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More and more people are choosing the freedom that comes with working from the comfort of their homes.

In fact, according to a 2019 State of Remote Work report, some employees would happily take a pay cut in order to work from home.

There are many reasons workers prefer to work from home: better work-life balance, increased productivity, less stress, and to avoid the daily commute.

But many people who desire to work from home experience challenges finding suitable jobs. Are you one of them?

If you have been sending application after application for work-at-home jobs, without hearing back from employers, you’re probably getting quite frustrated.

Here are four of the most common reasons why employers looking for work-at-home workers might be bypassing your application.

If you realize that any of these reasons might be what is holding you back, don’t worry. You’re not doomed. We have also included some tips on how you can turn the situation around to have better luck with your next application. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

1. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

Many people still think that work-at-home jobs are not “real work”.

To such people, working from home is just “sit in front of a laptop for a couple of hours every day, press buttons, and watch the money roll in!”

They don’t consider that, just like any other jobs, online jobs require proper training, experience and commitment.

If you’re looking through various forums and job boards for “easy jobs”, it might be time to adjust your expectations.

Here are some helpful tips for you:

Look at the Qualifications

Some work-at-home job seekers apply for all the jobs they come across, never mind if they qualify or not, using the same old generic resume.

Yes, casting a wide net can work in your favor. But you will have better luck if you spent the time looking for jobs you’re actually qualified for and tweaking your resume to suit them.

Don’t Be Too Picky

In the quest to find the most suitable job, avoid becoming too picky.

Are you skipping jobs you like because they don’t seem to be a perfect fit? Then you might be denying yourself the chance to find a great work-at-home job.

Look at the employer’s requirements as their “wish list” for the position. They’re probably willing to compromise if you meet their core requirements.

You will also have to compromise on some elements to find a reliable work-at-home job.

Get Proper Training

One of the top reasons why employers trash applications, is when applicants lack the skills required.

To improve your luck, you should always make an effort to acquire marketable skills.

As a remote worker, one of the smartest moves you can make is to improve your skills and acquire new ones every day through e-learning.

Small Revolution has carefully assembled courses especially suited to those looking for virtual assistant and copywriter positions. The courses have easy-to-follow lessons, real-world examples, quizzes and assignments.

2. You Don’t Tailor Your Resume

On average, a job opening posted online attracts as many as 250 applications.

This means that employers have their hands full when it comes to screening all those applications.

To make the screening process a little easier, many employers applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pick out the most suitable applications.

Simply put, ATS are scanners that pick out the resumes that have used the acceptable number of keywords and conform to the required style.

If your resume makes it past the scanners, it still has to impress the human hiring manager in the next phase of screening.

If you use the same generic resume to apply to all jobs, it’s highly likely that your application doesn’t even make it past the initial screening stages.

Here are some tips on tailoring your resume:

Include Keywords

To beat the keyword scanners, always make sure that your resume contains as many of the employers’ keywords and phrases as possible.

To find out which keywords and phrases to use, go through the job description and requirements carefully.

In addition, take time to read and understand the employer’s mission and core values.

Here is an example of keywords in a job description:

Software technical writer job highlights
Image from squawkfox

Tweak your current resume to reflect as many as of these keywords and phrases as you can without lying or sounding fake.

Use a Simple Format

Unique, creative, and innovative resumes might catch the attention of a hiring manager.

However, if your resume is too creative or unique, it might not make it past the ATS machines. Unlike human eyes, these machines require conformity and simplicity.

To make sure that your resume will not get trashed by these bots, make sure you follow a simple format. Include the usual sections such as Resume Qualifications, Professional Experience, Education, Skills and so on.

Additionally, it’s advisable to stick to familiar fonts like Courier, Arial, and New Times Roman when writing your resume and cover letter.

Focus on the Top Third of Your Resume

Austin Belcak Resume
Image from cultivatedculture

Research has found that recruiters spend as little as six seconds scanning a resume. You have to impress in these six seconds!

To make matters worse, many of these recruiters might be viewing resumes using a smartphone or tablet. This means they will only be taking a quick glance at the top third of your resume before deciding whether it’s worth more of their time.

As a job seeker, you should make sure that you include your most compelling accomplishments in the top third of your resume.

Pretend that you’re recruiting for a work-at-home position that you desire and take a quick look at what’s in the top third of your resume?

Would you be hooked? Does it sell you as the best candidate for the job?

Rearrange and tweak your resume to make sure the content in the top third is the most compelling.

3. You Have Worrying Gaps in Your Employment History

Huge gaps in your work history can be a red flag for many employers.

When your resume has too many worrying gaps, employers tend to think that you’re hiding something.

Employers might also be concerned with how you compare against other candidates who have more seamless work histories. They might assume that some of your skills have become rusty and you’ve lost touch with important professional networks.

You might be able to explain the gaps in your work history during an interview. However, many employers won’t even give you the chance – they’ll just add your resume to the “No” pile.

Here’s how to handle gaps in your work history:

Include All Relevant Experience

Are the gaps in your work history due to bouts of unemployment?

What did you do during these periods of unemployment? If you volunteered, tried out a business, took extra classes, or consulted on a special project, don’t forget to include this as part of your career history.

This shows a potential employer that even if you were technically unemployed, you were still busy and productive.

Stay Up-To-Date

Recruiters often assume that if you have a huge gap in your work history, you might have lost your skills or became disconnected with the professional networks.

Regardless of whether the gaps in your resume were from a voluntary break or not, you should always make efforts to remain competitive in your field.

Take online classes, attend conferences and industry events, and volunteer or take internships. This will give you something to fill in the gaps and show a hiring manager that you weren’t idle.

Remain Positive

Taking a break from employment, whether voluntarily or not, is nothing to be ashamed about.

If you have negative feelings about the gaps in your work history, this will probably be reflected right back at you by hiring managers.

Present these gaps in the most positive light. Share some of the lessons you learned from the break which will make you a great hire.

4. Your Social Media Profiles Did You In

Many recruiters, especially those hiring remote workers, search an applicant’s name online to see if they can find more information on them. In fact, a survey found that 70% of employers snoop on candidates’ social media profiles.

The survey found that up to 57% of employers will reject a candidate based on their social media activity.

5 things recruiters look for on social media
Image from: europelanguagejobs

With this in mind, here are some tips regarding your use of social media:

Set to Private: If you post highly personal information on your social media, it might be best to set your accounts to “private.”

Delete Anything Risque: Go through your social media accounts and delete any risque photos or commentaries (such as drunken photos or controversial political opinions).

Update LinkedIn: One of the first places a potential employer will check is LinkedIn. As this is primarily a professional networking site, make sure you maximize on its potential to work in your favor. Update your resume, use a professional profile image, publish relevant content, and connect with people in your field.

Bonus Tip: Stay on Top of the “Work at Home” World

The tips above will make finding a work-at-home job a lot easier for you.

Make time to research on which companies hire work-at-home workers in your field, search online job boards for attractive positions, and send your well-crafted applications.

You are on your way to landing that work-at-home gig of your dreams!

Photo by Freepik / CC BY


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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