Over recent months there has been an influx of new job seekers online, all looking to sell their skill as virtual assistants. While this is a boom for the online bid sites like Elance, Odesk and Fiverr, it has also allowed a lot of new Va’s to be scammed.
A virtual assistant career can be fun and rewarding, as well as relatively lucrative, but there are always some general problems involved in finding freelance jobs online. Every VA has their own plan or mix of job hunting methods. These can range from bidding sites like Elance or oDesk, industry-specific job boards, to having a full web site that explains a VA’s services to a customer base. Many new virtual assistants rely on looking at job ads sent out over the Internet.
However there are some problems to be aware of when looking at jobs from Internet job ads. One main red flag when looking at these online ads is the limitations of this kind of communication, and the relatively low amount of useful data in the ad itself. Below are just some of the things to look our for regarding communication on online ads.
1. Internet Job Scams
Scams on the Internet will try every available angle in order to get personal information from web users. Some of these con-artists have found that they can get people to send personal information, even Social Security numbers and bank account information, by posing as companies offering jobs. Many of these job ads when replied to will come back with things that look like scams such as: pre-templated sites that have nothing to do with the ad, or generic calls for personal information.
Be wary of these ads. Remember to never give out any personal information. The subtler scams are harder to catch, as scamers pretend to be collecting routine paperwork.
2. No Contact Information
Some ads have don’t even have proper contact information. This is left out on purpose so that the job seeker can only email them to get in touch. While this is a legitimate practice to stop Companies and recruiters from being inundated with unwanted calls once the email is received all other communication from a legitimate company will have all the relevant contact details, such as email, posting address, contact phone numbers.
It is important to remember that even if no contact information in on the ad there should still be information there for a job seeker to research the company and before their initial contact email.
3. Sudden Contract Changes
Finally too many jobs offered over the Internet do not even include a contract at all. And even when they are contracted, the document usually stipulates that the work can end at any time, for any reason. Unfortunately with the influx of virtual assistants project managers have a wide pool to choose from. However a project manager with a legitimate company or even a virtual assistant looking to subcontract will have some kind of contract or agreement. They are also aware that things can change on a daily basis and so are usually flexible. If they find a virtual assistant that they are comfortable with working with then any changes will usually be discussed, and this has been my experience after being a virtual assistant for more than 5 years.
Some assistants have had the experience in online can testify that many online offers are the equivalent of a job where you come in Monday and work your heart out, only to come in Friday to find that your desk is gone.
The nature of online freelance job offers has led many freelancers to be a little cynical about some types of ads, and has even influenced more than a few job seekers to hang it all up and look for a local 9 to 5 job. As with any job that you seek online or other wise there are always pitfalls, and we don’t always get the jobs that we apply for. However with a little due diligence and common sense on the virtual assistants part the job seeking should be a little less stressful.
And remember if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. You cannot sit at home, do nothing and earn $87 per hour as I have seen online. This is just not possible. So be sensible.
Good luck job hunting.
Althea @ Virtually Yours PA