A stay-at-home mom approached me on Facebook today. She saw my blog post and my profile on a virtual assistant (VA) network here in the Philippines. She told me that she wanted to try her hand at becoming a VA but didn’t know where to start. She used to work in an office but became a stay-at-home mom for 5 years to her kids. But now that the kids are going to school, she wants to start working again to help with the expenses but still have time to take care of her kids.
I think this is a very important question. There’s a lot of information out there about online jobs and VA jobs but not a lot of information on how to get these jobs.
And what makes this process more difficult for work-at-home moms is that most of them feel they don’t have the experience to do these jobs, especially if they left the workforce for a long period of time.
What You Need To Get Started
First and foremost, you need your own computer and a reliable internet connection.
Working from an internet cafe is possible but it can be inconvenient and costly in the long run.
Like any other job, the first thing you in order to apply for an online job is an updated resume.
If you don’t have a resume yet, you can easily make one from templates available in Microsoft Word. And once you’ve created a resume, make sure you update it every time you attend training and acquire new skills.
And be wary if you come across jobs that claim that they don’t need your resume. There are plenty of online job scams out there and any jobs that seem to easy or too good to be true usually have a catch.
Where To Start Looking
There are 2 way most VAs use to find clients: through VA groups or through online jobs sites. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.
The great thing about joining a VA group is the support you get a from a network of people who share the same profession. People in VA groups usually share with one another what jobs are available, what clients to avoid, as well as training and resources available for their members.
To get a job from these groups, you have to watch out for their job posts. These posts would usually contain information about that job and details on how to apply or who to contact in order to apply.
However, this is no guarantee that these groups are completely free of scams (no system is completely scam-free), there are no regular updates on job posts, and you could face a lot of competition from applicants.
The great thing about online job sites like Onlinejobs.ph, ODdesk and Elance is that they usually have a screening system that protects job seekers from scam jobs. They also have large databases of jobs that are updated regularly,this means you’ll have a large database of jobs to choose from and you don’t have to wait for group job posts to see what’s available. And if your profile and resume is impressive enough, some employers would contact you themselves.
To get a job from these sites, you have to register for a job seeker account. Often, they would require you to create a profile, upload your resume, your photo, provide your contact information and links to your portfolio (if you have one) and fill in information about your job experience and skills.
The problem some job seekers have with online job sites though is that the often require applicants to take tests to determine eligibility. And if the job offer is really good, you could face a lot of competition from other applicants.
How Moms Can Stand Out From The Competition
Like I said earlier, most stay-at-home moms don’t feel confident enough to apply for VA jobs because they feel they don’t have enough work experience. What they don’t realize is they do have the experience, a lot of it.
Never underestimate the skills and work ethic you have acquired as mom.
Most stay at home moms I know are great at time management. Moms who manage the household finances have enough accounting skills to rival most bookkeepers. Moms who volunteer and join school activities have organizational and administrative skills. And there are a lot of stay at home mom who have small businesses on the side, giving them real-life entrepreneurship training most people pay for to have.
Most of the skills moms acquire are self taught. These are things you should out on your resume, things that you should be proud of, because these are things that will help you get a job and be great at it.