’ or ‘100% distributed company’.
The first page of Google for these keywords is now a series of high quality pages, containing lists of organizations that offer remote paying positions.
The companies listed vary in size, with offices all over the world.
Target these and you will certainly be on the right track.
Signup to dedicated jobsites that list WFH opportunities
With the pool of legitimate work from home positions growing all the time, there are now dedicated job sites that list only WFH and remote job opportunities.
One of the best is FlexJobs.
The site is full of remote working roles; the best part being they have been vetted to ensure the quality and the legitimacy of the position.
To apply for any job you find on the site you will need to signup. Monthly subscription is currently $14.95, quarterly $29.95 and yearly $49.95.
And while you can find a lot of the same jobs on the large, general job search sites, having them all in one place, fully screened is worth the signup fee.
Furthermore, FlexJobs is popular with established behemoths such as Amazon, Microsoft, Dell and more offering quality, well paid telecommuting positions.
Another great resource is WorkRemote.ly.
While this site tends to focus more on the start-up, tech scene, there are still a wide range of opportunities from programmers to virtual administrators. Definitely worth bookmarking.
Use general jobsites to your advantage
Use the “Advanced Job Search” feature and key in phrases such as “work from home,” “work at home,” and “this is a telecommuting position” and “freelance role”.
This will help narrow down the results to positions of interest.
Also, ensure that the ‘location’ option of your search is left empty (or better still if the site has it, set to “remote”).
This will help you retrieve the widest net of relevant positions.
Taking a closer look at the examples above, “telecommuting” as a keyword generates over 1000 listings on Monster. The roles range from Marketing Managers to eLearning Developers, programmers and even teachers.
“Work at home” generates even more hits, however the quality here can vary as this is a term most targeted by scams.
For example, the quick search I just conducted brought up a sales job that on closer inspection was 100% commission based pay, with no experience necessary.
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t quit the day job for an ‘opportunity’ like that.
Tread carefully with freelance job sites
While the sites themselves are a great resource for those looking for freelance opportunities, the market is definitely tough.
If you’re an experienced designer or programmer (or any other role that is easily freelanced), used to the normal rates of pay these positions command, you will be close to offended with what some of these gigs offer.
This is because there is competition from skilled workers from all over the world. Many of them will have a cost of living much cheaper than yours.
They can offer lower rates and still get by.
You on the other hand have to feed the kids and pay a mortgage.
Don’t get me wrong, once you have an established reputation on these freelancer sites it is possible to command higher rates and get the attention of those willing to pay more for the jobs they post.
However, while your portfolio is empty of projects, feedback and reviews, it will be a long up hill slog before you can reap the full benefits of the freelancer market place.
Search for high paying remote positions
The key to finding high paying remote positions is all in the keyword of the job title.
For this type of search, not only do you need to use the various ‘telecommuting’ buzzwords we have covered above; you also have to pair them with roles such as “Project Manager”, “Product Manager”, “Communications Manager”, “Senior Consultant” or whatever senior titles are applicable to the line of work you are looking for.
You can also experiment by pairing these searches with specific skills relevant to the sector.
This might lead to keywords such as; “Remote Agile,” “Work from home Hadoop”, “Telecommute WordPress” or “Sharepoint partial remote.”
Some of this may seem a bit ‘let’s throw shit at a wall and see what sticks’, however, the right search may well unearth the future role that will bring you the work / life balance you desire.
The end result is more than worth the time and effort.
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Search niche career sites
If you are already aware of the type of work you aim to be doing from home, it is possible to find opportunities on smaller, niche centric websites.
Try narrowing down your search using sites that focus on specific fields.
For example, Idealist.org, a non-profit employment opportunity website has multiple flexible location, work from home listings.
A job search engine used by start-ups called Angel.co, is another good place to look.
Clearly you need to be interested in the type of roles being offered, however these sites are a good starting point for finding jobs that might not be advertised elsewhere.
It is also a good way of discovering companies that are open to remote working arrangements.
Investigate the stance of your current employer
It may be that you really do enjoy your current position.
You work at a good company and your career is on the right track; if you had a little more flexibility everything would be perfect.
If that’s the case, you should definitely look into whether your employer would be open to you working remotely at least some of the time.
In most instances, they can be a lot more accommodating than you think.
While I will be writing an in depth article very soon on how one goes about asking their boss for a flexible working arrangement, you should consider the following before making any concrete steps:
- Look into whether any other employees currently work remotely, what is the nature of their role?
- Jot down the ways in which you working from home could benefit the company.
- Think about the practicalities of a remote arrangement, how exactly would it work?
- Have some good reason as to why you would like to make the change.
Remember, it doesn’t hurt to make enquiries. Just ensure that your argument for going remote is as robust as possible.
Don’t forget good old word of mouth
Networking, referrals and good old word of mouth are an important source of information when it comes to finding and ultimately getting a work from home job.
Tap into your network to find out if anything is available.
You never know the connections one person may have with another that leads to an informal chat that might lead to a job offer.
Your goal is clear after all; you want to find work from home employment.
If you aim to work freelance, then you will need as many potential clients as possible; getting the word out on your intentions is vital.
Locality is something to leverage too. Employers are generally more open to offering remote work to staff if they have the means to get into the office when required.
If you live in or near to a city, keep your eyes open for work from home networking events.
Signing up for a free trial or a day pass to a local co-working space is also a good idea.
There you will meet entrepreneurs, employees and other people that work remotely. Spark up a conversation and see where it leads.
Tips on Avoiding Work From Home Scams
As I have mentioned throughout this article, there are a lot of work from home scams on the internet.
And while the tips above will help filter out many of the problematic job listings, you will still come across some.
You will not always realize it either.
As a job seeker it is important that you remain diligent when searching and evaluating work at home job listings.
If you find something that peaks your interest, and it isn’t within a company or organization you have heard of, you should conduct some research before applying.
Overall, good luck.
There are a ton of great opportunities out there that will change your working life.
Strive for the balance and find something that affords you the level of freedom you seek.
Now over to you.
Do you have any other tips, suggestions or questions about finding a work from home job?
If so, let me know in the comments, and I’d love to hear from you.