These days there are more reasons than ever to seek an online job. In fact, the ever widening range of positions that can be done online speaks to the fact that the world is changing and that employees of all kinds can get the entirely office working online. From customer service to medical care, there are online jobs available.
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Unfortunately, there are also scams out there. Whether intended to rope you into a multi-level marketing scheme or steal your personal information, these scams are sophisticated but have a few hallmarks that can help you identify them.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the best ways to find an online job while keeping yourself safe.
1. Update your resume
After some soul searching about what you really want to achieve in your career, rewrite your resume to support that goal. If you want to do online work, it helps if you can demonstrate that you’ve already been successful in meeting expectations without much oversight.
A good way to build up some online experience is freelancing through websites like Upwork or Fiverr. You will be able to create a profile that showcases your skills and set your price for jobs. These platforms also take the stress out of billing your clients and receiving payments from them by acting as an intermediary. Though you pay a percentage of your earnings to the platform, it is generally reasonable for the service they provide.
It’s also just fine to go it alone in terms of finding your clients and booking jobs, but remember that you’ll spend more of your time marketing yourself and billing for jobs. Either way, building up your online experience in a low-commitment way is important to show potential employers that you’re a self-motivated employee who can be trusted to deliver.
2. Search smart
Most job searches start online, but if you simply Google “online jobs” you will end up with a lot of garbage to wade through. Instead, search for online jobs within your industry. Whether that is copywriting, coding, or virtual nursing, be sure to include the keywords that would apply for any job in that field.
Filters can be very helpful in narrowing down search results to only those that are relevant to you. But it also helps to look in a place where more online jobs are listed. Flexjobs, for example, is a website that vets flexible job postings to make sure they’re legit before sharing them. This takes a lot of the stress out of determining whether a position is worth your time to pursue.
You may also want to loosen up your search terms to include words like “flexible” and “remote.” These may also mean that the job is primarily online.
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3. Be aware of scams
Scammers are highly practiced at making themselves look legitimate and have no qualms about taking advantage of people who are looking for work. As more and more business shifts online, the way things get done is changing, too. Scammers take advantage of the uncharted territory to hook job seekers into schemes that may involve wire fraud or identity theft.
We have come to trust digital communication as an integral part of business, but it also makes it easier for bad actors to successfully mislead people. We recommend that you always meet your potential employer face-to-face. While geography can make it challenging to meet in person, it’s a major red flag if the employer refuses to video chat or even speak to you on the phone.
Sometimes scammers request money up front for training or materials. Another common scam is to request that you deposit a check they send you into your personal account and forward some of the money on via Western Union. That check is a fake and no legitimate company will do this.
Always research the company you’re applying to – if there is no website or online presence, that’s a warning sign. Other things to look out for include a lack of contact information in the company’s communications to you, poor grammar throughout, and an offer that seems too good to be true.
4. Network like crazy
Too many job seekers skip this step, probably because it takes a lot of effort. Sending out hundreds of resumes is already exhausting, and making the effort to build a bunch of new relationships at the same time may feel impossible. If you’re unemployed, the stress of that also takes a toll and may make you worry about seeming desperate.
But in the end, who you know makes a huge difference in your success with a job search. It’s worthwhile to tell all of your current contacts that you are looking for a particular type of job, because you never know who might have a lead for you.
Networking puts you above the competition as you might hear of new online jobs that aren’t even posted yet. Perhaps a major company is still thinking about whether to convert some jobs to online positions – wouldn’t you like the chance to make your case for that?
Networking, in person and online, also helps you establish yourself as an expert in your field and allows your potential employer to verify your legitimacy. Just as you shouldn’t trust a company without an online presence, neither should a company trust a potential employee who can’t back up their experience with proof.
A job search can take a long time, especially if you are committed to having an online position. The good news is that there are more opportunities available every day as the way we do business shifts in response to changing global conditions. If you can demonstrate that you are comfortable in the online realm, self-motivated, and an open communicator, you’ll be ahead of the game. Good luck!
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