We all have our reasons for wanting to telecommute. Some are more personal, for example, wanting to be home with children. Others are more professional, for example, being able to focus better from a quiet home office rather than the hub bub of an open workplace. Regardless of your preference, sometimes wanting to work from home can cloud one’s judgement when it comes to finding a telecommute job.
A common mistake many career-minded telecommuters make when looking for work, is that they’re approaching the job search from a “Work at Home!!!!!!” angle rather than a “How will this job help me to fulfill my career goals” mindset. The idea of the telecommute should never take away from one’s skill set, desired salary, professionalism, reputation, or plans for the future.
If you’re serious about your career but prefer a telecommute option, it’s best not to approach the job hunt with idea that you’ll do anything as long as you can do it from home. Because when that happens you set yourself up for low paying jobs or positions that are way beneath you.
If you’re looking for a job where you can telecommute, and you come across one of the words or phrases listed below, make sure to understand the context in which they are used. Many times they’re used to prey on people who are desperate to work from home and can be scams or low paying opportunities.
1. “Work from Home!”
“Work from Home” is an attractive phrase, isn’t it? It conjures up images of a short, pajama-clad commute from coffee pot to home office. While we can get into the myth behind the work at home stereotype another time, it’s important to know “work from home!” isn’t always used in a positive way. Do you know who uses this phrase?
- Survey companies who offer to pay you $1 for 15 minutes of time, only for you to find out 12 minutes through that you’re not qualified to take the survey (even though you gave them most of their answers).
- People who want to hire $2 article writers.
- Envelope stuffers.
- Those looking to hire folks for less than minimum wage to be virtual assistants, telemarketers, writers, or designers.
Mind you, “work from home!” isn’t always a negative term. There are plenty of decent, well paying brands who use it to hire smart, career-minded people. Just be sure to proceed with caution when you see this phrase. It could be something awesome, but many times it’s not.
2. “Perfect for Moms” (Or Students, Retirees, etc)
When an ad says something is “perfect for moms” what’s it’s really saying is “I don’t want to pay you so I’m going to appeal to your ‘momminess’ to sell you an opportunity to make very little money and convince you it’s the best way to be home with your kids.” Jobs should be perfect for the best candidate, not a lifestyle or situation. If you see an ad that is “perfect” for a situation, read it through and ask yourself why they’re only appealing to that one particular group.
3. “Legit” or “Legitimate”
It’s a sad world we’re living in when we have to wonder if a job is real. Here’s the thing, though, real jobs? Good jobs? The kind of jobs career-minded people are looking for? They’ll never use the words “legit” or “legitimate” in their ads. Always ask yourself, why is this business or person taking such lengths to prove it’s a real opportunity? Now, I’m not saying people who say they’re “legit” aren’t. I’m only recommending you research jobs like these thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.
4. “Intern” or “Internship”
When is an internship not an internship? When the person doing the work gets very little out of it beyond doing free labor. While most internships are a terrific way for college students to learn about a business and land a job after college, they also have to get something beyond experience. For example, interns should receive payment or a stipend of some sort or college credits. If you’re picking up someone’s laundry or answering their email and all you’re getting in return is “experience,” it’s time to move on. “Paying dues” doesn’t mean “work for free.” An internship has to be something where you gain solid professional experience and certain compensation. Say no to picking up dry cleaning or churning out articles for free.
5. Anything Abusing Exclamation Points
If you see a telecommute opportunity with excessive exclamation points, don’t alert the punctuation police – just move on. Don’t even bother asking yourself why this company is working so hard to get your attention. Anyone this desperate for workers isn’t doing something right. You don’t want to find out what it is.
If it looks too good to be true…
None of the above is indication that a job is a scam. However, if you are interested in a career where you will grow as a professional, rise through the ranks, and make a name for yourself, many of the above phrases won’t be used in job ad descriptions. If you do see them, read the ad thoroughly and think about why they’re being used. Would a job listing for a V.P of Finance use twelve exclamation points in the title? Would someone who is looking for a Marketing Director really say “This is a legit opportunity?”
Don’t allow your desire to telecommute gloss over shadiness or something that is beneath your experience level or pay scale. There’s a difference between wanting to earn a little extra money and wanting a career. How the job presents itself should tell you all you need to know.
Which phrases used in job ads bother you the most?