This post is the next in a series of “How To” posts to help you find and keep legitimate work-at-home jobs. Unlike other sites, we’re not going to sell you an outdated employer list or an e-book about working at home. You’ll find no Satisfaction Guaranteed! links or pitches here. Just tried and true advice about working at home from two guys who are doing it.

The first post in this series was How To Read Work-at-Home Job Ads. I’m posting them backward, I guess, because this post is about how to find those ads to read in the first place.

Where To Look
If you’ve spent any time at all looking for work-at-home jobs, you know there’s a lot of junk out there. A necessary part of your success, therefore, is learning where to look so you can minimize the junk. is the first indispensable location. Steve combs job directories daily and posts around 10 new, pre-screened telecommuting jobs every weekday. No junk there. Community members also post job leads they find in the forums. Just click on “Message Board” at the top of the page and log in to see the other jobs. The ultimate online clearing house for stuff of every description, including jobs. And scams. Craigslist is a great source, but follow these tips to minimize the amount of junk you have to sift through:

  • Check industry-specific categories. In other words, click on the job category that best describes the type of job you’re looking for. This won’t eliminate the junk, but these categories generally have much less junk than the “Etc.” and “Part time” categories.
  • Look at today’s and yesterday’s listings only. Craigslist ads move so fast that they’re obsolete within 48 hours, at the most.
  • Did you see the city listings on the right? Check lists at cities other than yours. If it’s a genuine telecommuting job, the location won’t matter. Generally target much larger cities like San Fransisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. to name a few. These will have plenty of recent listings.
  • Be careful with the “Telecommute” check box when searching for jobs. In order for that to be useful, the employer listing the job has to know what it means. Unfortunately, many don’t, so they don’t check it even though it’s an option. I don’t have a good shortcut around this problem, so you might just have to spend some time reading ads. (However, if you read my How to Read Job Ads post, you will only have to read the headline or a couple of words to know if it’s a legitimate job.)
  • Finally, the biggest factor in your search is job specific keywords. Don’t use generic terms such as “work at home” or “virtual job” because, nine times out of ten, you’ll only return scams. User terms such as “writer” or “freelance” to attract physical jobs.

Your Current Job

If you have a job that you think is compatible with telecommuting, talk to your employer about starting a telecommuting arrangement. I work at home 2 days per week for my regular full-time job. It never hurts to ask.

Searching and Other Large Job Sites

My opinion is that these are a waste of time if you’re looking for legitimate telecommuting jobs. Yes, they can be found at these sites, but most people don’t have the time required to find them. Mind you, you’ll get TONS of hits if you search for “telecommute” or “work from home” or other variations, but a huge percentage of the hits will be junk ads.

What separates Craigslist apart from other large job listing websites is the community. The community provides a 24/7 free service of flagging inappropriate ads. This helps cut back on the spam listings, leaving mostly legitimate jobs.

Where are all the other sites?

So if you’re sitting there tut-tutting because I didn’t list your favorite site (you know who you are!), rest assured that I considered it. As you know, there are thousands of them, all claiming to list telecommuting jobs. And some do. But all of those I’ve tried have downsides; they’re tough to search, they’re cliquish, the ads aren’t screened, they make you compete with workers in Bangladesh who will design logos (or fill in your skill here) for $2 per day. If you’re going to struggle with those challenges, do it in a way that maximizes your chance of success by struggling with them at Craigslist. If you must put in a plug for your favorite job site, feel free to do so in the comments.

Be patient. I know that’s tough if you need a job right now, such as for wipes and stuff. But telecommuting is still in its infancy, in my opinion, and the market is only going to get better (provided the geniuses in Washington D.C. don’t manage to ruin it). There was a time when telecommuting required the company to set up an expensive home office for the worker, but the technology is finally catching up to the vision. I think lots more jobs will have telecommuting options, and new industries will spring up to profit from the ability to hire workers from anywhere.

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