This is a guest post from Katrina McKinnon. Katrina is the founder of Small Revolution, which started as a knowledge base for online store owners and has now expanded into offering training for virtual assistants and copywriters. Through Small Revolution, you will learn the skills in a fun and practical way.
What would you say to a part-time position that pays you thousands of dollars working only a few hours a day? From the comfort of your home?
Probably a resounding YES.
That’s an offer millions of job seekers can’t refuse.
Unfortunately, most of these sweet-sounding work-from-home opportunities leave most applicants gnashing their teeth.
The internet is rife with instances of people falling for online job scams. Some report having their identities stolen after applying for dubious online jobs.
Despite such setbacks, the work from home movement is growing by the day. Millions of people are ditching the daily commute to a 9-5 job. They are looking for jobs that will allow them to work from the comfort of their living rooms.
If you’re keen on harnessing the benefits of working from home, don’t let the fear of getting scammed hold you back.
You only need to ramp up your ability to sift through rabble and identify legitimate online jobs.
Once you can tell between genuine and dubious online jobs, you’re nearly there. You’re halfway through building a successful remote career. The other half entails having the right skills for the job.
Interestingly, distinguishing legit online jobs from dubious ones isn’t a herculean task.
Features of a Legitimate Online Job
- Genuine online job listings provide a professional email address. Scammers use free generic email addresses such as Gmail and Yahoo.
- The job listing has a professional flair. The ad is specific and gives a vivid description of the role’s duties and requirements.
- They don’t request personal information. Trustworthy companies won’t ask for sensitive information. Never disclose your banking details and social security number before signing a contract.
- They don’t dangle huge salaries. Be leery of entry-level jobs with ridiculously high salaries. A job listing for data entry clerks with no prior experience for $40/hour is a scam.
- They don’t need an upfront payment. The logic is simple – the company pays you to work for them, not the other way around. Anyone asking for payment under the guise of training, equipment, or software is out to scam you.
- They have an actual interviewing process. Honest companies arrange a face to face or a phone interview. A Skype interview will do if you’re in different geographical regions.
- They don’t make an upfront payment. No recruiting company will cut you a check before you’ve done any work for them. Never accept a job that involves depositing a check into your account, no matter what.
- They don’t just pop up in your inbox. Legitimate companies and professional recruiters won’t spam your inbox. They won’t send you unsolicited job offers. If you receive a job invite for a position that you never applied for, that’s likely a phishing expedition.
Keep this checklist handy and run each opportunity that comes your way against it. Ignore any job listing that doesn’t tick all the boxes and your search is off to a running start.
Where to Find Legitimate Online Jobs
Huge corporations such as Apple, Pfizer, and Walt Disney are onboard with telecommuting.
That means joining a remote workforce doesn’t limit your career option to low cadre jobs. You can assume any role in a company that embraces telecommuting. From top managers to data clerks and anything in between, these jobs are fair game.
Most legitimate businesses hire credible recruiters to fill any open positions. Others opt to post them on their official websites and professional job boards.
Job boards are search engines that collate job openings from various companies. Employers list and often accept job applications through these job boards.
Typically, the recruiting company pays a small fee to advertise vacant positions on these platforms. The job boards also grant advertisers access to the resumes in their databases.
General job boards carry vacancies spread across various sectors while others are industry-specific.
In contrast, specialized job boards carry job opportunities from a specific industry. TalentZoo, for instance, is a leading site for marketing and advertising jobs. Career Bank and eFinancialCareers post finance and banking jobs. Variety Careers covers radio, television, and production jobs.
How to Apply for a Legitimate Online Job
Before Applying for the Job
Limit your applications to the jobs matching your skill set for a better chance of success. If your skills aren’t up to scratch, enroll for a relevant course and build them up. Take these steps whenever an interesting job opportunity crosses your path.
- Vet the hiring company. Google the recruiter’s or the hiring company’s contact information to see what comes up. The information on the ad should match the details on the site.
- Scrutinize their domain name. Ensure there’s an exact domain match. The domains jobsfromhome.com, jobfromhome.com, and jobsfromhome.net could mean three different companies. Scammers play around with domain names to dupe unsuspecting applicants.
- Look up the address. Run it through Google and Google Maps to see what crops up. Does it show a business premise, an empty field, or a pizza shop?
- Check social media presence. Does the company have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter? Are they active? Be wary of companies with no social media presence.
- Scrutinize the email address. Legitimate companies use email addresses linked to their brand names. If the email provided is a Gmail, Yahoo, or any other free email provider, that job is likely a scam.
- Vet the provided phone number. Look up the phone number before calling to express your interest. If on mobile, use the True Caller app to reverse search the name. Run if there’s a mismatch in the names.
- Scrutinize the job advert. How’s it written? Does the language come off as professional? If the copy is riddled with grammatical errors and typos, that’s a scam.
- Analyze the job description. Does it offer insights into the role and list the responsibilities? A vague job description, especially for a bare bone position, is indicative of a scam.
- Check the salary range. Compare the salary offered against sites such as PayScale and Monster. Ditch the advert if the offer is too good to be true because it is.
- What are the job requirements? Absurd requirements such as a valid passport are a dead giveaway. So are jobs that need no prior experience but offer extraordinarily high wages.
After Sending Your Application
If any of the following scenarios play out after sending in your application, the job is a scam:
- You’re invited to interview over an online messaging app such as Hangouts or Facebook. The recruiter is hiding something – often their identity.
- You’re offered a position immediately without a formal interview. And they need you to start right away. Chances are you’ll get the job but good luck getting paid.
- You’re asked to fill out a form with personal information such as SSN and bank account details. This puts you at risk of identity theft.
- You’re asked to make an upfront payment, for whichever compelling reason. The recruiter is out to defraud you.
- You’re invited to bank a check. This is part of a money-laundering scam and you might run afoul of the law.
- You’re told that your interviewing skills were poor. But the recruiting company offers to help you polish them, at a fee. This is a ploy to sell their service.
Full-time VS Freelance Job: Which One Suits Your Needs?
Full-time Remote Jobs
Remote workers with full-time jobs have the best of both worlds. They enjoy the financial stability and security of a full-time job. That allows them to work without being confined to a cubicle.
You’re entitled to the same perks as an office worker. That includes a fixed salary and benefits such as paid leave, 401K, and medical insurance.
Terms of engagement vary between companies. Some need workers to be available during office hours. Others only need you to fill your assigned hours.
Full-time remote workers don’t spend time chasing after contracts, clients, or payment. They only need to discharge their duties to get paid.
Freelancers are independent contractors working with a full roster of clients. It’s like running a sole-proprietorship since you’re in charge of every aspect of the business. The only difference is that you don’t have a physical location.
From pitching new clients to completing the work to chasing payment, it all falls on you.
You can take on as many clients as you can handle and can afford to be picky with the choice of clients and projects.
One of the less glamorous aspects of being a freelancer is that your income isn’t assured. In most cases, it varies from month to month.
In the beginning, you must be hypervigilant when scouring for new clients. You must chase every invoice to make ends meet.
Eventually, you can build a roster of repeat clients. Or you can land lucrative long-term projects that last for months or years.
Building a diverse client list provides you with a financial safety net. It shields you from financial strife when clients are hard to come by.
Live the Life of Your Dreams
Now you know the trappings of a legitimate online job and how to avoid scammy adverts. It’s time to supercharge your hunt for a rewarding remote job.
Remember, scammers prey on people who are not vigilant when applying for online jobs. Or, those who have trouble getting hired due to a lack of skills and expertise.
Put this information to good use and you can see through the dubious job adverts and weed them out during your job hunt. Scammy job adverts appeal to job seekers because they offer hefty rewards for little to no effort. If you’re drawn to these types of adverts, chances are that you’re lacking in the skills department.
Take the time to identify, learn, and polish the skills and knowledge necessary for the job you desire. That increases your chance of snagging that job and getting that pay packet that you desire.