Careers & Education

Find a work at home position

By Amy Catlin
Info Guru,

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Man working on computer at home
Working at home can be a great way to reduce expenses while maintaining a good income
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You are traveling the web checking out your favorite job board when you see it: "part time data entry from home, $20 per hour, several positions available." Your heart soars.

You've been searching for the perfect position for weeks, months, or even years, and finally here it is in black and white, the position you have been dreaming of. You pull out that resume and update it with all of your great experience and then you wait. Nothing. You check back at the board where you found it and it has been deleted.

It turns out the employer was inundated with applications. Your heart sinks. Now it is back to the drawing board. Did you know that for every legitimate home based job there are hundreds, even thousands of applicants vying for that one position?

So how can you find a work at home position and get started on your telecommuting career?

Start With What You Know

If you are currently employed in an office setting, is it possible to take your current position home? Would your company allow you to work at home even a few days a week? Some advantages to this type of move are:
  • It allows you to try out working from home, while still keeping the benefits of your current position. Some people find that they miss the social aspects of the office, while others thrive on the freedom of leaving the office behind. Until you try, it's difficult to know how it will work for you.

  • You might be able to use your work laptop and other equipment in this situation. This can represent a huge savings, especially if you don't have good office equipment at home already.

  • You will be doing work you already know, saving you from trying to learn new procedures or products while you are also adapting to a new work environment.

Plan of Action: Be prepared when you decide to discuss this type of work situation with your boss. Keep in mind that most companies care about the bottom line. Create a report, state facts and figures supporting why this is a good move for the company (and not just for you).

In fact, you may wish to present it only in terms of benefits to the company. Mentioning savings on daycare costs for you might make them worry that you'll be tending your children instead of working. Talking about how eliminating your daily commute will allow you to be more focused on the job at hand is a better approach.

Who Do You Know

The advice and give-and-take on the popular working from home message boards is invaluable. But they are the only place you should be looking for telecommuting positions. By the time someone posts a link to a promising job, it has probably been out there on the Internet for a few days. Add to that the hundreds of other people who share your dream of working from home and within hours of posting, hundreds, if not thousands of other would-be telecommuters have applied for the position.

Don't lose heart - there are ways to improve your chances.
  • Make sure your skills are up to date and your resume is top notch.
  • Make a list of companies who could use the skills and experience you have. Are there ways in which they could realistically use those skills in a telecommuting position? If so, contact the person in charge of that department or division and offer your services.

  • Create a presentation packet highlighting your skills, with work samples, letters of reference and other materials that are relevant to the position you're seeking. Send this to your contact person in each company.

  • After you have applied for a position, wait a week or so and send a simple note stating that you applied a while ago and were just checking back to see if they needed any additional information. If you applied for a job that was advertised, send a note to the Human Resources Director as well. Be sure to include your resume again and any new skills you have acquired since you contacted them last.

People appreciate it when you take the time to recognize their position in the company. Even if you do not get the position at this time, you will have made a valuable contact who just might remember your name the next time they have an opening.

Updating Your Skills

In order to find a work at home job, you must impress those hiring with your skills. You may not have an in-person job interview where you wear your nicest suit and show up looking polished. Your image in this environment is completely based upon your skills. One way to improve your image is by constantly updating your skills. If your typing skills have become rusty over time, take a class or use online resources to improve your knowledge. You can even assess your skills online by taking online certification modules and typing tests. A couple of resources to try are and

Plan of Action: While you try and find a work at home position you might consider taking some work through a temp agency. Temp agencies are a great way to update your skills with new software programs. A solid up-to-date knowledge of commonly used office software programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel improve your chances of landing that work from home position you have been seeking.

Trying to find a work at home position can be frustrating and stressful. But it can also be a great chance to really look at your skills, your goals in life and your priorities. Take some time to think about the work life (and at-home life) you really want, then start your search. The right job is out there, waiting for you to come home to work!

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