For many professionals, work from home jobs are a key part of the new American Dream. Having the ability to forgo the commute, avoid unproductive office politics, and enjoy more location autonomy and closer proximity to family are just a few of the many benefits legit work from home jobs can provide.
I’ve been working from home as both an entrepreneur and employee for the better part of six years. At first, my transition to a work from home professional wasn’t exactly voluntary; it was essential.
My spouse had been injured during military service, and our lives were turned upside down. We lived out of hospitals for the better part of two years. My nonprofit employer fired me for requesting too much leave. Many of my consulting clients left me due to limited “face-to-face” availability.
Becoming a veteran caregiver had left me up a creek without a paddle, in the professional sense.
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) staff told me I should put my career aspirations “on hold” until things got better. Given that there’s no medical cure for my spouse’s multiple combat-related injuries, waiting around “until things got better” could take years, or even never happen, so I needed to find some sort of viable career option.
A former colleague of mine, who was also a veteran, asked if I would help with their startup – remotely. I took the project, completing hours and hours of billable work from a hospital waiting room. Being able to work again was beyond amazing. That first WFH job had me hooked – forget the traditional 9-to-5 – remote working opportunities were like a dream come true.
Over the past few years, I’ve shared snippets of work from home (WFH) life over on the blog, with my most recent WFH posts including 3 Things No One Tells You About Working from Home, How I Run a Business from the Beach, and 4 Tips for Creating a Healthy Home Office.
I always receive messages from The Motivated Millennial blog readers after any WFH blog is posted, asking “How do I land legit work from home jobs?” so, in true blogger fashion, I thought it was time to share my WFH job search secrets in a blog post.
How to Land Legit Work from Home Jobs:
Step 1: Find legit work from home jobs.
First order of business, when it comes to developing a remote career, is finding legit work from home jobs.
When I started my WFH journey, I was stuck using just my network (it wasn’t very big back then…I had yet to discover LinkedIn) and relying on sometimes-scammy postings on Craigslist (NOT recommended); however, today, there are a number of great flexible and remote job posting sites that only list quality WFH jobs from vetted employers. These job listing sites are a great place to start your WFH job search. Even if you’re not ready to take the WFH plunge just yet, reviewing available opportunities will give you a better idea of what legit work from home jobs are available in your industry.
Here are a few job site platforms listing legit work from home jobs:
- FlexJobs – Have used. Love. Great place to start your WFH search.
- Werk – Have used. Love, love, love. My favorite VC-backed startup from 2017.
- MadSkills – Have used. Great platform for military spouse job seekers.
- We Work Remotely – have not used, but heard good things.
- Higher Ed – Have used. Great for academia-related positions.
- Remote.co – Have not used, read good things.
- Working Nomads – Have not used, heard good things.
Step 2: Prepare for legit work from home jobs.
As you might imagine, working from home takes some strategy to maintain productivity and inspiration. It’s a great opportunity for those that can self-motivate, practice good time management skills, and have a robust non-work life. Even then, making the transition from traditional, in-office employee to WFH professional can take some time and a little continuing education.
Learning how to effectively collaborate with remote teams presented a big learning curve to me of my early WFH journey. I wasn’t super “techy”, I was unfamiliar with video conferencing and file sharing, and had relatively little experience managing projects from a distance. To better prepare myself for the requirements of legit work from home jobs, I spent some time learning how to use available digital products to improve remote collaboration.
At the time (wayyyyyyy back in 2012), this self-directed CE consisted of endless YouTube videos and the occasional Forbesarticle. Today, there are a number of instructional options for the aspiring WFH professional.
LinkedIn Learning (requires a Premium subscription) offers an always-updated course series on using digital tools for remote collaboration. Coursera and Alison also offer a few WFH-relevant online courses for free without the completion certification. Additionally, Udemy often offers a number of WFH prep courses for a small fee. Just be sure to check out the review before your purchase – Udemy courses can be hit or miss in regards to quality.
To help you better prepare for WFH jobs, here’s a rundown of a few must-have skills:
- Concise and encouraging communication skills (especially written)
- Familiarity with popular collaborative applications such as Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Trello.
- An effective strategy for conducting video conference meetings (via Skype, Zoom, etc.) – this one typically comes with practice.
- Comfort working with popular calendar apps and email platforms, primarily Google and Outlook.
Step 3: Land legit work from home jobs.
Now that you (hopefully) have found a few interesting WFH job listings, and have invested some time in honing your remote collaboration skills, you’re ready to do the fun (or nerve-wracking) task of landing a WFH job!
The interview process for WFH jobs may be a little different than your typical, location-bound office gig. Instead of requiring an in-person interview, many WFH hiring managers will conduct the interview process entirely virtually through a series of phone calls, email exchanges, and video conferencing. While the basics of job search and interview strategies still apply for WFH positions, there are a few unique areas of emphasis for WFH recruitment.
Here are a few tips for landing legit work from home jobs:
- WFH hiring managers may put more value of a portfolio than traditional recruiters, so best practice for the WFH job seeker is to have a work portfolio ready (and preferably, accessible online on a personal website, LinkedIn profile, or shared file).
- Most, if not all, of the WFH interview process will take place from your home, so be sure to have a designated work area free of clutter and boisterous pets (read my story of meeting canceled sans German Shepherd here) that you can use to conduct interviews.
- Communicate your experience (or continuing education investments) collaborating with remote teams, and be sure to highlight any platforms that you’re familiar with.
- While your WFH interviews may happen from the comfort of your home, it’s important to keep things professional. Dress appropriately (no pajama pants!), stick to a schedule, and find ways to help you check-out of homelife and check-in to work mode.