By Guest Blogger Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder of Employment Options Inc.
Even though there are many similarities between applying for a local job and applying for a virtual work-at-home job, there are many significant differences. Your knowledge about this process can be the edge you need to secure the job you want!
The Application Process
Unlike jobs in your local community, almost all work-at-home jobs require an application to be submitted online. This submission tells the employer that you have access to a computer and you have a specific skill set to use the Internet and follow detailed instructions online. Most will not take phone calls or emailed resumes. They require you to use the submitted form.
Unlike applying in-person, tech issues can get in the way. Nevertheless, they can be overcome with patience and persistence! Below are some tips to solve some of the most common problems.
If you encounter Internet problems when accessing or submitting the company’s form, first, try to change your browser. For example, if you are applying using Google Chrome, try Mozilla Firefox instead. (Often companies will give you tips on the best browsers for different computer systems). Second, clear any cookies or caches before submitting an application.
Third, try later as the problem may not be on your end – that is, the company may be having technical difficulties.
Assuming that the form and your computer are cooperating, try to save frequently just in case. In addition, be sure to take your time and proofread before submitting the completed application. This is key! It is very common to scroll right past a question online or press the SUBMIT button without reviewing your grammar and spelling. Most forms do not spell check for you!
Remember, that “saving” a form is not always the same as “submitting.” Be sure to actually submit your application. Then, be patient! It may take two or three minutes to fully process the form. Don’t close your browser until you get a confirmation of a successful submission!
Response by Phone or Email
Just like applying for a local job, you will most likely hear if you have an interview by phone or email.
Be sure you have a good working phone number, and most importantly, a professional sounding voicemail. Call yourself and listen to your message as if you were the hiring manager. Is this the impression you want to give a prospective employer? (You can always change it back after you obtain a job.) Be sure and check for messages frequently!
First impressions also count with regards to online applications, especially when it comes to email addresses. Don’t use something like [email protected] or [email protected] Keep it professional. Be sure to check your email a few times a day and if you don’t hear from the company, be sure to check your spam folder! Their email may have ended up there.
Computer, Software and Phones
Since you will be required usually to have a landline for a virtual position, the work-at-home employer will require a compatibility test on your landline phone and your computer’s technology. But it isn’t a big deal. It is usually a link and a series of steps. They do it because their software may require a minimum Internet upload or download speed to work properly.
For work-at-home positions, there is often a typing test for speed and accuracy. Take this helpful practice test, where you can practice and improve your scores before applying online. Typically work-at-home employers want at least 25 words per minute and accuracy counts as much, if not more, than your speed.
Although there are companies that have applicants talk to one recruiter, many work-at-home jobs are conducted as a group interview. You will need a phone or computer and sometimes a USB headset for this interview. The employer will send you a phone number to call or he or she might provide you a link that will connect you. (Note: While you might be able to use a cell phone to interview, most employers require a landline to actually work from home.)
Group interviews usually consist of one Human Resource professional and 8-15 other applicants. If they can see you, make sure you look well-groomed. Initially, they will inform you more about the job, hours, shift schedule and responsibilities to make sure you still want it.
Many people often get screened out in the first interview because they are not willing to work the hours required, which may include weekends and holidays for many entry work-at-home positions.
It is important to carefully study and read the job requirements before interviewing. It is best to be realistic about your availability when you first decide to apply and not wait until the interview stage. Not all employers have the same schedules or operating hours.
If you are offered the job from home, (way to go!), most W-2 employers will pay for your training. During training, you will be learning their proprietary software and procedures. Many work-at-home jobs require full-time training hours, even if you are accepting a part-time position. Be sure that your schedule allows for this. Depending on the complexity of the job, training can range from several days to many weeks. You will have assignments throughout the process and your complete attendance and participation is mandatory.
Where to Apply Online
Now that you know key tips to consider for work-at-home, make sure you are applying with ‘legitimate’ work-at-home employers. For a quick refresher on how to avoid work-at-home scams, check out my YouTube Video.
Remember, most importantly, it should not cost you to get a work-at-home job with a direct employer. The only items an employer might ask for with regards to up-front money are your background checks, or at times, certain small equipment like a special headset.
If you are a person with a disability, you might be able to receive free help in finding work-at-home jobs as part of the free Ticket to Work program. Only agencies and companies certified by the Social Security Administration are eligible to work in this program. Many local agencies do not have access to work-at-home positions, so if you are looking to work-at-home consider using an Employment Network that specializes in this area and serves multiple states.
About the Guest Blogger
Paula Reuben Vieillet is president and founder of Employment Options Inc., a certified Social Security Administration Employment Network in the Ticket to Work Program, which assists those on SSDI/SSI benefits in returning to the workforce. They specialize in work-at-home Employment and have long-term relationships with national employers. In addition, they offer community on-site jobs serving 47 states. Her company, which also has a Facebook and Twitter page, lets interested jobseekers apply online for their free services at www.MyEmploymentOptions.com. You can also learn more about their Work-at-Home Specialties. Paula is a frequent consultant to the SSA on the Ticket to Work Program and has authored three books on job placement.
If you have any questions about the company’s free services, nationwide job openings or resources for people with disabilities, email Lori Adler at [email protected] or call 800-441-3114, ext. 754 (Shieka) or ext. 763 (Lori).
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