Transitioning Your Skills to a Work From Home Job

You’re focused and self-disciplined.  Chores and soap operas won’t distract you from getting your work done.  You don’t mind a bit of solitude because you make sure you spend plenty of time with friends, coworkers and family during your downtime.  And you at home office is ready to go.  But do you really have what it takes to work from home?

Not all jobs can be done from a home office.  My current part-time position is as a medical laboratory scientist in a hospital.  My job requires that I be on site to deal with the laboratory specimens and run the medical tests on the expensive, enormous analyzers in the hospital lab.  I cannot do this job from home.  I can’t bring any of my work home with me.  That’s actually something I like a lot about this job.  When I walk out the door, I am done until my next shift.

But the skills related to this job could be transitioned into a work from home position.  I could work for the companies that manufacture the analyzers I currently work with.  They often employ former lab scientists to service the analyzers.  These service reps work from home and travel when necessary to sites to perform maintenance or install a new analyzer.  With a young child, I’m not interested in this much travel right now.  Maybe in the future.

Another option would be to work as a medical writer.  Government regulations require that licensed professionals, like medical lab scientist, complete a number of continuing education (CE) hours each year.  CE writers sometimes work from home.

So you see, just because I can’t do my current job from home, it doesn’t mean the knowledge and skills I acquired during years of schooling and on the job experience can’t be transitioned into a work from home position.

The best way to figure out if your skills will transition well into a work from home position is to browse the work from home help wanted ads.  I like  Search from “Work from Home” or “Telecommute” with a location of “Remote” or leave the location blank.  In the resulting job openings, look for jobs with titles similar to your current job or in the same field.  Compare the job requirements to your schooling, experience and skills.  This will give you a good idea if your skills can transition well.

So what if none of your current skills will transition to a work at home position?  Consider getting more education or training.  Look at the various work from home openings to find an area that interest you.  Consider your time frame.  Are you willing to go back to school for two, four or more years to land in a career you can work from home in?  Maybe you’re tired of the field your in and ready for a new challenge.  If you decide to go this route, make sure you carefully research your new chosen field to ensure the job will be work at home friendly.  If your timeframe is less than years, consider taking a few classes to enhance your current skills instead of moving into a different field.

Now is a good time to brush off your resume and update it.  Look at some sample resumes in your field and at job ads (on site and work from home) to see what skills might enhance your resume for employers.  Tailor your skills and your resume to what employers are looking for.  If you just dive in and start dive-bombing every employer out there with a telecommute job with your resume, you’ll just waste your time and theirs.

Finally, make sure you like the work you plan on doing.  Finding a work at home job is like searching for an onsite job.  You may be satisfied with any job as long as you can work from home, but chances are good that if you wouldn’t enjoy the job on site, you won’t enjoy doing it from home.

All right, by now you should know if you have the right traits and skills necessary for a work from home job.  If you haven’t already, take time to make a list of jobs you’re qualified for and would enjoy doing from home.  This will save you lots of time once you start looking for that work from home job.

Oh, crap, hold on just a second!  I skipped a really important step in all this and it’s the easiest way to get a work from home job.  Darn, I’m out of time.  Guess you’ll just have to swing by for my next blog entry to find out “The Easiest Way to Find a Work From Home Job”.


H. Lounsbury


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