Disclaimer: I’m not an expert, but I’ll share as much as I can to help you in looking and applying for a legit online job. This is going to be one long post though.
I’ve been working online since 2013, and I haven’t looked back (to working in an office) since then. I get asked about it a lot, and sometimes it is hard to explain, especially if the person asking me really wants to give it a shot. There are a lot of things, though, that I went through before I finally got the job that I currently have. While some might say I’m lucky I get to have a chance working from home, I’d be honest. It wasn’t as easy as I originally thought. But before I get into the nitty-gritty, let me give you a little bit of background.
In 2012, I’ve decided I no longer want to be rushing to the office, and not being able to be with my family for most of my time each day. I resigned a year after and the hunt started from there. It wasn’t easy transitioning, but I managed.
Then I did some freelance writing jobs that I chanced upon on UpWork (it was oDesk back then). Most were web content writing gigs and though I didn’t really earn much from it (I was getting paid around $2-$3 per 500 words), I got a feel of what it’s like working as a freelancer.
Some of you might say that’s crazy–the pay was really low. And it was! But it “paid off” as it helped me jumpstart my online job hunt. Here’s why I did what I did and how it helped me land a good and long-term gig:
This is one of the many reasons why I took those small jobs. I understand no one would want to get paid peanuts, but hey, it still pays, right? The idea is for my online profile to get reviews from clients. And also, to prove that I can do the job, no matter how small or huge it is. I believe that you need to work smart–not necessarily be super picky. You’ll end up with nothing if you aim so high without the credibility.
Think big, start small.
— Seth Godin
It’s good to think way ahead, but you have to take baby steps if you’re just starting out. Nothing comes easy the first time around, so wanting more for what you can actually do just won’t fit. You’d have to work for it.
This is one problem that I see nowadays in various Facebook groups I joined (those that cater to people looking to work from the comforts of their own home). Many individuals who are new to this often ask if it’s okay to accept a job that pays a bit low. A lot would chime in, saying it’s too low, and that they suggest looking for ones with higher rates or make their hourly rates higher. I mean, c’mon. If I’m the one hiring, would I pay a lot for a person who has less experience? I wouldn’t.
LEARNING ANOTHER SKILL
It doesn’t hurt spending your time taking up courses online. After all, looking for an online job requires that you stay on the internet most of the time. When I was looking for other means to earn online, I took it upon myself to learn a thing or two about SEO, and blogging. I’m not saying that you should study the same set of courses I took, but it ‘s always better if you have something else up your sleeves, should the need arise. That practically still helps me with my current job as a customer support rep for a website builder company. I may have learned the fundamentals, but I get to use it to explain things to customers in the simplest way possible. It might not seem a lot, but it’s really good to have that extra knowledge right off the bat than having to learn it while on the job. Who knows, you might also be able to use that on the side (on a separate project from a different client).
READING INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
Aside from acquiring new skills, one should have the ability to read instructions carefully and follow to a T. Since I also recruit and hire, this is one of the most basic things I look for in a candidate. While it’s good to ask questions when unsure of something, just asking without actually reading is a big no-no. I believe that most jobs, if not all, require keen attention to details. Working online isn’t an exception.
Most aspiring freelancers or remote workers I encountered don’t really read stuff. They just look at job postings and only comment on posts like “How?” or “Details, please?”, even though the job post already has complete details about how to apply. I mean, you’re applying for a job, but you don’t even bother to read and try to comprehend what your being asked to do. Not reading thoroughly could jeopardize your chances of getting that gig. In scenarios like this, I do my own research. I don’t rely on other freelancers’ advise alone. It’s okay to be a “lurker” in different threads sometimes because somewhere in that thread, useful tips would turn up even without asking anyone (still involves reading, right?).
BEING PUNCTUAL ON INTERVIEWS
There would be interviews, depending on the jobs you apply to. And when you get a chance to be interviewed, don’t f*ck it up by not coming on time. Some recruiters may not really be so particular with schedules, but please, stick to the schedule you picked to save yours and your recruiter’s time. There are interviewers who would base off your work ethics on your punctuality. You may be mistaken for someone who has an utter disregard for schedule. And that’s one thing that could turn them off. If you can’t make it on that particular date and time, have the decency to notify at least 1 day before your set appointment. That might be one brownie point off, but you might still be given consideration because you value their time.
It doesn’t matter if you wait for a bit when it’s time for your interview or if the interviewer comes in a bit late. Losing patience and badmouthing your prospective client, especially on social media, hurts your chances of getting hired. Think of it as a test of patience and determination.
BE WARY OF “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE” OFFERS
It may be hard to narrow down your choices when you see a lot lying around on Facebook and on different online job marketplaces. However, it is still up to you if you allow yourself to fall into a trap. I was once a victim of this (I gave out copies of my IDs without verifying if the client was legit or not) so I’d tell you to be very careful of really good offers, especially if you’re asked outright to give your IDs (you wouldn’t really know what the heck they’d do with your info). Only pick those if you know somebody else has worked for that person/company but still be cautious about it. Research is still the key here. Try to know as much as you can about the person or the company before accepting any offers.
Another one that you should be aware of is when you’re asked to shell out money for you to get started immediately and you get double the amount when you get your pay. This is a red flag. You’re looking for a job to get paid, not the other way around. And you know what they always say:
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
This might seem a bit basic and only touch the general side of the “hows” and “whys”. But you must know the basics before you could navigate something that is fairly unknown to you. Again, I’m not an expert, but these insights helped me through the challenges. I may have missed out some, but hey, they worked for me. These are not like how skincare products work–whatever worked for you doesn’t necessarily mean it would work for anyone. It did for me, so I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work for you. Got more tips of your own? Ze comments section eez waiting below.