At-Home Jobs Change With the Times
Some workplace industry insiders have even stopped referring to them as work-from-home jobs. Part of the reason is to get away from the stereotypical perceptions that all such work is low-skill and low-paid. It's also to separate a growing number of legitimate opportunities at companies in all types of industries from scams that are often identifiable on Craigslist and job boards by the phrase or its popular abbreviation, "WFH."
More companies and government agencies are giving employees the flexibility to choose where and when they do their jobs, including letting them telecommute on a part-time or regular basis. Other companies operate as 100 percent virtual entities, with managers and employees working from desks across the country -- or the world.
These work force trends are creating opportunities for people in their 40s and older who are interested in working from a home office as they phase out of a corporate job, switch careers or pick up some extra income in retirement.From Teacher to CEO
- K-8 teacher for an online public school
- Senior research consultant for Microsoft
- Research and development architect
- Vice president of engineering
- Chief executive officer of a Michigan-based disability network
- Solar energy sales rep
- Transplant registered nurse case manager for an insurance company
- Membership recruiter for a marketing association
"We've seen a remote neurosurgeon job," adds FlexJobs founder and chief executive Sara Sutton Fell.
According to Fell, most of FlexJobs' subscribers are 35 to 55, and more than a few use it to find telecommuting jobs as part of a second act. "Even if [you] think it might not apply to your career, I encourage people to keep an open mind" about what could constitute a telecommuting opportunity, she says.
Here's more advice from Fell on how to find telecommuting jobs and what to do when applying for positions:
1. Cast a wide net. There's no single repository of telecommuting jobs. Instead, investigate the usual resources you'd use to look for work -- job boards, LinkedIn, your college's career center, the career section of company websites and the like. Fell also recommends searching Google for the name of a company you'd like to work for and "telecommuting" or "telework" to see what comes up.
2. Beware of scams. Certain words or phrases are often associated with job scams, including "work from home" or "WFH," Fell says. Other red flags: if a company's name doesn't appear in an ad, if an email address on a job listing doesn't include the company's URL -- which could signal it's not a legitimate offer of work -- and if you have to pay a fee in order to apply for or get a job.
3. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated. LinkedIn is among the top places recruiters check for information on prospective employees, so it pays to keep your profile on the business network current. People 40 and older can capitalize on their work experience by including it in their profile. LinkedIn is also good for networking your way into home-based positions, because you can look up people in your community who work at companies you're interested in who could help you get an in, Fell says.
4. Prepare for a virtual job interview. Some companies do in-person interviews and in-office training for employees who'll eventually work from home. But others never see job candidates or employees face-to-face, including Fell, who's never met some of her own staff. If you're doing an interview over Skype or the phone, where a hiring manager won't be able to read your body language, focus on verbal communication, she says. Explain skills you possess that will help you excel as a telecommuter, including initiative, self-discipline and trustworthiness. "It's important to let the employer know that even if you're not in front of them all the time, you're paying attention to your productivity, and it's not 'out of sight, out of mind,'" she says.
5. Keep salary expectations realistic. Salaries for telecommuting positions are generally comparable to in-office positions, but could be as much as 10 to 15 percent lower "for the benefits you have working from home," Fell says.
Previous Post: 60-Something Trainer Embodies Fitness Trend
Next Post: 5 Ways to Help After Irene