Having pursued a promotion two months before my maternity leave, getting myself on the waiting list for on-site daycare and interviewing nannies as a back-up plan, I had every intention of returning to work full time after the birth of my first baby. Never once in my life did I imagine being a ‘stay at home’ mom – never even a consideration. As many of you Mamas have experienced yourselves, all things changed the month before I was to return to work. I found the “perfect” nanny who taught ballet to toddlers on Sundays, was taking child development classes in the evenings, her dad was a doctor and my husband’s co-worker recommended her. I wanted to hire her on the spot but my husband told me to sleep on it. Barely two hours later we were watching TV, when I just burst into uncontrollable tears over the fact that I couldn’t leave my daughter!
Instead of returning full time, I worked out a great situation in which I did my job from home, 20-30 hours a week. With the flexibility, I could work during naptimes, after bedtime and even get caught up on weekends if we had a particularly busy week. It was win-win all around and a situation employers are realizing is today’s new reality. With this economy, all families can use the extra money and moms (and dads) get to use the non-Twinkle Twinkle Little Star side of the brain. But just how do you get started?
Breezy Mama Danica told us about a great resource created by a college pal of hers, Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of Flexjobs.com– a website with the “best of the best”, hand-screened, legitimate job opportunities. Finding a “real” job, part-time from home without having worked for the company previously sounded too good to be true to me, but Sara answered Breezy Mama’s questions on how her site can find you a telecommuting position.
On your site, there are several telecommuting positions. What types of companies are listing jobs?
We currently have about 2000 job listings on the site. The jobs are at large and small companies across a broad range of industries from call centers to e-commerce companies to media companies. Jobs may be temporary, ongoing, full-time, or part-time. We categorize the jobs into 50+ categories to help people search the listings efficiently.
Are these temp to perm jobs or can ‘stay at home’ parents really find work they can do at home?
There is a lot of variety in the jobs that are listed and the situations they offer. Most of the jobs are entirely work from home, although many jobs are work from home but also would like you to be local to the company for occasional meetings. The common thread is that every single job on our site involves some level of telecommuting.
What career level positions are offered?
Entry-level to highly skilled.
What fields/ area of expertise?
We categorize telecommuting jobs into 50+ categories. To give you an idea of some of the jobs you might find on the site: Online Advertising Sales Representative, Online Instructor, Customer Service Representative, Web Developer, Engineer, Nurse, Software Sales Executive, Translator, and Virtual Admin. Some jobs we find even surprise us! I wrote a post on our blog last month about Unexpected Work from Home Jobs that we’ve seen recently.
Any particular field that has more positions available than others?
The listings tend to be extremely varied and it changes. For example, with the arrival of the back to school season, we noticed a rise in teaching, tutoring, and education jobs.
Have you seen a drop off in companies willing to hire telecommuters in this current economy?
No. Between the need to reduce costs, green considerations, and emergency preparedness concerns – we’re seeing a lot of companies exploring and offering telecommuting options.
Does it save a company money to hire part time employees?
The savings for a company that uses telecommuters is significant – they save on expenses like rent, utilities, and commuter reimbursement programs. As an example, I’ve read that Bank of America’s telecommuting program saves the company approximately $5,500 per year in real estate costs for each employee who telecommutes.
How did you decide to start FlexJobs?
When I was pregnant with my first son I began looking for more flexible work opportunities for myself. I was surprised and frustrated to discover how difficult it was to separate out legitimate professional work from home jobs from all the scams and less than legitimate business opportunities. So I decided to start FlexJobs to help people like myself (women, parents, people looking for better work-life balance…) find real and flexible jobs and to avoid becoming the victim of scams.
Why use Flexjobs for $14.95 a month versus keeping an eye on Craigslist or Monster since both are free?
We made the difficult decision to charge job-seekers (instead of offering the service to jobseekers for free) because we wanted job-seekers to be our #1 priority. Many sites will list a job for anyone who pays to post a job listing – making it very hard to sort out the real jobs from the scams. It’s in the best interest of our job-seekers that we are not dependent on paying employers. If a scammer (posing as an employer) wants to post a job on our site we don’t let them – even if they offer to pay. We don’t post any job listings unless we know the company name, in order to research the company and verify their legitimacy. In addition, we decided not to run ads on the site because ads – especially in the work at home niche – can be deceptive. We didn’t want to have a revenue stream that would depend on our job-seeker users clicking on questionable, confusing, or scam ads.
Do users get their money back if they don’t find a job?
FlexJobs isn’t a job placement agency. So, no, we don’t guarantee users find a job… it’s up to the users to apply to jobs they’re qualified for and interested in, and to do so with good cover letters and resumes. Having said that, we do offer a money back refund if a user is not satisfied with our service.
We research and hand-screen job listings from around the web and posts them in one easy, safe, and efficient website. The telecommuting/work at home field is filled with scams (some estimates are that only 1 job listing is legitimate out of every 57 that you find online!). The service our users are paying for is that we sift through the junk so that they don’t have to. Using FlexJobs saves our users time and greatly reduces their risk of being scammed online.
Why would someone subscribe for a year? Can it take that long to find a job?
Many of the people who sign up for a year are people who are freelancers or contractors, who tend to be looking for new opportunities on an ongoing basis. However, other job-seekers also sign up for a year because in this job market, it unfortunately can take longer than a couple of months, especially if you’re not on top of your job search.
Can anyone join or do you screen potential members as well as employers?
All jobseekers are welcome! Employers are screened to ensure that they are representing legitimate companies.
Do most employers require telecommuters to have a computer or will they provide one? What about equipment such as a fax machine, etc.?
It varies… although in general it’s typical for an employer to have a telecommuter use their own computer, phone, high-speed internet, printer, etc. It will depend on the job, and particularly whether it’s a full-time salaried position – in which the employer is more likely to provide a computer – or if it’s a part-time, freelance, or contract job.
For parents that prefer to work outside of the home, does your site have part time jobs? Full time?
FlexJobs specializes in telecommuting jobs of all shapes and sizes, part-time to full-time. All jobs have at least some level of telecommuting, but quite a few have a local, on-site components as well. For example, telecommute 2 days a week, in the office 2 days a week.
Do the part-time jobs on your site include benefits?
It depends on the company offering the job. In general, it can be a challenge to find any part-time job that offers benefits like health insurance and retirement benefits, and that is similar with telecommuting jobs.
Are salaries competitive and comparable to working outside of the home?
Pay is generally similar for telecommuting jobs compared to an on-site job. If the pay is higher for a telecommuting job than you could make doing a similar job on-site — be wary. That can likely be a sign of a scam.
Should parents have their updated resume before getting started on your site? Any other suggestions before getting started?
Yes, update your resume and have it proofread. Getting a telecommuting job (well, any job, nowadays) can be a very competitive process – don’t have ANY errors in your resume. You’ll need to proofread your resume carefully. Then have someone else proofread it. Absolutely no errors, seriously.
Can parents search your job listings to see if they think they will find what they are looking for before joining?
Yes! Anyone can go to the site and review every job title along with a brief description of the job.
Do you have a favorite success story?
I always love hearing when someone gets a job based on a lead they got from FlexJobs! My favorite might be an email I received from someone who was hired the same day for a job she found listed on FlexJobs. It was the first job she had applied to through our site. She was just the right fit for the position.
Anything else you’d like to say to encourage parents looking to start making extra income without leaving the house?
1) Be informed and cautious – many scammers prey on parents who want to work from home. A good place for information about telecommuting and working from home is the FlexJobs Community site.
2) If you only read one article on our site, please make it this one: How To Avoid Work at Home Scams: 5 Precautions to Take.
3) Be patient. As with any job search in this economy, it can take time.
4) Good luck!
Breezy Exclusive! Are you ready to get a flexible job working from home? Sara has offered a special discount for Breezy Mamas! Visit http://www.flexjobs.com and use promo code SAVE30 to get 30% off any subscription! Click here!
In her almost 15 years in high-tech (including as co-founder of entry-level job service JobDirect which was sold to Korn|Ferry International), Sara knew that good flextime and telecommuting positions did exist. So instead of giving up, she thought about it and realized that there was an opportunity amidst her frustration. Empowered by her passion for the idea and her previous experience in the job services industry, Sara decided to create what she had been looking for – a clean, professional, well-designed job site dedicated to providing only the best, most legitimate telecommuting and freelance jobs. And of course, she started it from home!
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