Losing Your Mind Looking for a Job? These Free Online Resources Can Help
This time last year, I was interning at a magazine, churning out a 200-page graduate school project and looking for a job.
That last task was the most daunting one of all. And, between hours of scrolling through job sites and crafting cover letters, it unwittingly became a part-time job itself.
I even lost money in the process — signing up for those promising premium job board accounts.
So, now that my full-time job is to write about jobs… I want to help you, job seekers.
I’ve compiled a list of online resources to help you find the perfect job — whether you want to work in an office, start your own business or work from home.
Online Resources to Help You Find the Perfect Full-Time Office Job
This is what I was looking for — a plain ole, full-time office job.
But there were so many factors working against me.
First of all, when I searched “writing” or “writer” on a generic job site, I got all kinds of crazy jobs popping up requiring “efficient written communication skills” — or something of the sort.
Also, I had no geographic dreams in mind. I was happy to relocate.
If you’re running into just as many problems as I was, here are some resources that might help you along the way.
1. Find a job search site that caters to your needs.
Sometimes tapping into those big, all-consuming sites seems like the best route, but it might just trigger exhaustion and make you feel hopeless.
Rather than digging through 100 pages of generic listings, find a job site that caters specifically to your needs.
Take Après, for example: It’s a site that caters to women returning to the workforce and helps them secure full-time jobs.
Not only does Après curate a list of jobs from companies that pledge to hire women returning to the workforce, it also offers career coaches and a network.
“We are working tirelessly to help create professional opportunities for women who chose to temporarily focus on personal responsibilities and/or other priorities but are now ready to return to the workforce,” says co-founder Niccole Kroll.
If this sounds like your niche, you can join for free.
Just looking for an hourly job for some side income? Snagajob exclusively features jobs in your area that pay by the hour.
2. Create — and rely on — a network.
I secured my job with The Penny Hoarder through my network.
LinkedIn was my best friend for a while. I pride myself on my 400+ professional connections. And the platform really is a great asset — but sometimes you need more personalized connections.
That’s why I signed up for my soon-to-be alma mater’s emailing list. We call it the “Mizzou Mafia” at Missouri’s School of Journalism, and folks send job listings right to your inbox — plus the connection. I got one from a guy who works at Buzzfeed, and he knew The Penny Hoarder’s executive editor.
I timidly reached out with a short introduction, my resume and some writing samples.
It worked. He passed my information along, and I was able to bypass the flooded inbox of others who’d applied for the job.
Online Resources to Help You Start the Perfect Freelance Business
Starting a business might sound daunting — yeah, no, it definitely sounds daunting. But one of the best approaches is to start a work-from-home freelance business.
And no, this doesn’t have to be writing. There’s a real demand for other tasks such as transcribing, proofreading and bookkeeping.
I found some resources to get your creative, freelance juices flowing.
3. Read all the online advice you can.
When it comes to starting your own freelance business, it’s important to consider all the pros and cons and soak up the advice that’s out there. (Hint: There’s a lot of it!)
One such site is called I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Ramit Sethi started this site while he was a Stanford student. He kept seeing tons of expert financial advice (think: make a budget). But were people actually doing that?
So Sethi took a new approach. By twisting some psychology into his programs, he teaches people stuff they’ll actually do to make money — including starting a freelance business. Plus, he’s a New York Times best-selling author.
He has a program titled “Make $1,000 in the time you’d spend watching Netflix this weekend.”
And one of my favorite pieces of advice — which I’m going to take to heart — is this:
“Most people try to reinvent the wheel when they’re starting a business. That’s a huge mistake. The world is a big place, trying to think of something that nobody else has thought of is almost impossible.”
Yes. Yes. Yes.
If you want more golden nuggets of advice, you can check out his free program.
There are so many other resources out there — including our site. First-person stories are great inspiring motivators — such as this one about a mom who makes $6,000 a month through her blog.
4. Consider taking a free class.
Not all of us majored in business or entrepreneurship.
But there are plenty of specialized classes out there to teach you a work-from-home trade and how to set up virtual shop.
I recently wrote about these three services: Transcribe Anywhere, Learn to be a Bookkeeper and Proofread Anywhere. Each of these online courses teaches you how to become a professional transcriber, bookkeeper and proofreader.
I spoke to three professionals who used the courses to jump-start their careers. Each former student mentioned the wealth of information each course offered about starting and maintaining an online business — from creating a website to marketing your services.
Even if you have zero experience.
Online Resources to Help You Find the Perfect Work-From-Home Job
You could say this is The Penny Hoarder’s niche… *brushes invisible dirt off shoulder*
We love work-from-home jobs.
However, there’s a lot you need to know before wetting your toes — which might remain tucked under your sheets all day if you actually end up working from home…
Here are some resources to get you started.
5. Use specialized job boards.
To be honest, I didn’t know work-from-home jobs were so prevalent when I was job-searching. But that’s probably because I wasn’t looking in the right places.
Job boards featuring work-from-home jobs are going to be your sanity-savers. Last year, I compiled a list of 12 sites that’ll help you land a work-from-home job.
In fact, we follow these sites closely to bring promising, legitimate jobs straight to you.
So go ahead and bookmark one or two or all of these sites because I really think you might be able to find the perfect job.
You can also follow companies that are known for hiring work-from-home employees. This list will be useful for that.
We also feature tons of work-from-home jobs each week on The Penny Hoarder Jobs Facebook page.
6. Start creating the perfect home office space.
I can already tell you, many of these work-from-home job listings are going to have a list of home office requirements.
No, you don’t need to stock up on every single piece of technological equipment right now, but you can go ahead and ready your space.
Plus, it’ll probably become your job-searching sanctuary.
If you’re like me and love drooling over photos of other people’s spaces, drown in the beauty that is Pinterest.
You can simply search “home office” for some eye-googling photos, but there are also niche boards out there, including Architectural Digest’s “Home Offices” board and Thrifty Home Decor’s “Home Offices” board.
And if you just don’t have the space — or environment — for a home office, you can look into co-working spaces. Here’s a guide about how to pick the perfect one.
Other important things…
Be sure to have your resume polished up — and avoid any awkward mistakes.
In the end, I wish you the best of luck!
Your Turn: What’s your strategy for finding the perfect job?
Disclosure: You wouldn’t believe how much coffee The Penny Hoarder team goes through. This post contains affiliate links so we can keep the grinds stocked!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.