Bottom Line/Personal: Everybody wants to work from home, and it’s really tempting. You see all these ads around that say, “Work from home, work from home,” but a lot of them are actually not so legitimate. So how do you find a legitimate work-from-home job?
Nancy Collamer: Yeah, here’s the first rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When you see those posters on the telephone poles that say, “Earn $500 a week. No experience needed. Call this number,” your antenna ought to go up.
But, let’s talk about how can you find something that’s really a good quality work-from-home job? The first thing I always recommend that people do is start off by networking locally. There are so many people these days that have small businesses or their own businesses, and they would love to hire somebody to do their bookkeeping or to do their medical transcription for them or maybe to do some translation services. So start by networking locally.
Bottom Line: Some of it depends, though, on what their skill set is.
Collamer: Yeah, absolutely.
Bottom Line: If you can do transcriptions or freelance writing or things like that, those are very portable and transportable.
Collamer: Yeah, and to that point, I think that no matter what your skill set is, you have to recognize that most work-from-home jobs are things that you can do using your computer, using a telephone. So it tends to be things like people that do sales, recruiting, translation, writing services, copy editing, proofreading. All of those types of things that really just require a computer and/or a telephone line.
If you’re somebody who is a manager, that’s going to be a lot harder to do working from home. So you really need to think about what skills you have that lend themselves to that type of work.
In addition to networking among friends and locally, think about approaching small businesses in the area. Again, a lot of them are working on very tight budgets; they may not even have the space in their office to hire people, and so they would love to hire people to work for them from home.
And I should clarify here: when I say, ‘hire,’ in a lot of these cases you are not going to get hired for a full-time job. It’s more project type work that you’re going to be able to land.
Bottom Line: In these cases, though, is it best to go direct to the companies or, again, can you go through temp agencies?
Collamer: Temp agencies, in general, these days, most of the work they send you on tends to be assignments where you actually go to an office environment. Not all of it, but most of it involves you going to an office environment. That said, there are some pretty good job boards out there where you can look for work-from-home opportunities.
Two that I think are well worth your time – the first is called FlexJobs. FlexJobs, you do have to pay a small monthly fee to join that. I’ve followed them for years; they really do have good quality listings. Another site is RatRaceRebellion.com. Love that name.
Bottom Line: Nice name.
Collamer: Yeah, love the name. What they do is they actually have a newsletter that comes out – I believe it’s a daily newsletter. It’s free. They do a lot of work with these customer service type jobs that – you know, you call Lands’ End and the person who’s taking your order?
Bottom Line: Yep. Those are great work-from-home jobs.
Collamer: Yep, yep. So using services like that. And then you can go to some of the really large job boards and put in “work from home” as a search filter. But when you do that, just be careful, because you want to avoid these scammy type listings. So those are some of the ways that you can find those types of jobs.
Bottom Line: In general, when you go to some of these job boards and if something shows up as a work-from-home, is another screen on it if it’s a company you’ve heard of, if it’s a larger company that you’re aware of? Versus something you have no idea, you can’t get any information on, you can’t find anyone connected to them, then you might want to stay away.
Collamer: Absolutely. And really, you have to be very, very careful, because there are a lot of scams out there, and you don’t want to get into a situation where you apply for something that is nonexistent.
And please, whatever you do, never give over any personal information – things like your bank account. Sometimes they will say, “Oh, it’s just that we’re going to be wiring some funds. We need to have that information.” Huge red flag.
Bottom Line: No that, no Social, no date of birth even, perhaps, early on.
Collamer: Right. Yeah, yeah, any of that personal information. But all of those job boards and job listings are great if you can find them; just bear in mind that when you search those listings, it’s you and millions of other people looking at them. And that’s why I really prefer sticking with networking. Think local. There are going to be people who will be happy to hear from you.
Bottom Line: All right. Great advice, Nancy Collamer. Thank you.
Collamer: You’re welcome.
Nancy Collamer, a career counselor, speaker, and author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. She also writes a semi-monthly career column for NextAvenue.com (PBS) and Forbes.com. MyLifestyleCareer.comDate: January 30, 2015 Publication: Bottom Line Personal