I hate when magazines and websites (and scammers) offer a list of companies that offer telecommuting.
In my research for telecommuting jobs, I’ve encountered several sources that provide lists of companies that offer telecommuting as an option for their workers. I have to be truthful; when I see these lists I get hives.
Because two weeks later I get e-mails from dozens of would-be telecommuters that inundated said companies with resumes. The e-mails are full of complaints about how bogus the list was and questions on how people quoted in the articles even "got" their telecommuting jobs.
I'm not knocking the information provided in these wonderful articles, some of these lists are well researched and pretty accurate; many companies do provide employees with the option to telecommute. But the problem is this: do these listed companies have any job openings right now?
When I search for work-at-home opportunities, I’m more inclined to look for “job openings,” not just companies that are known to offer telecommuting, and there’s a valid reason for this.
Before I state my reasons, let me illustrate them. Let’s just say that there is a company called R&M Inc. R&M Inc. have an excellent benefits package and pays one-half of child-care costs for its employees. Pretty great huh? It’s widely known throughout the community that they pay $12.00 an hour, on average, to entry-level workers. Now, let’s suppose I have two small children in day-care. Cool place to work, right?
One of my caring family members suggest that I apply for a job at R & M Inc. After all, the company pays well and with two children, I could definitely use their child-care benefits.
Sounds logical. However, what my family and friends don’t realize is that R & M Inc. is a manufacturing company. Therefore positions available are strictly assembly jobs. Now, what if my skill and experience lends toward office work? What if I’m accustomed to a salary of $16 an hour opposed to the offered $12 an hour R&M Inc provides?
You’re starting to see the light, this is a bad match. Let’s examine the situation further. R & M Inc. has a one-way commute time of 45 minutes from my home -- not good, especially for a mother of two small children. They have no administrative jobs open and they usually don’t because employees in those jobs stick with them – it’s a really great company! To top it off, the fine print on R&M Inc.’s benefit policy says that employees do not receive child-care reimbursement until two years of full-time employ or 6 months of employ in a management position.
If I had listened to my friends and family without examining the opportunity myself, I would have changed my profession. I’d also have had commuted almost an hour and a half round-trip every day and be forced to wait two years (when one of my children begins kindergarten) to get a cut in child-care costs. Instead of chasing a “benefit," I should look for positions that fit my experience and skill. Within the many open positions I find, I should then look for a particular “benefit” that suits me . . . like child-care reimbursement . . . or telecommuting.
So you see, when applying to companies on a telecommuting list, you must first determine if the company has a position that you can fill. If you send your resume to the company without first finding this out, your resume will end up in the circular file (the trash can).
Also, what many wanna-be telecommuters don't understand is that many companies only offer this option to veteran employees (employees that have been employed by the company over three years) or special employees like managers or executives. Many companies will not even entertain telecommuting for those in the clerical staff or entry-level positions.
Do you see the dead ends in this avenue? That is why I am more inclined to search for actual job openings that state that the employer is open to work-at-home options. When I send my resume to these positions, I can rest assured that the employer is considering my resume, there is an open position, and that it will allow me to telecommute.
Because if you really think about it, companies are not looking for telecommuters. Companies are looking for competent employees that can do the job with very little training and make them a profit. No employer ever says, “Gosh, I have this open position and I don’t want to see another employee, I think I’ll hire a telecommuter.” It just doesn’t work like that!
So, now you understand why I prefer a good, old-fashioned job announcement with a title, duty descriptions and a request for a resume.
Lists of companies are only the beginning of your job search. Once you have the list, you will have to contact each company, visit their website, and examine all their job vacancies. When you finally find the one job that you can fill, that also states it is telecommutable (hey I made up my own word, I should trademark it!) – then your search has ended.
Or perhaps, it’s all just beginning!
Original copyright 1999, Revised 2007 (c) Telecommuting Millionaire/R. Mays
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