We can’t discuss National Work & Family Month without addressing one of the most prevalent demographics of telecommute job seekers: the SAHM who’s ready to become the WAHM.
When a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) seeks to become a work-at-home mom (WAHM) Virtual Vocations is ready to assist in her transition, because we’re a company that understands the unique needs of professionals, who also happen to be mothers.
Virtual Vocations is a business not only founded by a WAHM, but also fueled by the talents of many working mothers who are critical to functionality in company in departments like content, customer service, data entry, and quality assurance.
In order to help more SAHM job seekers succeed in their search for good paying telecommute jobs, we curated this list of transformative tips for mothers who also want to be income earners. Read ahead for advice on steps to take before you apply to telecommute jobs, hints to help you know which telecommute job is right for you, considerations for crafting your best telecommuting cover letter and resume, suggestions for successfully navigating a virtual interview, work-life recommendations for new telecommuters, and methods for achieving long-term success in the telecommuting work model.
Steps to Take Before You Apply to Telecommute Jobs
Prior to launching your telecommute job search, reflect on your motivation to work remotely.
You may want to work from home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Despite false narratives perpetuated by work-at-home scams, telecommuting jobs are not representative of some secret subset of mindless work that mysteriously leads to earning thousands of dollars a day. No, working remotely means doing practically any normal, on-site job, but from a non-centralized location. If you want to get rick quick, you’re in the wrong place.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t approach telecommuting with the mindset that you’ll suddenly become more productive as a professional and as a parent simply because both facets of your life are now based out of your home. If anything, juggling your work and family lives will become a more delicate undertaking.
3. Establish Your Work Space
Prepping your home office before you apply to telecommute jobs will enable you to get right to work whenever you accept your first offer and impress your new employer with your proactive work style. Whether you have an entire room to dedicate to a home office or you’re rocking a corner desk nook, ensure your work space is ergonomic and equipped with the following minimum requirements:
- Computer less than four years old with up-to-date virus scanning software and malware protection, as well as Microsoft Office 14.0 or better
- Reliable high-speed Internet
- Headset with microphone
- All-in-one printer
4. Brush-Up on Your Technical Skills
You may be new to the job market or returning to work after starting your family, either way, brush-up on your technical skills prior to applying for remote work. Telecommuting jobs are rooted in technical aptitude, so you must at least know how to use word processing software, access the Internet, send and receive emails, download and upload files, and troubleshoot basic hardware and software issues.
5. Get in the Job Search Mindset
Finding a job is work in itself. And while Virtual Vocations’ services ensure that registered members experience the most efficient telecommute job search on the Web, it’s important to frame your mind to focus on the task at hand: accepting the telecommute job offer you’re after.
Hints to Help You Choose Appropriate Telecommute Jobs
6. Consider Your Work Environment
If the environment both inside and outside of your home is noisy, and there are no viable options for suppressing background sounds, a telecommuting job in fields like customer service, telephonic nursing, sales, or other phone-heavy industries isn’t ideal.
7. Craft a Childcare Plan
Collaborate with your family to create a childcare plan that makes sense for your individual needs. This means being honest about the fact that it’s going to be difficult to work and simultaneously care for your child in-house. Don’t allow perceived stigma about sending your child to daycare or utilizing a sitter dissuade you from implementing the best childcare plan for your family.
8. Look for Virtual Jobs that Interest You
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. —Confucius
Searching for high-quality virtual job leads in your area(s) of expertise or interest is easy when utilizing the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Jobs Database. This storehouse of more than 10,000 human-screened telecommute jobs is organized to feature job openings in more than 40 career categories, from account management to writing.
9. Prioritize Flexibility
Nearly every telecommute job offers some degree of scheduling flexibility, which may include aspects like flex-time, job sharing, and 100% virtual work with no on-site requirements. When making your transition from SAHM to WAHM, prioritize flexible telecommute jobs that will foster greater work-life balance for you and your family.
10. Understand Your Financial Needs
Are you a SAHM seeking a full-time, permanent telecommute job with salary or do you want to earn supplemental income through a temporary remote job or freelance virtual assignment? Assessing your financial needs will determine which type of telecommuting jobs you should research.
Telecommuting Cover Letter and Resume Suggestions
11. Opt for a Functional Resume
The functional resume format, which focuses on your skills rather than on your job history like a chronologically formatted resume, will reinforce your strengths and detract from any potential gaps in your employment history.
12. Use Your Cover Letter to Soften Work History Gaps
In addition to utilizing a functional resume, you can further soften gaps in your work history by using your resume and cover letter to highlight your educational background, volunteerism, and any recent training or courses you have completed to stay abreast of your industry.
13. Be Mindful of Your Email Username
When including your contact information on your resume and cover letter, don’t attach an email address that reads as juvenile or inappropriate. Unless your email address is a simple representation of your proper name, it’s probably best to create a new email account strictly reserved for professional ventures.
14. Rework Your SAHM Status
Don’t use your cover letter to make your stance on why you elected to be a SAHM for X number of years. Instead, write about the qualifications you possess that are essential to the job you want.
For example, if you’re applying to a telecommute position as an online content manager, you can discuss your skills in time and budget management without necessarily stating that for the last three years you’ve been managing those functions for your own household—wait for your potential employer to ask for further details at a later date.
15. Network for a Hiring Boost
Reach out to former bosses, colleagues, college professors, or professional association members for letters of recommendation to attach with your cover letter and resume.
Virtual Interviewing Recommendations
16. Get a Sitter
No matter what long-term childcare plan you select, schedule a sitter to care for your child during your virtual interview time slot. Ask the sitter to arrive at least 30 minutes before your virtual interview start time and, if at all possible, arrange for the sitter to take your child to another location during your interview.
17. Clear Away Clutter
Ahead of your virtual interview, de-clutter your home office space by clearing out kids’ toys and baby accessories, personal items, and anything else that could force your interviewer to think of you more as a parent than as a professional.
18. Dress the Part
Thanks to virtual interviewing, an employer no longer has to require your physical presence for a job interview, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect looking presentable. Although a small number of virtual interviews take place strictly via phone or instant messaging, the majority of virtual interviews will require your appearance in front of a webcam.
On your big day, shower and get dressed (including shoes) as if you were going to work on-site. When choosing your attire, think about what’s appropriate to the line of work you are pursuing. For example, if you’ll be interviewing for a position in graphic design or social media, you shouldn’t dress in a button front shirt and a suit jacket—a clean, pressed t-shirt with blazer or a casual blouse with dark jeans would make for more appropriate virtual interviewing attire.
19. Eliminate Distractions
Don’t allow your interviewer to think about anything but you being the best candidate for the job. Prior to your virtual interview, ensure that your interviewing venue is distraction-free by completing the following steps:
- Fend off background noise by closing the window and door to the space you’re occupying, disabling your mobile and desktop notifications, and shutting off any noise producing devices including clocks, televisions, and household phones.
- Within your surroundings that will be visible on camera, remove large or loud artwork and decor.
- Tidy up any of your work surfaces that will shown on screen.
20. Mind Your Manners
You won’t get to shake your virtual interviewer’s hand, but you should still begin your interview with a warm introduction; in fact, all of the basic rules of proper on-site job interviewing manners apply to virtual interviewing. Don’t chew gum; don’t speak too quickly; don’t clutter your sentences with “like” and “um”; don’t forget to be open and gracious, and don’t leave the interview without expressing your thanks.
Advice for Succeeding as a New Telecommuter
21. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Plan your day, every day. This tip is arguably the number one must-do for the SAHM to WAHM transition. Even if your schedule changes on a daily basis, being able to quickly view a list of appointments and pressing to-dos is vital to success as a telecommuter.
22. Know Your Limitations
It’s better to under-commit and over-deliver, rather than failing to meet deadlines or come through on something you agreed to do.
When you recognize that the number of hours in your day is shrinking in comparison to your expected deliverables, it’s time to scale back.
23. Draw a Line Between Work and Home
Once you become a work-at-home mom, you will spend nearly all of your day within your home. In order to avoid the black hole that is feeling like you are never done working, you must establish boundaries between your work life and your family life. We suggest creating a defined work space that is yours and yours alone. This way, when your family sees that you are in your work area they’ll know that your Mom hat is off.
24. Don’t Work from Bed
This is a no-no (no, no, no, no) for new and experienced telecommuters alike. Working from bed not only diminishes your motivation to do anything but sleep, but also brings work energy and stress to your bedroom—ideally, your respite from your professional life.
25. Meal Plan
Are you the resident chef of your home or looking for inspiration to start cooking? Try meal planning. Choose one or two days per week to cook and prepare your family’s meals and snacks for a full seven days. Talk about a weeknight time (and sanity) saver!
Related: Why Telecommuting Works for Work-at-Home Moms
Guidelines for Maintaining Your Telecommute Status
Don’t leave your supervisor wondering about the status of on-going projects or client actions.
Make it your goal to never inspire your employer to ask questions. Anticipate your boss’ line of thought and proactively provide information.
27. Be Forthcoming
Whenever a plan or process has or needs to be changed, update your manager and anyone else involved in the project; this is this a prime example of what it means to be a team player—a vital characteristic of any SAHM who wants to telecommute long-term.
Set your Google Alerts to monitor the Web for industry news, stats, and blogs within your field of expertise. Staying on top of current trends and shifts within your line of work demonstrates your ability to adapt, your openness to change, and your commitment to advancement. What employer wouldn’t want to continue working with a SAHM who fits that description?
29. Thrive Outside of Work
In your time outside of work, explore personal passions that fuel you to succeed in all areas of your life. Involve your family in your pursuits, or honor your hobby as “me” time. Whichever strategy you choose, finding ways to thrive when you’re off the clock will invigorate your work morale, boost your productivity, and make you less likely to point fingers at your job when you incur life stress.
30. Recognize Work Burnout
Work burnout, or job fatigue, is a mental state of professional stress and discomfort that can manifest physically.
You could be suffering from job fatigue if you are physically and mentally exhausted, feeling anxious and irritable, experiencing a loss of interest in work, or have trouble concentrating and difficulty sleeping.
Recognizing these factors within your own life lets you know it’s time to take a step back and objectively evaluate your work. At that point, you can decide if you need to make changes to your schedule, minimize your job duties, or consider a new job entirely.
Check Out Our National Work & Family Month Survey for a Chance to Win!
As Virtual Vocations continues to honor National Work & Family Month throughout October, we encourage you to take our 10-question Work & Family survey through Friday, October 28, 2016.
Answering 10 simple questions about the role of telecommuting work-life balance in your life will automatically give you a chance to win one of five $50 Amazon Gift Cards! Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, October 31, 2016, ensuring they’ll have a most Happy Halloween.
Transition from SAHM to WAHM with a Telecommute Job
Take advantage of our free registration and get started immediately with Virtual Vocations—the largest online job board focused exclusively on providing researched and screened telecommute jobs. We review, approve, abstract, and upload an average of 10,000 new telecommuting job postings to our job board every month—sorting through more than 500,000 potential telecommuting jobs annually to find the best job leads for you.
As part of our service, you’ll also have complete access to our Telecommute Companies Database filled with thousands of profiles of family-friendly telecommute employers known for hiring qualified professionals to work from home.
What is your motivation to shift from SAHM to WAHM? Share your answer when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtags #VVWorkAndFamily and #WorkLifeWins. We’d love to hear from you!
Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Our family-owned company is committed to helping you find quality job leads. We strive to help make your work-at-home job search faster, easier and safer by bringing you scam-free jobs that offer some form of telecommuting or virtual work.
Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background.