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Are there any jobs where you can work from home?

Work_at_Home_JobsAshley, an alum of Indiana University, asked: 

Are there any jobs where you can work from home?  I am a stay-at-home mother of two with a college degree, and I want to find a job that is compatible with my schedule as a mom.

Hi Ashley –

Yes! According to  the recent US Census, about 13.4 million people currently work from home in the United States.  That means the number of Americans working from home has gone up 41% in the last decade.

So what are these 13.4 million people doing?  A wide variety of things that range from customer service, data entry, transcription services and administrative work, to telemarketing, sales, software development, professional services and consulting.  In fact, just about any work that does not require direct, face-to-face interaction with co-workers or clients can, potentially, be done from home.

Where should you look for opportunities?

There are many resources available, but as I shared in an earlier blog – Caveat Emptor: Let the Job Seeker Beware – you need to be very careful to evaluate potential opportunities thoroughly before applying to make sure they are a good fit for you.

Following are four resources that should be helpful to your research:

WAHM.com – the online magazine for Work-at-Home Moms

Legitimate Work-from-Home Opportunities Clark Howard

FlexJobs.com: Guide to Companies offering Flexible Jobs

15 companies that offer legitimate work-at-home jobs
(Examiner.com March 2, 2012)

What kind of work-at-home job is right for you?

In order to know what opportunities are right for you, you have to answer a few questions. Your answers to the following questions will help you identify your objectives and priorities, which will rule in and rule out certain kinds of work for consideration:

Do you wish to work full-time or part-time?  Are you looking for full-time work or part-time work?  If you want to work part-time, what do you mean: 5 hours a week, 10 hours a week, 20 hours per week?  The amount of time you can commit to your job will impact the type of jobs that will be available to you.

How flexible does your schedule need to be? Are you looking for work that you can fit in at your discretion around nap times, school drop-off/pick-up, trips to the store and other responsibilities of being a stay at home parent, or can you commit to larger blocks of time on a regular basis?  Do you want to work during the day, the evening or at night? Does the work need to be flexible to fit your schedule, or can you schedule your other responsibilities around your work schedule.

How much money do you hope to/need to make? Do you have an idea how much you hope to or need to make in this job? Compensation can vary widely in work-from-home jobs, just as it does in many traditional jobs.  Employer will only pay what the market requires.  Knowing that going in will help you avoid the frustration of finding a job that you can’t afford to take because it doesn’t pay enough.

How much money and space in your home are you able to commit to your work? Some work-from-home jobs are actually business opportunities and not hourly-wage or salaried positions.  If you take on one of these business opportunities, you are going into business for yourself; that means you may have to purchase some dedicated equipment, resources or inventory, and set aside some space in your home where you can do you job.  If you plan to work from home, factor in the work space and resources you will need.

What skills and experience do you offer potential employers? What do you do?  What expertise, skills, capabilities do you offer?  Do you have experience in telephone sales or customer service, do you possess creative or technical skills, can you do transcription, data entry, or basic accounting?  Whether you work from home or at an office, employers will only consider you if you have skills and experience that meet their needs.  You need to know what you offer, so you can look for employers that need what you offer.

What types of work do you most/least enjoy doing?  Sometimes knowing what you want to avoid is the first best step toward identifying what you want. And let’s face it, often it is easier to rule things out initially than it is to rule things in. You have start somewhere, and knowing what you will say “no” to (and why) is just as important as knowing what you want (and why).  Once word of caution here:  Do not be too picky!  If you are, you might find there aren’t any jobs that meet your criteria.  Check out my blog It’s good to be selective – It’s bad to be picky for more on this topic.

The more focused and realistic you are in your search, the more successful you will be.

Your priorities may be to stay at home with your children.  An employer’s priority is getting work completed on-time and on or under budget.

If you offer skills, experience, attitude and work availability that are conducive to meeting those employer objectives while working from home, you may be a viable candidate.

If an employer decides that employees need to be physically present to do a job the way it needs to be done, you will probably not be a viable candidate.

The key is to look where the opportunities are and not bemoan where they are not!

Hope this helps,

matt-signature

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3 Comments

  1. mattberndt says:

    Reblogged this on The Campus Career Coach and commented:
    Just had another question come in about opportunities to work from home, so I figured it was time to re-post this blog.

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