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NEW YORK (
MainStreet) -- Many job hunters may automatically assume any job posting with the phrase "work-from-home" is a scam, but each year more and more legitimate telecommuting positions pop up. The trick is just to know how to spot them.
Between 2007 to 2010, there was a 400% increase in the number of telecommuting jobs posted to
FlexJobs, a job search Web site that aggregates work-from-home positions as well as positions with flexible hours. According to Sara Sutton Fell, the site's founder, much of this was due to companies looking for ways to cut costs during the recession. As a result, many industries that traditionally had fewer telecommuting opportunities began to take advantage of new technology to make it work.
Telemarketers and customer service reps aren't the only ones who can work from their own home.
"When we first started the site a little over five years ago, it was mostly call center work, writing jobs, computer positions and IT," Fell says. "Whereas now, medical and health account for the biggest proportion of jobs, followed by education." Even though the economy has begun to improve, Fell expects that cost-saving pressures and environmental concerns to keep increasing the number of telecommuting opportunities.
For job hunters, it's important to keep in mind that these positions tend to be ultra-competitive and generally pay less (as much as 5% to 15% less than comparable jobs in an office setting, Fell estimates). And then, of course, you have to beware of the scams. In particular, Fell suggests
watching out for job postings that ask for money or sensitive information such as your Social Security number, not to mention postings written in all capital letters or including lots of exclamation points and dollar signs. If it doesn't look like a professional posting, there's a good chance it's not.
Once you filter out the obvious scam posts, you can find plenty of telecommuting options you might never have thought existed. Here are seven of the more unusual telecommuting jobs listed on FlexJobs:
Physical therapist It might sound surprising a physical therapist could work from home -- unless of course that home is the patient's. But that's exactly what Christiana Care, an East Coast health care provider, is advertising on FlexJobs.
This position allows the health care professional to create and assess training routines for the patient from their home computer in addition to making the occasional visit to the patient.
Indeed, the same company is advertising other positions on the site for physical therapists and even registered nurses.
UnitedHealth Group(UNH) -- Fortune 500 companies -- have telecommuting postings for nursing positions as well.