Working from home is an alluring prospect for many people. Avoiding the commute, having a good work / life balance, and being able to work with no distractions are all among the plus points.
Not everybody who wants to work from home wants to work for themselves. Freelance life has its ups and downs, and some people prefer to combine the perceived stability and security of a “traditional” job with the flexibility of working from home. This article is for those people.
Even though remote working roles are becoming increasingly popular, they’re still not necessarily as easy to find (and get) as office-based jobs. With that in mind, here are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid while you conduct your search.
Don’t be too easily defeated
It’s unlikely your perfect home working job will just fall into your lap! It could take some serious negotiation with an existing employer, or a long job search. But what you get at the end is a complete change in lifestyle.
No matter the odds, you have to stay positive whilst job searching. Otherwise, you won’t find that perfect career. There’s a reason sites like FlexJobs and Virtual Vocations (use links to see reviews) offer subscriptions lasting months rather than days. You may need to wait a while until a role you can do remotely comes up.
It would, therefore, be an awful shame if you gave up too soon.
Don’t assume all sites are equal
There are all kinds of job sites capitalising on the popularity of home working. Unfortunately, they can be a popular hunting ground for scammers too. (You’ll find some help avoiding scams here).
You may decide to use a subscription service (as mentioned above), find jobs online with Gumtree or similar, or end up unearthing your dream role on a more “traditional” job site. Whatever you do, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the wealth of options out there, whilst staying mindful that not all remote jobs are what they may initially seem.
Don’t be lazy with your applications
In haste to find a home working job, some people are tempted to fire off dozens of template applications. This is a “numbers game” approach of firing lots of “something” at a wall and hoping some of it sticks! And it doesn’t work.
Recruiters gets loads of lazy, uncustomized template applications, and it’s rare that any of them will make it through the first sift of resumés.
It makes far more sense to spend more time looking for specific roles that really suit your skills and experience. It’s better spending hours on one finely crafted application for a job you might actually get than spending that time firing off loads of bulk applications in the hope you might get lucky. You’re also far more likely to end up doing a job you actually want to do this way around.
Don’t have an unprofessional online presence
Employers know that they can find substantial information about their job applicants via their social media accounts. In fact, a study showed that 70% of employers do exactly that when they’re recruiting.
You don’t want to miss out on a job because of something you did (or posted) in the past! Here are some specific aspects of social media you should check:
Your profile photo should look genuine and you should avoid “jokey” content in your public bio, especially in the “works at” part. Pictures that you wouldn’t show your employer should only be available to your Facebook friends.
If you’re a Twitter user who wants to keep a personal account, it might be better not to use a Twitter handle that allows you to be easily identified. This is a judgement call, but you may perhaps prefer to keep your politics out of a job application process!
The same goes for Instagram. Take extra caution if you’re in the creative industry, as potential employers may want to check out your output. If, of course, you’re proud of your Instagram and treat it as part of your personal “brand” you may be fine with that.
Don’t use a novelty email account to apply for jobs! Your real name looks more professional.
On applications such as Skype and WhatsApp, make sure that you use proper grammar and refrain from using too many emojis… 🙂
Don’t fail at the tech basics
Home-based jobs are often very dependent on technology. If you want to guarantee flunking a video interview for a remote job, all you need to do is use an unreliable broadband connection and keep dropping the Skype call!
Don’t (necessarily) accept the first job you get
It’s crucial to do some “due diligence” as and when you are offered a home working job. Read the small print, research the company in depth online and make sure you’re certain of what you’re getting into. This is especially important if you’re going to quit a well-paid job to make the switch.
Don’t forget to think about tax
It’s vital to know exactly how you’re being employed. Are you an employee? An independent contractor?
Exactly how your employment works can have big implications on things like taxation, benefits and insurances – including healthcare. Your eyes must be wide open to all of these details – not sidetracked by the fact you’re suddenly going to be able to live that desirable home working life.
Millions of people across the world establish home working careers, both by working remotely for companies or by setting up as freelancers.
While this article may seem cautionary in tone, that is the case only to demonstrate that there are potential pitfalls. If you avoid them with a little care and thought, you COULD be the next person to turn their back on the commute and begin to work from the comfort of home.
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.