Searching for an Online Job: Tips from a Beginner

I’m ecstatic that I made progress with my online career. I’ve been posting about it frequently these past days and friends have already been asking about it. Melo and I have so much appreciation of the Internet and technology today that’s been making work with people from all over the world possible without the need to travel, being far from one’s family, or wasting time and energy on the commute. It got me looking back on the steps I took before I got my first online job. I thought it would be nice to share my personal experience and insights to help those interested to try it out.

It began with the question we all ask, “how do we make more money?” We knew the opportunities are now online. We want to start a business, but we haven’t figured out what exactly we’re supposed to do. Being frequent customers of Lazada especially since I moved to the province and after I gave birth, we thought we could also start our own online store. In fact, we already had it set up, and the Lazada account manager has been bugging me for weeks to move forward. However, there was one challenge, our location is not serviced by Lazada courier. They are able to deliver products here, but they cannot do pickup for sellers. It’s either we move our warehouse address to serviceable areas or we rent a space at the Lazada warehouse. In a nutshell, we hit a wall even before we started. Right now, the project was put on hold.

REJECTIONS COME FIRST

We were supposed to fly to Manila in July in time for our birthday, but weren’t able to because we don’t have enough funds. This is one of the reasons that compelled me to look for a job. Around the first week of July, I researched on Google, “work from home jobs”, “online jobs philippines”, and other similar keywords. I signed up on clickworker.com, typingworkforus.in, appen.com, upwork.com. I also updated my profile on jobstreet.com.ph and applied for online jobs. All the .coms I mentioned didn’t make any progress. I don’t think clickworker and typingworkforus are legit. For Appen, maybe it just didn’t work for me. Upwork, they say is legit. It looks legit. For me, it’s just hard to get a job there especially because the site has this credits system. And I just had 2 credits left, with no job offers, not even an interview or chat with an employer. It is sort of limiting, because you can’t apply to as much jobs as you can while there are also fewer job opportunities, in my opinion. I checked my Freelancer.com account, too, and it’s kind of the same thing. With Jobstreet, at least I was able to make it to the exam stage for 2-3 job openings. It still gave me a confidence boost. Oh, don’t be disheartened by rejections. Can’t actually expect to land a job on the first try, right? It’s part of the process, and more reason to keep pushing. Getting in the interview or exam stages and being rejected afterwards is way better than not receiving any response at all. The rejections also made me think that maybe it’s God’s way of telling me that it is not yet the job for me. Something better was coming.

USE A BLOG AS YOUR DIGITAL RESUME AND PORTFOLIO

I continued researching online for job openings and tips from those with far more experience. At first, I thought about how some blog posts make it look so easy. Start a vlog they said. Start a course they said. Nonetheless, thanks to these blog posts, I decided to start my own blog. It was already mid-July. I’m usually not a risk-taker but creating momseaph.com was actually a risk for me. I purchased the domain and paid for a subscription on WordPress. It’s not a small amount knowing that we’re already low on funds and the returns of this blog will come much later and there’s no guarantee. Just got me to think that I have to be more disciplined in posting here because I already spent on it. The two (2) immediate benefits of momseaph.com were, (a) I was able to exercise my writing again, and (b) I was able to use this as a portfolio or sample work in my job applications. I actually got the idea from another blogger who said having a blog gives more chances of getting hired. I would suggest the same thing. I think this is applicable not only to those looking for writing jobs. Open a blog. It doesn’t have to be your own domain. It could be a free wordpress account. It can be 1-3 pages only just to showcase your professional experience, skills, and sample works. If you can add an introductory video, it would be great too because some employers ask for one. If you have one already prepared then you just link it up. Think of it as the modern day resume.

ONLINEJOBS.PH, THE JOBSTREET FOR ONLINE WORK OPPORTUNITIES

Days are passing by and I was still unemployed. I kept busy with my blog because it’s still an investment I made, which I’m hoping will eventually earn through advertisements. I continued searching for online jobs too. I tried looking on Facebook and joined groups. There are a lot but I think these two are the most helpful for me: (a) Online Filipino Freelancers and (b) Filipino Freelancer Online Home Based Job (Upwork, Elance, oDesk etc). You will need to request to be a member before you get access to the page. There are a lot of helpful information from job openings, to personal experiences, to tips. It’s actually from one of these groups that I learned about Online Jobs PH. It’s overall user experience is fantastic. For me its level of credibility as a job site is the same as Jobstreet. It’s very easy to use and understand. The website functions are helpful to both the job seekers and employers. It’s important to complete your profile and Online Jobs PH made sure to guide job seekers in accomplishing this. I created my profile on August 3 and immediately started applying for jobs. The following day I got a response from an employer. I made it up to the second test but I wasn’t hired because the task was really able to help determine whether I was fit for the job, and I understood it, too. Again, another rejection but found this helpful so I was able to filter the jobs I applied for. On the site, you can send up to maximum 10 applications per day. And there was a day that I actually use up all that allocation. I submitted around 30 applications in 7 days, till I got hired on August 10. Afterwards, I continued submitting applications, this time for part time jobs. I noticed that the chances for getting responses and getting hired increased. The employers can see if you’ve already been hired via Online Jobs PH in the past and they’re also informed when you get hired by another employer. The latter happened to me just recently. I got hired for a part time job, and my other employer was informed.

While the employers are being thorough in their search, make sure to do the same. There still can be some postings that can’t be trusted or look sketchy. I did try applying to some of them, got a response but figured something’s off, and confirmed either through searching for reviews online or I simply trusted my instinct. There’s perfect–job.com and livingston-research.com to name a few. Rule of thumb, if it’s too good to be true then don’t trust it. Walk away.  

SPEAK AND WORK LIKE A BUSINESS OWNER

The beauty of the online employment I think is that it got rid of the HIRErarchy, where the employer is more in a position of power. I think of it as like having your own business and you’re talking to potential clients to offer your services. I always write a fresh cover letter. I tried different tones depending on the role I’m applying for or my impression of what kind of employer I’m pitching to. Imagine speaking to different kinds of clients, some may be friendly and casual while some may want to be more formal. Point is you have to be the right amount of confident, friendly, and helpful. Sometimes I start my cover letter with “Let me help you”, other times I just use the standard “I am interested to apply for the role”. Then I give a short description of my relevant experience and links to my resume and blog. And I end with saying “I hope to get a chance to work with”or “I look forward to working with you”. I read in another blog that it’s also good to sound like you’ve already earned the job, but not sounding overconfident. I think honesty also helps. It adds to your credibility. It shows that you are a mature, experienced professional. Everyone wants to work with someone like that. This will also give you a peace of mind. When I was applying for the part time job, I told the employers I talked to that I have another employer I’m currently working with and that I hope it’s not an issue for them. So far, the employers I’m in touch with are understanding and supportive. They know that the beauty of working online is you have that flexibility to earn more money.

This is it for now. It’s a long post and there’s more to discuss. I will do my best to write related posts in the future as I progress in this industry. I invite people to comment below or message me if you have questions or suggestions. I would love to help others who want to start a career online or collaborate with those who have more experience than I currently have. Exciting times ahead!

Online is where the new business districts for stay-at-home parents can be

Once upon a time I dreamt of climbing the corporate ladder, but like in the multiple endings books, the pages I turned led me to a different story. I saw a LinkedIn notification about a college batchmate who got promoted to a higher position in a big advertising agency, the industry I once belonged. It has a nice ring to it, and I thought to myself: (1) we’re growing old and becoming experienced, it felt strange but we’re actually now in the stage of being the boss; (2) I felt envious, or am I?

A glass of beer to cap a productive day

I used to think one day I’d become a top executive, buy a condominium unit in Manila and a house in Tagaytay where I can spend the weekends and go home to anytime I’m stressed or I feel like it. I’d be very busy, calling shots in the office, respected and influential. I’ll end my days relaxing and drinking with friends. Then repeat. I will also have time to travel to places for leisure and work. Maybe this is what I’ve become in an alternate universe.

This was how my Monday went. I woke up, combed my hair, brushed my teeth. I went out the room to turn on my laptop, because I’m rushing to finish a presentation which was a test for an online job I’m applying for. I wanted to get a head start before Tala wakes up. Melo had to do some errands. I just asked him to come back home immediately so he can play with Tala while I work. We squeezed in brunch when Tala woke up. Some quick interruptions here and there. I was able to finish in more or less five hours. We found out that Melo’s parents are flying back early the next day. It was a spontaneous decision. We’d spend the night in Tacloban, so Melo doesn’t have to drive for three hours so early in the morning the following day.

Simple joys, dinner at Shakey’s

I thought to myself as we drove to Tacloban, I could be a director too, but that would mean long hours of work in an office. I might even bring some more work at home. I’d have to commute everyday. I can’t just go to another province spontaneously at 4pm in the afternoon. I’d have more money to spend. I don’t have that now, but I have time.

I, then, felt an appreciation of technology. It has afforded us to work anywhere, anytime. The job postings I look at right now are from all over the world. Good thing there are websites like UpWork and onlinejobs.ph. Jobstreet now also have home-based job postings. I don’t have to leave the comforts of our house to go there for an exam or interview. I haven’t been hired, but I think this is where the world has been heading now, virtual business districts where opportunities are endless. There will be no fancy corporate attire or corner office or nights out with colleagues. However, there’s the opportunity of not only getting hired but also to hire. From becoming virtual assistants or freelancers to CEO or Founder of your own company. To top it all, I get to spend time with my daughter and husband, and be as spontaneous as how we did when we went to Tacloban.

What we want is the wealth of time. I even told Melo that we have to do everything we can to make sure that we also get to spend time with our next kids as much as we did with Tala. Having a stable income is crucial to achieve it. Right now we are not able to visit our family and friends in Manila as much as we want to because we don’t have enough funds. This is the reason I’ve been trying to establish myself online the past couple of weeks. This is the reason we’re asking ourselves what businesses we can start and sustain.

It may not be for everyone, but I think I like and I am excited about where this story is going.