This post is by Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning, innovative career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. All this week, WealthySingleMommy is partnering with FlexJobs to bring you “Flexible Work Week.”
Despite the growing account of work-from-home job scams, and the negative connotation associated with working from home not being viewed as having a “real job,” in truth, there are a plethora of highly professional and legitimate work-from-home jobs all around the world, many of which are posted on FlexJobs.
Working from home home may be closer than it seems — more than 50 percent of workers already have a job that is compatible with at-home work. Surprised? Consider the surge of computer and mobile technology and the fact that most professionals already integrate work into their home life — working via laptop and tablet evenings and weekends, and conferencing into meetings via a home phone. Telecommuting is simply part of the natural progression of remote working. That said, there are a few helpful tips to navigate the complex and occasionally misleading world of telecommuting.
My company, FlexJobs, has helped more than 1 million people in their search for professional and legitimate flexible work arrangements, including work-from-home positions. The team of professional job researchers at FlexJobs scour the web for valid flexible jobs, and even they estimate that for every one real work-from-home job they find, they have to filter through 60-70 job scams.
Here are my best tips for finding a professional work-from-job without risking the loss of your hope, or your sanity for that matter.
Learn the lingo. Most professionals can determine what a “work-from-home-job” means. So can scammers. It’s the most common keyphrase used by job scammers, so much so that in 2011 the FBI deemed it a top online scam phrase. When hunting for jobs online, avoid googling the search terms “work-from-home” and “work-at-home.” Instead, opt for “telecommute job,” “telecommuting,” or “remote job.”
Research your target companies. Many organizations with thriving telecommuting programs use the phrases “distributed workforces” or “distributed teams” to describe their remote employees. Other companies utilize “ROWE,” a results-only work environment which puts less emphasis on hours and location, and more on productivity. Lastly, if you’re searching for a position without geographical constraint, search for the keywords “open nationwide,” “at-home,” or “geographically neutral.”
Include companies, as well as jobs, into your search. As the telecommuting industry continues to gain credibility by leaps and bounds, more employers are openly revealing on their websites their support for work-from-home positions. Searching particular company websites — opposed to only job boards — can be an alternate route to your flexible job search, one that should entail far less scams.
Familiarize yourself with common job scams. With telecommuting jobs on the rise, too comes the rise in scams for this niche job market. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and illusory by the day. Educating yourself on the most common job scams will only aid you in developing an eye for these not so legitimate opportunities.
Below are some of the most commonly used job scams our team has witnessed.
• Companies replicating valid companies URLs and websites to draw job seekers in, under the false pretense that they are applying for a real work-from-home job.
• Companies revealing little or no details about their location, phone number or email.
• Companies requiring payment to get the job, asking for money to be wired through Western Union or from bank account to bank account
Search by legitimate job titles. Another way to prepare yourself for success against scams is to familiarize yourself with the most common job titles and categories that hire for legitimate telecommuting positions. Some of the most frequently occurring titles we’ve seen: writer, consultant, customer service representative, software/web developer, sales representative, account manager, case manager, adjunct faculty, travel counselor, graphic designer, bilingual interpreter, marketing manager, medical coder, and project manager.
Bottom line: professional work-from-home jobs exist if you know how, and where, to look.
There are great telecommuting jobs available at all career levels, entry-level to executive, in all career categories, ranging from part-time to full-time. So if you want to work from home, keep hope — remote jobs are out there, and more are becoming available every day.
Did you get scammed in your search for a work-at-home situation? Narrowly escape a scam? Share your experience in the comments and help other moms!