Monday, April 25, 2011

What about all the online jobs I keep hearing about?

The conventional wisdom is that networking – “who you know” – is more successful than applying for jobs posted in newspaper and internet classifieds. Over the past few years, though, this new conventional wisdom is itself being stood on its head as more and more people are not only finding high-quality jobs online, but performing them there as well, for employers they’ve never met face-to-face, and never will.

Online employment is easier for some than others.  For one thing, many jobs simply cannot be done online – anything which requires a worker to be in a particular place to get the job done, like manufacturing or security or transportation, for instance, just doesn’t translate easily to online employment.  Many kinds of work, though, can be done online, though, and this fact has generated a virtual explosion of opportunities, both legitimate and otherwise. All that’s needed to do an online job, really, is a familiarity with the computer and the software used, and a good work ethic.

What are the Pitfalls?

Just as with other types of employment, there are those who’ll take advantage of those seeking online employment. Some make offers of jobs for which the victims haven’t applied, while others are more elaborate and actually post “jobs” and then attempt to victimize the applicants.  Some provide the victims with bogus checks or money orders with instructions that invariably include sending the majority of the funds back to the employer, while others simply ask for the victims’ banking information to facilitate payment of “salary and bonuses.”

Another potential pitfall is the quality of one’s work ethic.  To put it simply, some people need to be in an environment where everyone else is working, in order to work well themselves.  Being at home, whether alone or with the kids, is too distracting for some.

Where Can I Find a Legitimate Online Job?

Legitimate online employment opportunities abound, but prudence is always required. These agencies, like odesk.com, guru.com and elance.com, vet employers before allowing them to post jobs.  Other opportunities, on bulletin boards like Craigslist, generally aren’t vetted and should be carefully checked before providing any information.

The majority of the online jobs offered through the agencies are computer-oriented, for such skillsets as web and software development, networking and information systems, design and multi-media, and so on.  There are also many other jobs, though, including such areas as data entry, technical and creative writing and a wide range of jobs in administrative support.  Applicants provide the agency with profiles which can be viewed by all employers or restricted only to those to which they’ve actually applied.

The main advantage of working with the agencies is that they vet the employers that post jobs, especially verifying that they have the funds available to pay those who apply. A disadvantage is that the employers are from around the world and some offer rates that many westerners would consider insulting. Patience is an important virtue when seeking online employment, but the odds are good that those who apply only to those jobs for which they’re qualified will ultimately find decent jobs.

- Dale

After a long career in Human Resources that included reviewing thousands of hard-copy and emailed resumes, Dale is currently a business consultant and writer in Metropolitan Atlanta.

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