By Sharon Davis
The answer may be easier than you think, but there's a catch.
The truth is that you find a telecommute job just like you find any other job- with research, persistence and a bit of job search savvy.
The caveat? Ever wonder why more companies don't advertise telecommute jobs? In this competitive job market you'd think more of them would see the benefits of hiring telecommuters. Well, many of them do, they just don't advertise their telecommute positions. The sad fact is that when they do, they are inundated with responses from applicants who aren't remotely qualified for the position. There seems to be a persistent rumor circulating that the desire to work at home somehow qualifies a person to perform a job. This has really turned employers off to posting telecommute positions for the world to see.
With that said, you can see how important it is to be very realistic when applying for a telecommute position. Think of your home-based job search as a "traditional" job search. Keep in mind that many companies are telecommute friendly, even if they don't list that in their job listing or ad. In fact, the company you are currently working for may be willing to allow partial telecommuting. That should be the first place you look. Many companies are testing the waters by allowing employees to work from home on a part-time basis.
If you feel that this is a possibility for your company, the first thing you should do is determine whether or not the job you do is appropriate for telecommuting. If you are a receptionist who does clerical and phone work, then your job could possibly be performed from home, but if you also greet clients then it may not be an option. Here is a good article on how to convince your boss to let you telecommute.
For an external job search, definitely check out the sites that cater to telecommuters. Aside from that, you should identify companies that you want to work for and apply to them. You will find a listing of Telecommute Friendly Companies here at 2Work-At-Home.com.
When I was making a career change, I made a list of the top 10 companies that I wanted to work for. I sent my resume and cover letter to each of them. I ended up landing the job with my first choice. As it turns out, the person I replaced had just been promoted on the day my resume was received. The company's Human Resources Manager was passing my future boss in the hallway. Handing her my resume she said, "Oh, here you go. You'll need to replace yourself!". Timing is everything.
While you do want to inquire about a company's policy on telecommuting and flexible work arrangements, you should not let that be the focus of the interview. You want to leave the impression that you are a quality candidate, not that you are desperate to stay at home. Most companies don't offer telecommuting right off the bat. In most cases, you must work for a predetermined period of time before telecommuting becomes an option.
Take a good hard look at your resume. Companies that hire telecommuters are looking for specific skills and qualities. Make sure your resume highlights those skills. A resume is particularly important for someone who is looking for a home-based position because in many cases, the very skills required to write an effective resume are the skills an employer is looking for. Also keep this in mind when interviewing, as these skills will be evaluated through the interview process. Many employers conduct phone interviews and will get a sense of your communication skills and your professionalism this way.
Even if you don't have the skills that are in demand for telecommute jobs, don't lose hope! It's never too late to learn a new skill. Take a course at a local college, or one of the many online courses that are available. You can find information on internet courses at http://www.2work-at-home.com/tutorials.shtml.
Whatever your situation, remember to stay focused on finding a job that matches your skills and experience, present yourself in a professional manner, and treat your job search as you would if you were seeking a non-telecommute position.
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