One of the most common messages I receive – by email, Facebook and Twitter – is “I want to work from home. How can I do this?” I have to be honest, sometimes messages like this frustrate me to no end.
Please don’t misunderstand – the mission of Muslimahs Working at Home is to provide women with real, legitimate work-at-home options. I want nothing more than to help, but I need much more to work with than “I want to work from home. How do I do this?” When this is the only information that I’m given, I can’t offer useful guidance or advice. What do I mean by this?
#1 Make Sure the Message You Send Me is Clear
The thing I find most frustrating about receiving a message like this is that the request is vague. It’s not clear what aspect of the job hunting process you need help with. I understand that you’re looking for a work-at-home job; but if that’s all you tell me, all I can do in return is refer you to the Work-at-Home Company Directory where you can search for work-at-home jobs on your own. Some people are satisfied with getting the link. However, some return asking for more help. I’ve come to realize that in most cases these individuals have no idea of what type of job to pursue. I truly want to help, but to do so I need you to provide as much information as possible when you contact me.
#2 Do You Have Marketable Skills?
One thing I’ve learned over the past four years as a certified career services professional is EVERYONE has skills, but what I mean by ‘marketable skills’ are the skills that employers consider as valuable. When you’re looking for a job in a competitive job market – particularly the ultra-competitive work-at-home job market – you need to do some self-evaluation to identify your marketable skills.
This is not an easy task for some – especially if you’ve spent any significant time unemployed. If you find yourself stuck in this step, I recommend going to a few job boards and reading job listings that interest you. Look at the requirements for the jobs and see whether or not your abilities match. If so, you may have identified a marketable skill.
#3 Figure Out What You Want and Like Doing
Sometimes people email me not only asking how to work at home; they also want me to tell them what type of work-at-home job to do. Assuming we’ve never met and that I don’t know what you like to do, or what your previous work experience is, I’m in no position to offer that type of advice. You have to figure out what type of job you want based on your skills and interests.
If you’re truly at a loss, I again recommend the job board exercise. Spend some time searching through job boards to determine what interests you and pay close attention to jobs that match your skill set. You’ll have much better success when you narrow down the focus of your job search.
#4 Do Your Skills Match the Requirements for the Job?
Back in the day (10+ years ago), when you were looking for a job, you sent your resume to lots of companies. Then you sat back and waited for calls inviting you to interview. It didn’t even matter if you met all of the requirements for the job; it was a numbers game of sending out as many resumes as possible (or filling out as many applications as possible) to see how many offers came back. This was a bad job search strategy then and it’s still a bad one today.
Today’s job market is very competitive. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs when you don’t meet the minimum requirements (e.g. jobs requiring a college/advanced degree when you don’t have one, jobs requiring specific training/certifications). Focus your efforts on jobs of interest requiring skills that match your skill set.
#5 Get Your Resume and Cover Letter Ready
Some companies that hire for work-at-home jobs only require you to complete an online job application; however, the more highly skilled, well-paying employers will expect to receive an updated, professional resume and cover letter. Your resume and cover letter should be written to focus on the job you’re pursuing. There are resume and cover letter writing tips available online to help you develop your documents.
We regularly update the Work-at-Home Company Directory, but click here to access additional work-at-home job boards to get you started.
Insha’allah, this information will help guide you in your job search.