Standing Apart as a Home-Based Job Applicant
By: Melissa Brewer
A job with a home-based call center or
other virtual employer is an enviable position.
It's important to realize that a desire and
ability to work from home is NOT considered a
skill by potential employers. Home-based
employers are looking for good workers that fit
their company's ideals, values, and goals. Make
sure that your resume focuses on the
characteristics your potential employer is
looking for. When writing your resume and
interacting with your potential employer, keep the following traits in mind:
Home based workers need to be able to work independently.
Independence is important because when working at
home a person has nobody watching them and making
sure they are getting their work done.
Independence is more than working alone in an
office - it's about problem solving, the
ability to think on your feet, and the ability to
deal with an irate customer or confused prospect.
Most of your calls will be friendly, but the ones
that aren't are the ones that make or break a
company. After all, it takes a lot more effort to
find a new customer than keep a regular one.
You have excellent communication skills - make sure you use them.
As a virtual employee, you won't have the
luxury of face-to-face interaction. When
communicating with your potential employer, make
sure that you are professional in every manner.
Emails, online applications, and telephone
conversations should reflect your personality and
enthusiasm for the position you are applying
for. Your resume should also focus on these skills.
Problem-solving skills are a key ingredient of home-based work.
Home-based workers have to be able to think on
their feet and provide reasonable solutions or
answers to questions. You should be able to
improvise without going outside of company
policies. When applying for a job, ask yourself -
What are the customers' expectations? What issues
and opportunities will these calls focus on? What
specific backgrounds are necessary to speak with
these customers? When you write your resume and
have deal with any follow-up communications, keep
these questions in mind. If they aren't
addressed in the company's website, consider
asking the recruiter when they contact you for an interview.
Show your loyalty and commitment to the employer, not just the job.
Potential employers want to know that you are
familiar with what they do, and how they want to
do it. As a virtual worker, you will need to be
trusted with the company's image. This means
that you should agree with the goals and values
of the company and show that you have their
mission in mind. Homeshoring companies want their
recruits to act as true extensions of their
brand. Before applying for a job, take some time
to become familiar with the company and their
clients, so that you can properly understand the
image they want to project to their customers. It
will make all the difference if the question,
"Do you know what we do and who we work for?"
comes up in the interview. (Although it may not
be asked so bluntly) your recruiter is looking
for an eager, educated individual that took the
time to learn all they could to make sure that
they are a perfect match for the company.)
Show that you can meet deadlines, pay attention, and follow directions.
If the website says, "no phone calls," then
don't call. The same goes for emails. (If they
participate in online forums or there is an
ongoing thread online about the company, it is
linked to this eBook. Go to the forums to ask
questions.) It may be perfectly reasonable to
shoot off an email to the HR people. "I was
just wondering how long your backlog currently
is?" Just don't have hurt feelings if you get
no response. After the interview, they may ask
you to send them follow-up questions if you have
any. This is the perfect time to ask questions
about clients, pay rates, and other important job
factors. If you are assigned an online task, let
them know when you will be able to do it. They
may ask you to do it immediately, which means
that you'll need to set aside extra time for
the job interview. Be flexible and communicate
clearly if you have some sort of obligation
during the interview process that will prevent
you from completing something on time.
Be yourself. Show your personality.
If you are good with people and enjoy talking,
then go ahead and use those persuasive skills in
your interactions with the employer - just
don't be excessive when it comes to talk time.
If they ask you about your experience with their
company or within a certain industry, go ahead
and tell them. (For example, if you received a
generous bouquet of roses from 1-800-FLOWERS from
your boyfriend who proposed, and you accepted,
then let them know that's your experience.)
Also, of course, mention any specific experience
you have in the industry they serve.
Get familiar with essential work-at-home technology.
You should know how to work with a laptop,
printer, and fax machine, for starters. This
means that you should also be able to
troubleshoot when something goes wrong with your
equipment. If not, take a look through your user
manuals and learn what to do when things don't
work the right way. As a virtual worker, you
should also have knowledge of basic internet
security - such as virus protection, firewalls,
and spy removal software. You'll want to set it
up to automatically update when you are not at work.
© 2007 Melissa Brewer. All Rights Reserved.