Last week, I discussed the mental health benefits of working from home and tips on how to be successful. So I thought this week I’d discuss finding a job working from home and growing your professional network (from home!).
Tip #1: Think about what you want before you begin. Finding a job to apply for can feel overwhelming, whether working from home or not. Because you don’t want to waste your time, you should only apply for jobs that you are qualified for and fully interested in doing. In order to begin an effective job search, answer some questions to help you determine what you’re looking for.
- What type(s) of work do you enjoy doing?
- What industries do you feel passionate about working in?
- What is most important to you about the company you work for (flexibility, mission, culture, etc.)?
- What skills and qualifications do you have to offer?
- Is there a possibility for you to work from home on your current job?
- If working from home is your ultimate goal, also consider how you qualify: Do you have previous experience working remotely? Do you have any special computer skills? Etc.
Tip #2: Find the right search engine. When you’re using a job search engine, scan some positions to see if there is anything that interests you. You will find that different search engines cater to different industries. The sites I’ve mainly used with students and clients are:
Tip 3: Play with different search terms. Once you’ve found a search engine, you should have a few search terms in mind that will help you find what you’re looking for. To find these terms, do some research and write down keywords that come up. While searching for jobs working from home, you can also use terms in your search including, “remote,” or, “at home.”
- In one of my searches, “remote,” produced over 62,000 results (which you can refine so they are not so overwhelming) and, “at home work,” produced over 14,000 results (which you should also refine).
- Additional search terms that came up on Indeed.com were: at home customer service, at home part time, at home healthcare, etc.
- From there, you can revise by estimated salary, job type, full-time or part-time, location (which might not matter if the job is remote), company, and experience level.
Tip #4: Use the network you have to help you find work. Even if you don’t want to share that you’re looking for a job, you can begin to inquire about what others do to see if there are any possible opportunities for you.
- Talk to family and friends, people you know in your community, at your kids’ school, your church, synagogue, mosque, etc. You never know, a friend of a friend might know of the perfect job for you!
- For example, I once knew I wanted to change my career path, but I was timid about sharing that I was unemployed, so I just started asking people at a holiday party about what they did, and one woman happened to work at a company I was interested in applying at. I shared my situation with her and she gave me good advice on what types of jobs I would qualify for at her company.
- Send an email, use social media connections, use your connections on LinkedIn (see below for details), etc.
- Volunteer and get involved in online groups.
Tip #5: Create a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, I strongly recommend creating one before you begin your job search. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and has many advantages.
- You can use it to search for jobs, connect to others, and even possibly obtain resources or references for companies you are applying at.
- For example, if you are on LinkedIn and see you have a 2nd connection (a 1st connection’s connection) to someone who works at the company you are applying at, you can message that 2nd connection, introduce yourself and state who you both have as a 1st connection, and discuss the job you are applying for at his/her/their company. They can work as both a resource and possibly even a reference for the position you are seeking.
- When creating your LinkedIn page, think of it as a live resume, complete with your branding statement (LinkedIn’s Summary), qualifications, and experience.
- Keep in mind that your page will be up while you are applying for several jobs at once, so be sure to target your industry, but to avoid being specific to any one job.
- Also, make sure you have a headshot (from the shoulders up) and links to work you’ve completed including projects, awards, certifications, etc. The more the prospective employer sees about you, the better.
- Read, “How to Use LinkedIn Effectively,” and, “20 Critical Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn Networking,” for more information.
Tip #6: Clean up your social media presence. Trust me, employers will search for you online when you apply for a job, which is why it’s wise to make sure everything associated with you on social media represents the best version of you. Also, be sure to avoid any judgmental or intolerant posts and/or comments on any site you’re on.
Tip #7: Check your grammar and punctuation. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Remember, getting to know you online might be the only way a potential employer has to get to know you. So be sure to edit and revise multiple times prior to applying to ensure you are selling your best self.
- Visit my website’s Resources page to see resources I recommend.
Tip #8: Keep track of the jobs you’ve applied for and follow up if possible. I suggest only applying for three to five jobs per week because by the time you find the job, research the company, and write your resume and cover letter (see next week’s post), your job search will become a full-time job.
- Use a tracking system so you know the jobs you applied for, the companies you applied at, and the job site you found the position on. That way, when an employer calls you for an interview, you can quickly refer back to the position you applied for.
- You can also follow up with the job posting by reaching out to the contact person for the position or by calling or emailing the human resources department and inquiring about the status of the position. This allows you to stay proactive in your job search and to weed out jobs that are no longer available.
Please feel free to ask questions and to share your successes in the comments below as you find jobs and grow your professional network.
And if you find a job to apply for, be sure to check out next week’s post on writing a branding statement, resume and cover letter. As always, good luck!