You may feel like you are ready for a telecommuting job, but are remote employers ready to hire you?
Telecommuting is vastly different from on-site employment and some hiring managers may be wary of taking a chance on someone who has never worked from home. If you want to increase your chances of getting a telecommute job, craft a job search strategy that emphasizes your reliability, attention to detail and ability to work independently. Here are a few ways to get a telecommute job when you don’t have work-at-home experience:
Highlight Your Ability to Work Independently. For many telecommuters, the biggest challenge of working from home is being able to work independently without immediate supervision and far away co-workers. While you may not have actual telecommute experience, think about times in your previous jobs when you worked outside the office or when there was minimal, if any, supervision on site. For example, if any of your current or previous jobs required a lot of business travel, let a hiring manager know this. If you’ve ever worked a job where your supervisor traveled a lot or was away from work for long periods of time, emphasize that you have experience working with little to no direct supervision.
It’s also a good idea to start thinking about references who worked with you during the times you didn’t have a lot of supervision or traveled frequently. Let these folks know about your telecommuting goal and ask them to highlight your ability to work independently.
Be Scrupulous During the Hiring Process. Telecommuters need to be self-starters, so it’s important that you are minutely careful during the hiring process. While you don’t want to appear desperate, be proactive about keeping in touch with the hiring manager by responding to emails promptly and being on-time for interviews. You want to demonstrate that you can work on your own initiative and the best way to do this is to take appropriate action without being prodded.
Try Some Freelance Work. If your skills are in an industry that supports freelancing such as writing, marketing, editing or graphic design, seek out virtual freelancing opportunities. Freelancing work can start out slow, but your clients may be willing to provide you with references once you establish a solid reputation. Some companies may also be willing to a hire freelancer once she has proven herself by doing high-quality work.
Become a Virtual Volunteer. Another option for gaining work-at-home experience is to volunteer. If you already donate your time to a charity or activist group, find out if there are any tasks you can perform online. If you don’t have a ready-made volunteer opportunity, check into other organizations that make use of virtual volunteers.
Looking for worthy organizations? Try VolunteerMatch.org, Idealist, and United Nations Volunteers. If possible, ask for volunteer tasks that are akin to the type of paid work you’d like to do. You should also ask if the volunteer coordinator is ever willing to write recommendations for people.
How did you get your first telecommute job?
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