Telecommuting: Finding Legitimate Work at Home Jobs

How to Get a Legitimate Telecommuting Job

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Many people want to work from home, but aren't interested in freelancing or starting a business. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to get hired in a home-base job. More and more people are employed from home as teachers, writers, bookkeepers, customer service agents, virtual support staff, nurses, and many more types of jobs. Many companies you probably recognize such as Amazon, Aetna, Humana, American Express, Capital One, Hilton, and more hire home-based employees.

The problem in getting a work-at-home jobs is two-fold:

1) There are many scammers who'll try to fool you into thinking there are jobs in licking envelops or gluing doo-dads, and other money-stealing schemes.

2) Getting hired to a work-at-home job isn't necessarily easy. 

Pros of Telecommuting

There are some great perks to telecommuting including:

  • Set wage or salary
  • Avoid commuting
  • Sometimes there are perks such as benefits or free equipment
  • Sometimes you can have a flexible schedule
  • Unless you're in sales, there's no need to hustle for clients or customers.

Cons of Telecommuting

There are downsides to work-at-home jobs including:

  • Pay is often less than if you freelanced or ran your own home business
  • Competition is fierce, making getting hired a challenge. 
  • It can six to twelve months or longer to find and get hired to a work-at-home job
  • Work-at-home jobs aren't anymore secure than traditional jobs, which means you can be let go at any time.
  • May work-at-home jobs don't offer flexibility, which means you have to work a set schedule and within the set parameters of the employer. 

How to Get a Legitimate Work-At-Home Job

There are several ways to get a work-at-home jobs. 

1) Ask your boss to let you telecommute.If you're a valued worker and have a job that is conducive to working from home, write a work-at-home proposal that outlines your benefits to the company, how working at home can help the company (i.e. save money or boost productivity), and present it to your boss or manager.


2) Search for work-at-home in your industry. Maybe your boss won't let you work at home, but another company in your same industry might. You can contact similar companies directly and inquire about telecommuting options along with sending your resume, or you can search for jobs in your industry.

3) Search for jobs on in job-related resources. Don't use Google to search for telecommuting jobs. Instead, visit legitimate job search websites such as CareerBuilder, and and use telecommuting keywords ("work at home," telecommute, remote, etc) to find the jobs that allow you to work at home. Note that these keywords will bring up listings that also say "no telecommute," and on occasion business opportunities and scammers sneak their listings onto job sites.

4) Follow directions for submitting your resume or application. If you can't turn in what the employer asks for, your submission will not be considered. 

5) Have a stellar resume that outlines your skills as they related to the job. Tailor your resume to the employer's needs to increase your chances of getting noticed.

Avoiding Work-At-Home Scams

Scammers are clever and often will get their schemes on legitimate sites.

For that reason, you need to do your due diligence to protect yourself from scams. Here's a few tips to help:

1) Legitimate jobs will never charge to hire you. Any job asking for money for anything other than a background check is NOT a job. I might not be a scam, but it's definitely not a job.

2) Assembly work, rebate processing, email processing, and envelop stuffing are all scams.

3) Typing and data entry jobs are often scams so research them carefully.

4) Never apply to a job that asks you to use your own bank account to help it do business. These are fake check scams that can cost you thousands of dollars, loss of bank privileges, and possibly jail time.

The more you know about work-at-home scams, the easier your job search will be.

Searching for Work from Home Jobs

Basically, if you're going to search online for legitimate work from home, it's like any job search you'd do even for local office work. There's not much difference except that you really need to be on your toes and look for tell-tale signs that a job might be less than legitimate.

Your job search sources are the same - you can search on CareerBuilder or Monster, or for tech jobs on

You can also look through employment sites, like Robert Half, Net Temps, Kforce and others.

The real difference is in narrowing down your search to find telecommuting opportunities. So that means you'll be including search terms to specifically help you find legitimate work at home. Because different companies refer to telecommuting and working from home with different terms, it pays to be aware of some variations and work them into your search. For example:

  • Telecommute
  • Work from Home and Work at Home
  • Telecommute
  • Remote
  • Offsite
  • Virtual

In my years of experience filtering the legitimate jobs from the scammers, I've found telecommute and telecommuting to lead to the highest percentage of legitimate postings. Telework is also good, and is prominently used by Aetna Insurance and by the U.S. federal government. It seems like, for the most part, all federal job postings (or at least a vast majority of them) are now required to say that telecommuting is possible.

Whether it happens or not may be a different story, and if you apply for such a position you'll want clarification of the chances that you'll actually be allowed to work at home at some point.

Unfortunately, using work from home and work at home yields the fewest legitimate telecommuting opportunities.

Those two terms are very popular with scammers, so you need to be extra careful if you use them in search.

Job Search Aggregator Sites

Another practice you're likely to bump into when you're searching for legitimate work at home are the aggregator sites, which seem to crop up daily. If you see a job listing from one of these sites (you'll get to recognize them) try to go to the source site instead. For example, there are loads of sites that list legitimate work from home jobs from companies like United Health Care who aren't authorized to post the job. In order to apply, you may have to sign up, give up your contact information including your email address, and in some cases - worse yet - pay a membership in order to apply. That's a sucker's bet for sure. If you see a job posted with the name of the company, do a search for the company and use the job title in the search and you may be able to go direct to the employer's site and bypass the party who is trying to get your contact information or get you to pay for a membership.

In many cases you'll see the aggregator listings along with the legitimate search result from the company itself. Whenever it's available, always go direct to the hiring company or its authorized placement website.

For more information in this area, see:

Steering Clear of Work from Home Job Scams

In the vast majority of cases, legitimate work at home jobs shouldn't require that you pay anything for the privilege of telecommuting from home. There are a few legitimate exceptions where you may need to pay a membership fee to belong to an independent network of work at home professionals or you may have to pay a small amount for training or equipment that enables you to do your work from home according to the specific employer's telecommuting standards.

As always, tread carefully and do your homework on any company you're considering. Good luck, and here's hoping your legitimate work a home job dreams come true!

One final note.

If you do get raked into a scam, you'll want to read, What to Do If You're a Victim of Work at Home Scam. In no event do you want them to get away with it, as they will only continue to scam others who are trying to find legitimate work from home.