How to Find Legitimate Work-at-Home Jobs

Get a Telecommuting Job That Isn't a Scam

Young woman working on laptop in balcony
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Many people want to work from home, but aren't interested in freelancing or starting a business. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to get hired in a home-based job. More and more people are employed from home as teachers, writers, bookkeepers, customer service agents, virtual support staff, nurses, and many more types of jobs. Many companies you probably recognize such as Amazon, Aetna, Humana, American Express, Capital One, Hilton, and more hire home-based employees.

The problem in getting a work-at-home job is two-fold:

  1. There are many scammers who'll try to fool you into thinking there are jobs that are essentially get-rich-quick and other money-stealing schemes.
  2. Getting hired to a work-at-home job isn't easy. 

Pros of Telecommuting

There are some great perks to telecommuting including:

  • Set wage or salary
  • Avoid commuting
  • Sometimes there are perks such as benefits or free equipment
  • Sometimes you can have a flexible schedule
  • Unless you're in sales, there's no need to hustle for clients or customers.

Cons of Telecommuting

There are downsides to work-at-home jobs including:

  • Pay is often less than if you freelanced or ran your own home business
  • Competition is fierce, making getting hired a challenge. 
  • It can six to twelve months or longer to find and get hired to a work-at-home job
  • Work-at-home jobs aren't any more secure than traditional jobs, which means you can be let go at any time.
  • May work-at-home jobs don't offer flexibility, which means you have to work a set schedule and within the set parameters of the employer. 
  • Some employers with work-at-home jobs only hire locally.

    How to Get a Legitimate Work-at-Home Job

    The key thing to remember about finding and getting hired to work from home is that telecommuting job searches are done just like traditional job searches. You won't simply sign up somewhere and then have a job. Instead, you'll need a resume or application that shows you've got the skills and experience the employer is looking for. Often there will be an interview by phone or Skype.

    Here are the best ways to land a work-at-home job: 

    Ask your boss to let you telecommute. If you're a valued worker and have a job that is conducive to working from home, write a work-at-home proposal that outlines your contributions to the company, how working at home can help the company (i.e. save money or boost productivity), and present it to your boss or manager. 

    Search for work-at-home in your industry. Maybe your boss won't let you work at home, but another company in your same industry might. You can contact similar companies directly and inquire about telecommuting options along with sending your resume, or you can search for jobs in your industry.

    Search for jobs on in job-related resources. Don't use Google to search for telecommuting opportunities. Instead, visit legitimate job search websites such as CareerBuilder, and and use telecommuting keywords ("work at home," telecommute, remote, etc) to find the jobs that allow you to work at home. Note that these keywords will bring up listings that also say "no telecommute," and on occasion business opportunities and scammers sneak their listings onto job sites. 

    Because different companies refer to telecommuting and working from home with different terms, it pays to be aware of some variations and work them into your search. For example:

    • Telecommute
    • "Work from Home" and "Work at Home" (use quotes around search phrases)
    • Remote
    • Virtual
    • Telework (especially on job sites outside the U.S.)

    You may need to try multiple words to find all jobs. For example, on Careerbuilder, telecommute and "work at home" both yield results, but they're different results. Telecommute usually brings up a more professional level or technical jobs. So it pays to try several keywords, even if one gives you good results. 

    The best sites for finding work-at-home jobs include traditional job sites such as CareerBuilder and can be a source, but you'll need to pay even more attention to avoid scams and business opportunities disguised as jobs. Job aggregators, such as Indeed, SimplyHired, and ZipRecruiter, can be good resources because they'll pull jobs from multiple areas into one site. But again, you'll need to stay informed about scams and other non-job work-at-home schemes. Finally, don't forget to try LinkedIn to find work at home.

    Follow directions for submitting your resume or application. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes in an effort to standout applicants send more or less than what the employer asks for. Failure to send what is asked only shows you don't know how to follow directions. Employers get more submissions than they need, and the fastest way to cull the pack is by immediately deleting those that don't submit what was asked. 

    Have a stellar resume that outlines your skills as they related to the job. Tailor your resume to the employer's needs to increase your chances of getting noticed. A resume is a sales document, so the more you can show you have the skills and experience the employer is asking for, the better your chances are to get an interview.

    Avoiding Work-At-Home Scams

    Scammers are clever and often will get their schemes on legitimate sites. For that reason, you need to do your due diligence to protect yourself from scams. Here are a few tips to help:

    • Legitimate jobs will never charge to hire you. Any job asking for money for anything other than a background check is not a job. It might not be a scam, but it's definitely not a job.
    • Keep abreast of the most common work-at-home scams so you can immediately weed them out from your search results. Assembly work, rebate processing, email processing, and envelope stuffing are all scams.
    • Be aware that scammers sometimes use traditional job titles to trick people. Typing and data entry jobs are often scams, so research them carefully.
    • Never apply to a job that asks you to use your own bank account to help it do business. These are fake check scams that can cost you thousands of dollars, loss of bank privileges, and possibly jail time.

    The more you know about work-at-home scams, the easier your job search will be. And if you think you've been scammed by a work-at-home opportunity, there are some things you can do to report it and hopefully get some recourse.