How To Get Your Dream Job In 6 Steps

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Ever since I started working online people have been telling me how lucky I am. And I am lucky. I have a job that pays well, let’s me work at home at my own pace. Working online for the past 8 years has allowed me to gain a ton of skills that brought me personal and professional recognition.

So when people find out that I do work online, they almost always ask how I got my dream job. And when I give them my answer, some of them are disappointed by it. I think it’s because they were hoping I would say that it was easy, that the job was just given to me, and I can help them get that same job just as easily.

But to be honest, finding that dream job online wasn’t that easy. I admit it was easier back then when I first started. There was less competition and the rewards were greater. But with more people all over the world looking for work online, I can see that IT IS tougher to find that dream online job now than it was before.

That’s why as Filipino workers, we need to raise our game if we want to continue to be more competitive. Anyone with a computer, internet connection and rudimentary knowledge of the English language can do data entry. Really good transcription software is cheaper and can work just as well as a human transcriptionist. A really good smartphone can do simple image editing.

So what can we do, as Filipino workers, to cement our claim as online rockstars? Here are some of the things we need to do today!

  1. Take advantage of what you know and make it better.

One of the questions people often ask me when it comes to online work is “What can I do online?”. If you want to find your dream job, this isn’t the right question to ask. Mainly because there’s so many different jobs out there it’s impossible to say outright what anyone can do online.

Another reason is because if you want to succeed as an online worker, you have to know what you’re doing & like what you do.

The thing about online work, unlike traditional careers, is it’s not about the job title. It’s about your skills and your professionalism. That’s why I often recommend that people start with what they already have. What are your interests? What skills do you currently have and would like to improve on?

When you’re naturally interested in what you are doing, it’s easier to be better at that job. The better you are, the better the job offers, the higher the salary.

wrried va vrsion

Think of it this way. Let’s say you want to be a programmer simply because it pays more but you’re not really into it. So you force yourself to do a job you have no interest in doing. In the long run you will get bored and you’ll start hating your job. If you’re not really interested, you won’t have any motivation to improve. Most likely you’ll end up as a mediocre programmer at best. You won’t get paid as much or get as much work as a programmer who actually likes what they’re doing and goes out of their way to be the best.

So the first step of finding that dream job is to figure out what you like to do. It’s easier to learn the skills you need when you’re doing something you’re naturally interested in. Potential employers will see your interest. And they do prefer applicants who like what they do because they know you’ll show the same enthusiasm once they are offered that job.

  1. Show your personality by making your applications personal.

The scary thing about applying for online jobs as a newbie is you know you’re competing with workers who have more skills and experience. Sending a form or template applications would make things easier but it’s also the fastest way to have your application ignored. You’re not going to stand out of your application is going to look like everybody else’s.

From our experience here at Onlinejobs.ph we have seen a lot of employers sometimes choose newbies over ‘experienced’ workers because they have made their applications PERSONAL.

How do you make a job application personal?

  1. Read the job post carefully and thoroughly,
  2. Follow the instructions listed there (if any) to the best of your ability,
  3. Do your research. Learn more about the business and what the job might entail,
  4. Put all of this in a custom cover letter that explains why your experience and your personality make you the ideal candidate.

I know from experience that this has DEFINITELY helped me land one of my first jobs. When I first started applying for online writing jobs was intimidated because I knew I wasn’t a professional writer. I’m not native English speaker and I can’t write like one. But when I sent out applications I would often include a cover letter. In that letter, I would explain why I believed I would be a good fit for the job.

One of the first jobs I applied for was to write a series of articles on how to make hotels more family friendly. When I read that job post, I included in my cover letter that I would have more insight on the topic because I’m a mom. I understood how stressful it can be when you bring your kids to a hotel for some R&R. I can write from experience what hotel amenities I would like to see to make my stay more pleasant.

I got the job.

My employer chose me over other writers who were native English speakers. He said that the reason he chose me was because he saw that I understood what he needed. I worked for him for almost a year and he even recommended me for other writing jobs. We’ve been friends ever since.

  1. Fill out a complete profile.

You wouldn’t let a stranger in your home. No one would. Who knows what that stranger would do? At best, they’ll do nothing. Or worse, they could steal from you.

It’s the same for business owners. Hiring a new employer is a scary process for them. It’s like handing over your house keys to a stranger. So you can’t blame them if they pass over jobseeker profiles that contain barely any information on the application. Because how can you trust someone if you don’t know anything about them.

So if you want prospective employers to trust you, give them all the information they need to make good hiring decisions.

  • Upload a good photo so they’ll know there’s a real person behind the resume.
  • Upload a good government ID to prove that you are one of the rockstar Filipino workers they’ve heard about.
  • Don’t just list down your skills, show them! If you’re an expert in a skill, say, WordPress, then prove it. Share when did you learn how to do WordPress and what did you do to hone those skills? Do you have examples of your work? If you can’t produce the proof, you really can’t blame an employer for not taking your word for it.
  1. Make your public social media profiles/posts more professional.

If you have public social media posts or profiles, don’t be surprised if prospective employers would want to check it out.

Why would they do that? It’s now standard hiring practice to check an applicant’s social media profile to confirm their identity. And since employers will be checking out your social media, why not use it to your advantage?

Make sure that your information on social media is consistent with your profile. This is especially important if you have a common name. You wouldn’t want to be passed over for a job simply because you were mistaken for your namesake on social media.

Another thing you can do is to use social media to showcase skills or work experience that’s not on your Onlinejobs.ph jobseeker profile. Use social media to confirm what’s on your resume. Show off your work, trainings you have attended, professional groups you are a part of, etc.

  1. Rate yourself honestly. 

It’s easy to under-rate your skills especially if you’re just starting out. And it’s perfectly understandable. That’s why it’s important that you leverage on your current skills, knowledge and interest (see #1). That way you don’t enter the jobs marketplace as a complete newbie. You can be confident and fair when it comes to judging your own skills.

BUT, it’s also just as important not to overrate yourself. When you overrate you’re basically lying. And once you get caught it’s just going to bring you a world of trouble. It’s so easy for disgruntled employers to share their experience of applicants who lie on the profile with other business owners online. We’ve seen so many workers have their reputations destroyed because of this. Most of them had a tough time finding jobs all because of a simple lie.

What’s worse is it gives employers the impression that Filipino workers, in general, lie on their profile. This problem affects ALL of us. So just be honest in your skill ratings. Let’s show the world that honesty is a trait shared by rockstar Filipino workers.

  1. Apply for jobs you ARE qualified for. 

Employers are inundated with job applications everyday. Most of them just end up in the spam folder because prospective employers do know what they’re looking for. They automatically ignore applicants who don’t really fit the bill.

VA registering in OJ

So it’s better to just apply for jobs you know that fits your skills. Yes, this would mean you’ll be applying to fewer jobs. But it also means that you’re more likely to stand out from crowd because you’re actually qualified for the job.

Another advantage is that even if you don’t get the job, you’re more likely to be remembered or shortlisted for future openings. Hiring managers keep records of ALL qualified applicants, especially if they have plans to hire again in the future.

But I still don’t have an online job!

Now, let’s say you’ve done all the things mentioned above and you still haven’t found your dream job. You’ve been applying for x number of jobs for y number of weeks and you’ve had zero responses. What can you do? What did you do wrong? Why aren’t you getting that dream job that everybody else seems to have?

Honest answer? You just have to be patient. Like I said, the jobs marketplace is more competitive that it used to. Employers now have options from all over the world. And the hiring process does take time.

And I know that rejections are hard to take. But remember that a rejection doesn’t always mean “no”. Most of the time, it simply means “not right now”.

So if you do get a rejection, don’t burn bridges. Leave a good impression instead. A gracious follow-up email to a rejection would do just the trick. This allows you to maintain a relationship with the business so they’re more likely to remember you when a job does open up in the future. A good impression could also open other opportunities because if they like you they recommend you to other businesses.

I hope these tips can help bring you closer to you dream job. To Filipino online workers already living the dream, what do you have other tips you want to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

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COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO VIRTUAL ASSISTANT SALARIES IN THE PHILIPPINES

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How Much Does the Average Virtual Assistant Earn?

A Virtual Assistant’s salary ranges from $300 to $1000 a month depending on their skills. A programmer will obviously require a higher salary as compared to a data entry specialist, which is almost the same case with office-based jobs. Below is a gist of VA salaries. You can find a more complete list here.

Average Monthly Salary

vs

OFFICE WORKERS

VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

  • Accounting Clerk – $180
  • Nurses – $200
  • BPO Entry Level – $250
  • Customer Support Agents – $250
  • Autocad Operators – $302
  • Teacher – $420
  • Accountant – $530
  • Civil Engineer – $550
  • Management Accountant – $1,395
  • Project Manager – $1,400
  • Accountant – $470 ($300-$2000)
  • Transcriptionist – $360 ($300-$1600)
  • Link Builder – $420 ($300-$1500)
  • Customer Support – $460 ($400-$2000)
  • Graphic Designer- $450 ($400-$1800)
  • Artist – $400 ($330-$1800)
  • Virtual Assistant – $400 ($300-$1800)
  • SEO Specialist – $500 ($300-$1700)
  • Copywriter – $500 ($400-$2000)
  • Web Designer / Webmaster – $500 ($350-$2000)
  • Video Editor – $550 ($300-$2000)
  • Software/Web/App Programmer -$800 ($590-$1600)

Minimum Wage for
Major Cities

For office based jobs in the Philippines, there are other factors in play such as the tendency to base salary rates on the government mandated minimum salary and the progressiveness on the industry they are in. The sad part is, for office-based jobs, majority of the rates really are based on the minimum salary requirement.

min-wage-cities

Average VA Salaries
Across the World

When you compare average salaries in the Philippines with other countries, you begin to see why the Philippines is the fastest growing outsourcing market. When you combine the talent level in the Philippines with the average salaries, the Philippines becomes downright compelling.

avg-va-salary-countries

How much does the average Filipino have to spend?

To make it easier for you to formulate a rating of your own for your future VA’s, or if a raise is long overdue, we also have a chart on the cost of living in the Philippines. This includes the utilities that they need to fully function in the virtual assistant world.

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OFFICE WORKERS

VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

RECURRING

  • Transportation: $36 – $150*minimum is 1 round trip jeepney ride. It usually takes a jeepney and MRT for most people
  • Rent: $150 – $300
  • Electricity: $54 – $150
  • Food: $250 – $460

Total Monthly Expenses

$490 – $1060

RECURRING

  • Transportation: $0
  • Internet Connection: $40 – $100
  • Rent: $150 – $300
  • Electricity: $54 – $150
  • Food: $100 – $180

ONE TIME COSTS

  • Computer: $360 – $1000*computers and laptops replaced every 3 years
  • Laptop: $500 – $1200*laptops more expensive in the Phils due to customs duties

Total Monthly Expenses

$344 – $568

Again, the chart only includes the basic utilities. Please keep in mind that there are other costs one requires in order to live, like clothes, mobile devices, and anything that allows them to go about their actual lives.

How old and experienced are these virtual assistants?

In the Philippines, a college degree is a prerequisite in order to get a job. That’s why majority of Virtual Assistants are college educated.

va-age

What are the optional benefits that employers can pay for?

If you’re like me, you want to give a few extras for your loyal employees. There are some benefits such as health insurance (PhilHealth in the Philippines) or SSS (like Social Security in the USA). If you want to provide this benefit to your workers here’s how much it cost:

SALARY RANGE PHILHEALTH SSS
$200 – $249 $5.78 $27.54
$250 – $299 $7.22 $32.83
$300 – $349 $8.67 $33.89
$350 – $399 $9.63 $33.89
$400 – $449 $11.07 $33.89
$450 – $499 $12.03 $33.89
$500 – $549 $13.48 $33.89
$550 – $599 $14.92 $33.89
$600 – $649 $15.89 $33.89
$650 – $699 $16.85 $33.89
$700 – $749 $16.85 $33.89
$750 – $800 $16.85 $33.89

Source: http://www.philhealth.gov.ph/partners/employers/contri_tbl.html

As you can see, with Filipino workers, you don’t have to break the bank to give these highly skilled workers a living wage. If you just look at their salary in terms of numbers, yeah they do look insignificant compared to ours. But if you’re that Filipino VA, that $500 or $600 per month will get you more than most Filipino workers get. That amount gets them better meals for their families, better education for their kids, better lives overall. It’s a small amount to you but a big blessing for them.

So the next time someone accuses you of exploiting workers because you outsource, show them these numbers. Ask them what exploitation looks like and show them pictures of your VA being able to send their kids to private school and get iPhones for themselves. If this is exploitation, then giving them a “fair” wage would be winning the lottery.