After hearing from lots of readers looking for a full-time job they can do entirely from home, I decided it was high time I revisited this Virtual Vocations review.
We’ve had a review of this service up for a while on HomeWorkingClub, but I decided to revisit Virtual Vocations for a couple of reasons. First off, the Virtual Vocations review, by my writer Michelle, was written from the perspective of a freelance writer looking for one-off gigs. This isn’t really what Virtual Vocations is all about, as it’s advertised as a place to find “telecommute jobs – all in one place.” It therefore seemed fairer to review it from that perspective.
Secondly, Virtual Vocations is a very similar service to FlexJobs. As I wrote the detailed FlexJobs review for this site myself, it seemed right that I reviewed both services personally, in order to fairly compare them.
What is Virtual Vocations?
Virtual Vocations is an online job board specialising in jobs you can do from home. While some deep searching did uncover a few jobs accessible to people worldwide, it’s definitely a service focussed on remote jobs for those in the US. If you’re elsewhere, I’ll save you some time and say that FlexJobs is a better choice.
While there is a Virtual Vocations free trial available – in fact a completely free variant of membership, it only really allows you to see the jobs that are out there. If you want to apply to them, you have to pay up for membership.
Is it right to pay to search for a job?
The controversy around paying to find a job is something that doesn’t seem likely to go away. Some people have a moral objection to it, but I think it’s important to keep things in perspective.
Yes, there are scammy companies out there that exploit job hunters by charging for (sometimes non-existent) opportunities. Virtual Vocations isn’t a scam, and nor is FlexJobs. These companies are charging to curate job listings of roles you can perform from home.
While there’s nothing to stop you looking for these jobs manually, you’re never going to unearth thousands of companies willing to take on remote workers by casually surfing the net. This is akin to refusing to pay for an album (or for Spotify!) and stubbornly waiting for the tune you want to hear to come on the radio.
Nobody has to sign up to these services; If you feel strongly about paying (a pretty tiny amount) for some help with tracking down a desirable work-from-home job, you’re completely free to spend your time ranting on social media about the business model being “just wrong.”
But, to be honest, unless you have a lot of time and dedication to hunt down suitable remote jobs, there’s nothing wrong with paying around ten bucks a month to streamline the search.
Virtual Vocations Review: Pricing
As mentioned above, Virtual Vocations does offer a free membership tier. It’s a nice gesture, but it’s kind of pointless, because you can’t see which companies are recruiting for the jobs, or apply for them.
One thing that is notable, however, is that there are some decent downloadable free resources, such as telecommuting guides and lists of “entry-level” jobs you can do from home.
Ultimately though, if you want to actually find a job with the help of Virtual Vocations, you’re going to have to stump up some cash.
The Virtual Vocations cost is $15.99 per month if you want to pay monthly. Prices go down if you commit to longer, with a six-month subscription costing $59.99, which is almost exactly $10 per month.
Once again, I feel inclined to say that $60 isn’t much if you find a good job on the service within six months – but I know some people will disagree with that stance!
Using Virtual Vocations
The core function of Virtual Vocations is a job search engine. It’s well organised, and there is a large number of filtering options, including job categories (i.e. accounting, consulting, customer service and many others), employment status (permanent, temporary, independent contractor etc.), and weekly hours. The latter is particularly useful for those seeking evening or fully-flexible work.
The ability to search by “date posted” is handy too, to help ensure you’re only looking at recent jobs and not older listings that may have already been filled.
There are plenty of jobs up for grabs on Virtual Vocations. For example, I did a search with four filters, looking at IT jobs, 100% telecommute, no travel, and posted in the past 24-hours. I had 12 pages of jobs to look through. Most importantly, they were accurate and relevant (more accurate than those on FlexJobs when using filters there).
I noticed a few well-known company names that were recruiting for roles as I browsed through the listings, which was reassuring.
What kind of jobs are on Virtual Vocations?
Like FlexJobs, Virtual Vocations definitely excels when it comes to specialist jobs for people with experience. There are plenty of jobs in sectors like IT, accounting and healthcare, for example.
A pleasing thing to see was also a strong selection of customer service jobs, and a couple of pages of data entry opportunities. Virtual Vocations is stronger than FlexJobs for these kind of “entry-level” roles.
Where Virtual Vocations is weak is when it comes to “independent contractor” gigs – in other words, freelance positions.
In fairness, this isn’t what Virtual Vocations claims to provide, but I have previously had the site recommended as a place to find writing gigs. That said, when Michelle did the previous Virtual Vocations review, she was underwhelmed by this side of things too, concluding that “in two plus months on the site, (she) only found one writing gig opportunity (she) heard back from that (she) hadn’t known about from elsewhere.”
If it’s freelance gigs you’re looking for, neither Virtual Vocations nor FlexJobs are the best places to find them. You’ll find some better places here.
One feature I particularly liked whilst conducting my Virtual Vocations review was the “Companies” tab, which profiles firms known to employ remote and freelance workers. If you’re someone who wants to be really proactive about your job search, this is something you could delve deeply into, and it’s all sorted by industry sector. There’d be nothing to stop you reaching out to the firms directly if you were particularly interested in working for them.
The other key features are based around managing your job search, your CV, and your job applications.
There’s nothing at all wrong with these features, but I struggle to get too enthusiastic about them. Yes, you can choose to use Virtual Vocations as the central place for your resumé, send potential employers a public link to it, and – in some cases – apply directly through the platform. But, in reality, you’re generally likely to end up applying direct and using a CV you already have “offline.”
Features that keep track of which jobs you’ve applied for are more useful. And, like Michelle, I liked the fact you can report on jobs that are “Expired,” “Miscategorized,” “Broken Link” or “Not Telecommute.” Outdated or incorrect jobs are always at the top of the criticism list for those who dislike jobs sites like this, so at least something is being done to reduce them.
Downsides of Virtual Vocations
Nothing in life is perfect, and Virtual Vocations has a few downsides.
The first, for me, is the number of emails that the company sends out. Although you can manage your email settings and turn these off, if you don’t, it does feel like you’re being hounded a little! This is especially true if you merely sign up to the free service.
I also don’t like the fact that the site has a “Career Services” section, but when you look at it you just discover a collection of “upsell” services, such as those for resumé review and creation, and chargeable work on your LinkedIn profile. While these might be great services (I reserve judgement), paying nearly $300 in “member prices” for a new CV and LinkedIn profile is too rich for my blood!
The fact Virtual Vocations is almost entirely limited to US-based jobs is a shame too. While FlexJobs is very US-centric, I saw enough jobs there for the UK, Canada and Australia to warrant at least a look from those locations. Conversely, Virtual Vocations is really only worth subscribing to if you’re in the US.
All in all though, if you can get past the fact Virtual Vocations costs a little money, there’s not really that much to criticise. If you feel services like this should always be free, that will be the inevitable downside for you!
It’s inevitable that people will compare Virtual Vocations to FlexJobs – they’re remarkably similar services. Having now personally reviewed both for HomeWorkingClub, I think it’s fair to say that they’re both relatively inexpensive, both worth looking at if you’re looking for remote/telecommute jobs and both pretty weak when it comes to finding freelance gigs!
So it comes down to a few other deciding factors:
Price wise, both services are within a dollar of each other if you pay for a single month’s subscription (c. $15). The difference occurs with longer subscriptions. Whereas Virtual Vocations hovers around the $10 per month mark for a subscription of six months or more, FlexJobs is much cheaper, and with a voucher code like the one in our review, can end up as low as only a few bucks per month if you pay for a year.
So, FlexJobs is generally cheaper.
When it comes to user experience, however, Virtual Vocations wins the day. While neither site is completely perfect in terms of search facilities, as discussed in our review, FlexJobs has a confusing interface, with a lot of clutter and superfluous features.
Then it swings a little the other way when you look at online reputation (discussed below). FlexJobs comes out slightly on top there due to overwhelmingly positive Sitejabber recommendations, including plenty from people who’ve actually found a job using the service.
Jobs wise, it’s impossible to say which will serve you better. Both feature jobs from household name companies. There’s also every chance there will be jobs duplicated across both services.
There’s inevitably a lot of luck involved in finding a remote job that’s suited to your skills on the day(s) you’re looking! If you really want to make sure you don’t miss a single opportunity, you’ll probably want to try out both – and spending $15-20 per month in total isn’t really that big a deal if it results in you finding the remote job of your dreams.
Virtual Vocations Reputation
The Virtual Vocations Glassdoor reviews are all positive, but there’s not that many of them at the time of writing.
Generally, however, Virtual Vocations has a decent online reputation, with criticism largely focussed around those aforementioned people who firmly believe companies shouldn’t be able to charge for job search related sites.
Virtual Vocations Review: Final Verdict
If I were based in the US and looking for a home-based position, I personally wouldn’t moan about handing over $15 to try Virtual Vocations out for a month.
Thanks to the free tier, you can at least take a look at the kind of jobs on the service without spending any money, but you will have to cough up if you actually want to apply for anything.
Like FlexJobs, Virtual Vocations is best for those wanting a remote position with a single company. It’s not so good for freelancers. It’s stronger on jobs for those with solid skills and experience, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility to find entry-level roles here too.
As already discussed, if you object to paying money for a service that curates home working jobs, you’re unlikely to shift from that stance. But if you truly want to work from home whilst maintaining the security of traditional employment, you should give yourself the best chance of finding something suitable.
You could well find that something on Virtual Vocations – or its competitor, FlexJobs.
- Decent user interface.
- Plenty of jobs.
- Good job filtering options.
- Jobs at both expert and entry level.
- Very much US only.
- Too many emails!
- Not much good for freelancers.
Other Places to Look for Work:
- For writing work specifically, take a look at ProBlogger Jobs, or one of the sites recommended here.
- Check out PeoplePerHour or HubStaff Talent for a more traditional freelance job board experience.
- Read freelancing jobs for beginners to find out about how these job boards work.
- Look at our detailed FlexJobs review for a similar alternative to Virtual Vocations.
Great for telecommuters, not so worthwhile for those seeking one-off freelance gigs.
- Ease of Use
- Earning Potential