One of the obvious benefits of working at home is that it doesn’t matter where your employing company is located. You have a worldwide market for your services.
Given that there are certain benefits to having international opportunities, why would you prefer to work for a local company?
There are several pluses to working locally even if you do the actual work from a desk right in your spare bedroom.
The first advantage is that it may be easier to land the job. You may already have personal connections with the hiring manager. Even if you don’t have an “in” right now, it may still be easier to set your sights on what you want and go after it.
The second advantage is that you may be more effective on the job. You have easier access to your supervisor and coworkers. You may be able to attend occasional staff meetings and trainings.
The third advantage is that you may be able to develop personal relationships with coworkers in your company. One downside to working out of your home is that it can be lonely. You can work in the same position for years without developing ties to others. If you are the type of person who relishes friendships, being local can facilitate meeting coworkers for lunch or happy hour.
The fourth advantage is that you have ready access to the company if you eventually decide to take a “regular” job, for instance, if your family responsibilities change. If your work-from-home experience has been successful, you can perhaps build upon it to land a supervisory or leadership role thanks to your inside track.
The first step . . .
The first thing to do is to decide what type of work-at-home job appeals to you and fits your talents.
You can’t write a resume (or complete a job application form) if you don’t know what you are looking for. It’s not the responsibility of HR to figure out from vague career objectives what you can do for them. If you can’t decide what you want, HR cannot figure it out either in the few seconds they typically devote to scanning each resume.
Start with online research. (Browse right here through www.theworkathomewoman.com to investigate the work offsite employees are doing.)
Then tailor your resume to match what you are seeking. Begin with a brief statement in bold at the top of the resume. It may be as simple as one or two job titles that are common to your work objectives, such as Customer Service Representative or Telephone Claims. Or it may be slightly less specific, such as Marketing Specialist or Sales Support. Prefer more specific titles over less targeted titles whenever possible. It is easier for hiring staff to broaden their consideration to something else they have open than for them to narrow in on what you want if you offer them no ideas.
Where to find local companies of interest to you
1. Drive around the area.
Jot down company names to research online at home. The easiest way to do this is for one person to drive and a second person to write. When you find a large office building or office park, go inside and write down companies from the lobby directory.
The next step is to do some research and decide how to approach the best companies. If you have a personal connection, talk with that person first. If not, do online research to identify the most likely hiring manager and contact them directly. It may even be advisable to contact HR—this is not usually considered the best way to get into a company, but it is far stronger than inaction.
Look through your list of contacts to see who you know that works at a candidate company. You’re not on LinkedIn? Now is as good a time as any to create your profile and start connecting with people. (Hiring managers regardless of their location are likely to look you up on LinkedIn before they interview you so be certain to polish your LinkedIn profile early in your job campaign.)
Get the word out on Facebook even though LinkedIn is typically more effective than Facebook in finding work. LinkedIn is for professional connections; Facebook is more about personal friendships. Still, if you are looking for local work, your local Facebook friends are excellent sources for work-at-home leads in your community.
4. The local chamber of commerce.
Their events are excellent for networking, and their websites list area companies, including contact information. Go beyond the C of C in your own community; multiple urban and suburban areas in your general vicinity typically have chambers.
5. Large local organizations.
Set your sights beyond the small associations in which you participate. Churches and other religious organizations, parent-teacher associations, volunteer groups, and political committees all expose you to people who may know of work-at-home hiring opportunities.
6. Electronic databases of companies.
Ask about this at your local library. Many provide free online access to such databases. (The database at my library is called AtoZ Databases.) You can often search by industry, industry code, number of employees, zip code, city, and other variables to find companies of interest to you. You’ll be surprised at how many relevant businesses that you have never heard of are close to home.
7. Local free newspapers and magazines.
They are available on racks at restaurants and professional buildings or they may even be delivered right to your driveway. Read the classified ads, of course, for leads, but also check out the display ads and the news stories to deduce opportunities from the info they provide.
8. Job clubs.
Many attendees are looking for a “regular job,” but they are as likely to know of work-at-home opportunities as anyone else. Plus you’ll pick up ideas on how the corporate hiring process continues to evolve and the best ways to get in the door.
There may be loads of attractive work-at-home opportunities right down the street from you. With a little effort, you can identify area companies of interest to you and even people who can help you get in the door.
You may feel a little timid at first, but as you start networking and applying for work, you will be more at ease. You will find that family, friends, and mere acquaintances will want to support you in your quest. Reach out to them and let them help you!