In our increasingly busy world, it comes as no surprise that so many people seek a way to work from home. Doing so helps to reduce "unproductive" time and stresses such as commuting to the office. However, the ever-growing numbers of people seeking to telecommute means that competition for work-at- home jobs gets tougher each day. Here are a few tips to help you to both evaluate and increase your chances of finding telecommuting work:
__1. Evaluate Your Job Position and Skills.
Many people would love to work at home, but the fact of the matter is, not every job - or every person - is suited to it. For example, a writer, a data entry clerk, or a software programmer may easily be able to do their jobs from home. On the other hand, a medical lab technician, a hardware design engineer, or a bank teller cannot.
Be honest with yourself. If your job isn't suitable for telecommuting, then don't pitch a desperate proposal to your employer. Instead, consider applying for a new position or attend courses so that you can acquire new skills.
__2. Look To Your Current Employer.
Sometimes it's easy to overlook what's right in front of your face. Your job may not currently be a telecommuting position, but that doesn't mean it never will be!
Some companies haven't considered offering telecommuting as an option because... well, because no one's ever done it before. Other employers don't have a 'telecommuting policy', but handle such requests on an individual basis. One site that offers help to workers seeking to prepare a telecommuting proposal is: http://www.telecommutingproposal.com/flexsucc-tcg.htm
Be aware, though, that many companies don't offer full telecommuting privileges. It's common to require employees to check into the office regularly or be available during regular work hours. You probably won't have the option of scheduling your days any way you want them!
Remember, you're still accountable to your boss and to your co-workers; you're just able to do your job from the comfort of your home. Partial telecommuting privileges are still a wonderful thing!
__3. Show Initiative and Professionalism.
Employers are more likely to consider a telecommuting proposal from an employee with a proven track record. So take the initiative! Don't wait to be told to do something; just do it. Do your work well and get it done reliably, with minimal supervision.
__4. Don't Shrug Off Jobs That Don't Specify 'Telecommuting'.
If you saw a job listing that was something you truly wanted to do, but it didn't say that you were allowed to work from home... would you reject it?
Hopefully not. Telecommuting may not be an option for a new employee, but once you establish yourself as a dependable, hard worker, you can always approach your boss with a well-crafted telecommuting proposal.
There's no guarantee that your proposal will be accepted, of course... but neither is there a guarantee that you'll ever find a telecommuting job at all. The hard truth is that employers prefer to offer telecommuting privileges to existing employees with proven track records.
__5. Get Educated.
It's all about options. An education will provide you with more choices. For example, you may currently be providing administrative support for a local company. Administrative and clerical jobs are commonly requested telecommuting positions, and employers can be choosy!
To help you compete, you can enhance your skills by getting additional certification in your area of expertise (for instance, learning how to use other popular software programs frequently in demand by employers)... or you can try something related but in higher demand. Many telecommuting positions are in the sales/marketing and high-tech areas, such as programming or database design.
__6. Use the Internet as a Tool.
The internet makes it relatively easy to research companies online. Use a good search engine such as Google ( http://www.google.com/ ) to uncover opportunities that may not be published elsewhere.
If you apply to a job over the Internet, remember to stay professional. Just because it's the internet doesn't mean you can treat the application process casually! Show professionalism. Follow the application instructions, write up a proper cover letter and resume, check your spelling and grammar, and make sure the company name and the hiring manager's names are both correct!
Be aware of scams, too -- they're prevalent on the 'net! For example, keep in mind that:
* No one can 'guarantee' you a job unless they are hiring you directly (if they're just giving you a list of potential employers, it's the employer that decides whether or not you'll be hired).
* You shouldn't have to pay for a job. Don't get caught in the scams that say you need to pay a 'deposit' to ensure you're 'serious', or that you need to pay for 'materials'. A company pays its employees to do a job, AND provides them with all the necessary materials.
__7. Check With Local Employers.
The internet certainly is a convenient tool, but it's not the only place to look for telecommuting jobs. Check the local papers, attend job fairs, visit employment agencies, and basically keep your eyes and ears open for opportunity! It's rare to find a company that's willing to hire someone they don't know and who lives in an entirely different part of the country... but employers tend to be more inclined to hire someone who lives in the area -- it makes training and supervision much easier! One site that offers a list of telecommuting positions searchable by state and job type is http://buildyourhomebiz.com/rd/hjs.html .
Like with anything in life, be prepared to work for what you want. What are you willing to do to increase your odds of joining the telecommuting work force?
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical guide to building an Internet business on a shoestring budget. If you're tired of hype and just want solid, down-to-earth information, then visit us now -- and in moments you can have access to loads of instantly useable tips, specifically chosen for beginners! http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/article.html