With so many people currently unemployed, the chances of finding a traditional job to replace an old job seems to get slimmer and slimmer. If finding a 9-5 job seems impossible, consider working a virtual job. With massive layoffs, companies going out of business and the shrinking economy, virtual jobs seems to be a cost-effective solution.
What is a Virtual Job?
A Virtual job is a job that can be performed from anywhere, preferably at home. Some jobs are performed on a freelance basis, whereby the ‘employee’ is an independent contractor. Other virtual jobs involve a more traditional employer/employee relationship where the individual is actually hired by the employer. Either way, the job tasks are performed virtually, meaning there is no need to commute to the office.
There are all sorts of virtual job tasks but for the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss virtual jobs with tasks that require a computer and a telephone. Below is just a sample of some of the jobs available:
- Virtual Call Center: A call center whereby the company’s customer service representatives receive calls from customers in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues. The customer service reps are virtually located in their own home without the need to travel to the company site. The hours are flexible and the dress code is non existent.
- Speech Transcription: Although speech recognition software has made it easy for an individual to transcribe dictation, there are occasions where transcription services are necessary. Whether it’s an office meeting, a telephone call or an audio of a speech, virtually transcribing speech to text is a talent and task that is in much demand. Individuals who speak more than one language have a larger pool of transcription jobs to choose from.
- Virtual Assistants: Virtual office assistants perform administrative tasks such as typing, scheduling appointments, setting up meetings, following up on phone calls and more. The only difference between the traditional and virtual assistant is that one doesn’t have to commute to the office while the other does.
- Virtual Agents: On occasion, employers or large companies seek individuals with proven experience and knowledge in various areas such as real estate, health insurance, retail, travel and technology just to name a few. These virtual agents can put their years of experience to use and command a higher pay rate. Such a job is perfect for the displaced insurance agent or retail executive.
Equipment Necessary to Work a Virtual Job
The equipment requirements may vary depending on the type of job. One thing that most employers or companies require is an up to date fully functioning computer and high speed internet access. Anyone who attempts to secure a position in one of the above-listed fields with an old computer that’s running Windows 3.1, is setting herself up for failure.
Some companies require a dedicated phone line (not VOIP, but an old fashioned land line), while others request their agents to have a USB headset. The hardware requirements are set forth by the employer.
Necessary Skills for a Successful Virtual Employee
Just like in the brick and mortar world, there are required skills necessary to secure a job. It’s no different in the virtual world. Some of the skills necessary are:
- Organization skills: Organization is especially important for virtual office assistants. Juggling many tasks can become chaotic if the individual is not organized.
- Ability to articulate: Most virtual jobs require phone communication therefore making it important that one has the ability to speak clearly and concisely.
- Computer skills: At minimum, the individual should be able to navigate the Internet, quickly tab through several open windows, have knowledge of basic word processing software and have the open mind and ability to learn new software.
- Self-motivated: Individuals who work from home don’t have a boss standing over them telling them what to do. It’s up to the worker to make sure each task is completed and completed to the best of her ability.
- Pleasant speaking voice: What is considered a pleasant speaking voice is purely subjective. However, individuals who have been told over and over again that their speech pattern is difficult to understand or they speak too softly or too quickly should work on improving their speech pattern prior to applying for a virtual job.
Where to Find Virtual Jobs
Below is a listing of several companies that provide virtual services. Spend a little time on each website to see what they offer and if you meet the required skill set. If so, contact them to see if they are hiring. There’s nothing to lose and much to gain:
- Working Solutions
- The 24 Hour Secretary
- Work at Home Directory Listing: This site lists companies looking for at home workers.
There are many scam companies sprinkled around the internet that offer services that sound too good to be true. It’s up to the employee to perform due diligence and investigate each and every employer before signing up.
As a rule of thumb, do not pay a company to become an employee. Some companies advise that they charge a fee to perform a background check. It is this author’s opinion that a virtual job and a traditional job are the same in that they both perform background checks. Would you pay for a background check if you were applying for a brick and mortar job? The decision is yours.