We have all come to accept the internet as a part of our everyday life. It is an extension of the real world and a communication tool in much the same way as a telephone or fax. The difference lies in the versatility of the internet – no other communication tool has ever been able to match the internet to date. We bank online. Shop online. And keep in touch with friends online. Similarly we can work online, be it in our own business or in a job.
Are there legitimate online jobs?
Yes, there are legitimate online jobs available. Real full-time jobs with reputable companies across the globe. Working online in this manner is known as telecommuting. Some companies allow its employees to work from home via the internet on certain days. Other companies allow employees to work online full time and never come into the office. In fact there are companies that recruit employees solely to work online. However, these jobs are few and far between and reserved for only the most skilled people.
The problem arises with all the online work from home job ads. Most, if not all, are a scam. Companies that recruit employees for remote work do not advertise these job openings. They recruit or headhunt the most skilled people in the industry. Even full-time medical transcription, article writing and web designing jobs are no longer advertised. The demand for these jobs are so great that most employers use recruitment agencies to find the right people for the position.
How to get an online job?
It is essentially a case of “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. If you want to be noticed in the industry then you will have to probably start as a freelancer and get your name out there. This means working for very low paying jobs through platforms like Freelancer, ODesk and Elance. A strong LinkedIn profile and networking with the right people in the industry is equally important. But the reality is that only a few lucky individuals will ever get well-paying full-time online jobs in their area of expertise.
You may be better off starting your own online business or consultancy as a freelancer/contractor and building it up over time then sitting and waiting for a full time online job. You can make money online but be cautious about opportunities advertised on the internet. After the 2008 global economic meltdown, the concept of job security is a myth. Every worker is at risk of losing their job at any time. In South Africa, restructuring and business closures results in scores of retrenchments. It is no different on the internet.
Dangers of online job offers
Beware of websites or emails offering legitimate online jobs. Most will want an upfront fee or require that you buy an ebook or membership in order to be in the running for a job. But these are just empty promises. Sometimes these scams go further and will attempt to defraud you of large sums of money, or criminals may arrange face-to-face meetings with more nefarious ideas in mind. The general rule for just about everything in life should apply – “if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is”.
Remember that legitimate online jobs require a unique skill set and are usually offered to employees who are already know to the employer and trusted. When online jobs are being advertised to the general public, then it should set off alarm bells. Do not get fooled by online jobs supposedly from big name companies. Many fraudsters duplicate legitimate corporate websites or set up professional websites to fool their victims.
To avoid falling victim to these scams, remember that if you are not employable in the real world and your skills are not in high demand then it is unlikely that you will find a decent paying full-time online job. Freelancing is not the same as full-time employment. It is very competitive and these days jobs are few and far between. However, freelancing is a good starting point if you eventually hope to find a full time online job. Just don’t quit your day job in the belief that you will land an online job anytime soon.