It is no secret that the traditional “9 to 5” model is changing for both employees and employers. Thanks to the Internet, people nowadays don’t have to drive to work every morning—they can do it online. In fact, according to a 2016 Gallup survey of 15,000 employed adults in the U.S., 43 percent of them said they spent at least some time working an online job. That’s a 4 percent increase from 2012. More than 55 million Americans are freelancing today.
In addition, 48 percent of companies have shifted from a traditional workforce to a more flexible environment to achieve their goals. For some companies, skills they need to accomplish certain projects are not available in-house, so they have to outsource them to remote workers or freelancers. A survey found that 34 percent of companies use freelancers.
What is an Online Job?
In general, an online job is a position, either full-time or part-time, usually entirely online. Some people with online jobs work for a company, while others are self-employed. Almost all communication is done via email, though an occasional phone conference or virtual meeting may take place. People with online jobs commonly work from home, a coffee shop, or any other place with an internet connection.
There are typically two subsets of the online jobs marketplace:
- Telecommute, Remote Employee and Distributed Work (TRaD): This subset group are employees of a company. They will receive a typical W2 at the end of the year for tax purposes. But, they do their work in a flexible or non-traditional way – mostly utilizing the Internet to complete their online jobs from another location. Otherwise, they receive most of the benefits of a typical 9-5 employee.
- Freelance Work: Similar to entrepreneurs or contractors, freelancers work for themselves and are hired on as vendors, contractors for projects. They do not typically replace the core workforce of a business, but rather supplement the fast-paced needs of a company. However, there are exceptions, as purely cloud-based companies decide to have no headquarters at all and the core workforce is made entirely of freelancers.
Typical college degree programs needed for the online job marketplace are:
- Computer science
- English/language arts
- Business management
Where can you find an online job?
Finding a TRaD online job is similar to finding traditional work, so you will want to utilize excellent services like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor. Another popular a-typical TRaD site is FlexJobs, which specializes in telecommuting and remote employee online jobs. It boasts over 47,000 companies are utilizing its site.
If you are a freelancer, here are the top 5 online platforms to find an online job:
- Upwork: Upwork is a popular platform for both employers and freelancers. Employers post open freelance positions and list the variety of work they’re in need of, and freelancers can select areas they specialize in, such as writing, customer service, sales and market, accounting and consulting, and more. Freelancers can apply for jobs they’re interested in.
- Guru: Also an excellent online jobs platform, Guru has more than 4,000 job postings in a variety of categories ranging from webs, software and IT, and engineering and architecture to management and finance and sales and marketing.
- Freelancer: At Freelancer, you can browse jobs by category and by your skillset, and then place a bid on a job you’re interested in. The site also lists some contests you can participate in such as logo design, building an app, or designing a website. If you want inspiration for an upcoming project, you can scroll through showcased work completed by others, such as illustrations, 3-D models, graphic design projects, logos, and more.
- Dice: Dice is tailored to people looking for a job in technology. This site has excellent blogs, links to courses, and industry data within this subset of freelance work. You can filter your job search by distance, company whether you want a full-time or part-time position, or if you prefer to work remotely.
- Fiverr: Fiver allows you to set up a profile and create a “gig”—a description of a service you’d like to sell (get hired for), with prices starting at $5. You can also show samples of your previous work. Then, anyone on the site looking for your type of services can hire you. If you meet or exceed your client’s expectations, you’ll receive a good rating, which could lead to more business.
Use Upskilling to Get More Online Jobs
Applying for an online job can be competitive. To help you stay on top of your game and be attractive to employers, consider upskilling—adding new and relevant skills to your online jobs toolbag. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you can upskill by learning photography or website design. If your specialty is social media management, learn how to do copywriting or Facebook ads.
Think of relevant skills similar to your field of expertise that you think would be useful to potential employers. If you aren’t sure where to begin with upskilling, start by:
- Google searching your subject and perusing the results
- Watching YouTube videos
- Working with mentors
- Enrolling in online courses, continuing education classes
- Obtain a new degree
All offer different flexibility, costs, and time commitment.
What Skills Do You Need for an Online Job?
To succeed in finding an online job, here are some of the fastest growing skills you should develop, according to Bloomberg:
- IT: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, web development, computer science, mobile development, languages (Java, C, C++, PHP), MySql
- Digital Marketing: Google Analytics, search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, eCommerce
- Digital Art: Graphic design, Photoshop, photography, 3-D, video
- English Writing: Business, content, email, advertising; proofreading, editing
- Business Data: – Economics, data mining, analytics
- Translation: Any major business language, such as Spanish, Portuguese or Mandarin
In addition to the tangible skills needed, with an online job comes a new set of challenges that demand intangible skills, such as:
- Time Management: Keep track of how much time you’re spending on your projects and assignments so you can bill employers for the hours you worked. Some helpful time management tools include Google Calendar (for remote team scheduling), Toggl (a time tracker), E.gg Timer (a countdown timer to help you stay focused), and Wanderlist (an app to create to-do lists, set reminders, and collaborate with others).
- Communication: With online platforms, such as Slack, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting and Join.Me, communication across long distances has never been easier. But, during virtual group meetings, it is easy to speak over someone or never let another chime in, so rules of engagement should be set. WhatsApp is also an excellent global communication and file sharing tool.
- Project Management: Google’s Gsuite, Slack, Microsoft’s Basecamp, Dropbox, and others are all utilized to keep projects on track and share files. Knowledge of and experience with these will help those with online jobs smoothly get the job done.
Put Yourself Out There
There is no question that the traditional work model is changing, and rapidly. If you want an online job, you have to make your presence known. Update your resume, as well as your LinkedIn and/or Indeed.com profile, where many recruiters go to find potential freelancers and remote employees. Gather your portfolio together so that you can use it to show employers your experience.
Use social media to follow companies you’re interested in to see if they’re hiring. Also, create profiles on sites mentioned in this article, such as Fiverr and Upwork to become attractive to future clients.
By sharpening your skills and adding a few more to your arsenal, you, too, can be successful becoming a telecommuter, remote employee, distributed worker or freelancer.