June 24, 2018

Jobseekers: Sign In | Sign Up Recruiters

Career Advice

Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Working From Home Requires Heightened Professionalism

Every so often, when I post a job lead on one of my work-from-home web sites or in my newsletter, I receive a response from a reader without a cover letter or resume. That frustrates me. Not because I’m offended. It’s because I know that until this person develops a professional attitude about working from home it’s likely he or she will never get hired.

Home-based employment has come a long way since envelope stuffing and craft assembly. Many companies are now starting out and staying online, which has led to a dramatic increase in the number and variety of home-based jobs. Real jobs, in fields such as accounting, teaching, researching, nursing, human resources and more. Jobs that may require some higher education at most, and hands on experience at the least.

With the present state of the economy and rate of unemployment it is more crucial than ever to effectively sell one’s self to a prospective employer. Employers will often invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to post their ‘Help Wanted’ ads to online job boards or in newspapers. They do so because they want to attract the right candidate: someone who will help their company make money. In other words, they want a return on their investment.

Therefore, why would anyone that is looking for work - home-based or otherwise - think that an employer won’t notice (or care) if they neglect to send a cover letter and resume?

Imagine, for just a moment, that you are an employer. You need someone skilled in data entry to put together and maintain a large mailing list. You pay a major online job board $1,000.00 to post a job advertisement for you. Your ad reads:

"Experienced data entry person needed to work from home. Please state your fee per 100 alpha-numeric records of 4 fields. Please reply to:"

You now wait anxiously for the responses to flow in.

E-Mail Response One:

“Dear Sir or Madame:

I am very interested in the data entry position. Although I do not have data entry experience, I am an excellent typist and a quick learner. My fee is negotiable.”

Point one:
Where in the ad did it read that training was available? To the contrary! It said, “Experienced data entry person needed”.

Point two:
You did not indicate that you wish to haggle over his or her fee. The ad stated that you want to know his or her fee upfront.
Result: E-mail get deleted.

E-mail Response Two:

“Dear Sir or Madame:

I’m very interested in the data entry position. Attached is my resume.”

Not very warm or personable, is this? Was it too much trouble for this applicant to write up a cover letter?

Even though this is a virtual position, you are still a human being receiving these e-mails. You need to be wooed by them just as much as any non-virtual employer.
Result: Move to folder ‘Responses Received’, but keep looking for someone better.

E-mail Response Three:

“Dear Sir or Madame:

I am responding to your data entry ad posted on I am very interested in applying for the position.

I’ve attached and pasted my resume for your review. As you will see, I have several years of data entry experience. I hope that you will find this experience helpful to you.

As you requested, I am stating my fee. My normal charge for 100 alpha-numeric records of four fields is $80.00. I have a proven accuracy rate and would be happy to provide references from several satisfied clients.”

Point one:
“I am responding to your data entry ad posted on” This tells the you that the money you spent for advertising on that job board is yielding results. That is very helpful information for you.

Point two:
“As you will see, I have several years of data entry experience.” This tells you before you even read the resume that you will probably be finding the qualifications you are looking for.

Point three:
“I’ve attached and pasted my resume...”
Very considerate on the part of this applicant. The ad did not state how the resume was to be sent, so this applicant makes sure that either option is available to you.

Point four:
“As you requested, I am stating my fee.”
That is exactly what you requested. Now you know upfront what this candidate expects.

With this cover letter and the resume, you now have all the information you asked for. You know you have a good candidate. Unless someone much better comes along, this last person will be hired.

It is quite possible that all three of the above candidates could actually do the job. However, since you are looking for someone immediately, for someone who is experienced, who doesn’t try to negotiate fees, or that requires training, E-mail Response Three is the winner. This is the e-mail with a personable, informative cover letter. This is the e-mail that told you, “Hey, pick me!”

© Pamela La Gioia

Top of Page