A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant Staying at Home in the Philippines
It’s 5:40 AM. I feel for my phone beside my bed to shut off the alarm. I gingerly crawl out of bed and drag myself to the shower, eyes hurting in the artificial light.
Despite being half-asleep, I manage to get dressed and make it out the door by 6:30, barely saying goodbye to the kids. After a long line at the jeepney stop and the involuntary brisk walk in heels, I arrive at the office at 8:00 AM. Right on time.
But I am not that girl anymore.
Now I wake up just before the kids at 6:45 AM. I fix them breakfast and wave at the door when they leave for school. No rush. I still time to water the plants and do some weeding.
By 8:30, I go back inside and take a seat at the desk in my bedroom to open my laptop. I hop on a writing task and an editing project, sending off questions via instant message.
At 5:00 PM, I shut the lid of my laptop. I go back outside to wait for my kids. We then eat a leisurely dinner and watch a movie while I’m wrapping up emails from the couch.
That right there is the reason why I am thankful that Onlinejobs.ph exists. I found a job that pays well and lets me work at home at my own pace. I found my first online job here, which made the transition from being an office girl to a full-fledged work-from-home gal a breeze.
So, are you ready to brave the work-from-home lifestyle? You’re right on track. Whether you’re a newbie, just testing the waters or a work from home veteran, you’ll find this helpful.
How Can Onlinejobs.ph Help Me?
For workers seeking a job, the site is free to use. We can choose to apply for full-time, part-time, or per-project jobs.
While it is true that there are many other job sites, Onlinejobs.ph proudly showcases the strength and brilliance of Filipino workers — and is exclusive for Filipinos who wants to have online jobs.
Online Jobs 101
So, what does an “online job” really mean? Well, simply put, an online job is a job that you find, apply for, and get hired for just by getting on the Internet. The term also assumes that you’ll not be working in an office setting.
The worldwide web is a vast universe that makes each of us connected to one another even though we are oceans apart. Many businesses overseas look to outsource their businesses to save money and resources.
The Philippines is one of the go-to for outsourcing because we are great workers and the labor is cheap.
There is a lot of work available online — from mindless typing jobs to complicated coding work — as long as you are not needed to be physically present, that job is up for grabs.
For a clearer picture, here are some jobs you can do online, aside from the usual Data Entry Jobs:
- Virtual Assistant — functions as an executive assistant, only virtual.
- Content Writer — provides relevant and smart content on a client’s website
- Customer Service Representative — provides answers and solutions to a client’s customer inquiries, this could be through phone or email
- Online ESL Teacher — teaches English to foreign students with passion
- Graphic Designer — creates logos, motion graphics, UI/UX designs, and other forms of multimedia
- Video Editor — turns a set of raw videos into a compelling finished product
Seriously, there’s a lot. And there’s always a place for newbies and veterans alike. Ready? Let’s dive into what you should do to land your dream online job.
Complete Your Jobseeker Profile
After creating an account, spend some time in completing your jobseeker profile. It is the first thing an employer sees, and it serves as your resume on Onlinejobs.ph. It is your identity, and you should build it with care.
Understand that hiring a new employee is a scary process for employers. More so since they’re taking a gamble hiring someone from across the globe. Make it a little easier for them to trust you by completing your jobseeker profile.
Aside from your basic information, make sure to:
- Upload a good government ID. IDs issued by the government usually come with a photo or some form of biometric marker, making them unique and fraud-proof. Here’s a list of IDs that you can use:
- Don’t skip the skills summary. List your skills and rate them honestly. Explain briefly how you get these skills and why you rated yourself that way.
- Connect your personal Facebook account to prove your identity. So make sure that your Facebook account is employer-friendly. That means, avoid posting anything you feel you can’t show to strangers.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can validate your identity by sending a photo of your government ID to support@Onlinejobs.ph after you create your profile.
- Write a catchy, compelling headline for yourself in the jobseeker section. You can do this by keeping it short and accurate, highlighting what you can do why you would be a great addition to any business.
- Make sure you also indicate your availability (full-time or part-time) and the desired salary. If you want to know how to gauge your desired salary, keep reading, we’ll explain it a bit in the Choose the Right Job section.
- Upload a profile picture, one that shows that you’re a professional. This means no weird, wacky or inappropriate photos. It doesn’t have to be fancy either. Employers just want to see there’s a real person behind the profile.
- Philippine Passport
- Driver’s License
- SSS UMID Card
- Philhealth ID
- TIN Card
- Postal ID
- Voter’s ID
- PRC ID
- Senior Citizen’s ID
- OFW ID
The government IDs have a dual purpose here. Not only do they help verify identity, but you’ll also need these IDs when applying for payment platforms. So don’t wait to get a job to get a government ID. Get them as soon as you can. That way, once you get hired, it’ll be easier for the employer to pay you.
Doing all of these not only helps an employer know that you’re a real person, but it also brings your IDProof up — that means you’ll be eligible to apply to more jobs compared to those who have a low IDProof.
IDProof is Onlinejobs.ph’s way of saying, “We trust this person is real and who he says he is.” This means that if your profile is incomplete or completely unbelievable (seriously, you’re an expert in everything?), then you won’t get a high IDProof score.
In addition to the algorithm, we also do manual verifications here at Onlinejobs.ph to make sure that the accounts are real, that’s why it often takes a while for scores to go up. So if you edited your profile to raise your IDProof score, it would take a couple of days for the score to increase.
Take Some Good Ol’ Tests
Onlinejobs.ph recommends you take three tests and add the results on your profile:
- the IQ test,
- the English test, and
- the DISC test.
IQ test gives employers an idea of your intelligence and how quickly you’ll learn and understand things. This is helpful for employers looking for people who are easy to train for their business.
The English test could increase your chances of being hired since this is the primary language used when working. It lets employers know how easy it would be to communicate with you.
Your DISC profile will be the result of the DISC test. This will give employers a peek into your work style and personality. Are you a loner or a team player? Are you a rule follower or out of the box thinker? Do you have leadership potential? Employers look at this to know whether you’ll be a good fit for the job and the company.
Now you don’t have to take these tests, but many employers only hire applicants who’ve taken the tests. It only takes a few minutes to do these tests, so taking them and showing your results on your profile might get you hired faster.
Be Better Than You Were Yesterday
Now that you’ve completed your profile and taken the tests, you have two options:
- you can start applying for jobs or
- you can wait to be contacted.
Let’s say you choose the latter. You wait. But don’t just sit on your thumbs doing nothing, use that time to self-educate.
The internet is full of knowledge. Find free courses to increase your knowledge and proficiency to help you land a job faster. YouTube and Google are your friends, so are blogs and free online classes.
Gain skills that you think might be what employers are looking for. The online job market is ever-changing — the jobs that are in demand the previous year may not be the same this time around. If you want to know what skills you want to brush up on to be competitive, you can check out the latest Onlinejobs.ph job posts to see what the in-demand jobs are. It helps to stack up on your skills and know-how.
Another direction you can take would be to specialize. Let your interests guide you on what skills you want.
Don’t just settle for what you know — learn more and be better. Keep in mind that the better you are, the better the job offers and the higher the salary you’ll get.
As you’re upgrading your skillset, don’t forget to update your jobseeker profile, too. Who knows, the new skill you just acquired is the one that’ll get you an offer.
Choose the Right Jobs
If you’re not one to wait around for a job offer to fall on your lap, then you should know how to stand out in a sea of applications.
You’ve already taken the first step by making sure that you’ve completed your profile. The next step is to look for the right jobs to apply for.
Don’t go for easy jobs with low pay just because you’ve been job-hunting for too long. Patience is a virtue. Besides, you won’t get plus points for job-hopping.
Easy jobs also mean you’ll have lots of competition when applying, and the pay would be less than your worth. You know yourself better than anyone else — don’t sell yourself short just to land a job where you can’t show your full potential.
Easy jobs are also easier to automate. Even if you do get this job, you’ll be replaced soon enough and go back to where you started.
Finding a good, legitimate online work does take time. So keep looking and be patient. The perfect job for you is out there — maybe on the next page, or the next.
So how would you know if the job is the RIGHT job for you? For newbies out there, I know the prospect of online job hunting is really intimidating because there are so many options out there.
Make it easier on yourself. Before you start job hunting, assess yourself using the following criteria:
1. What skills do I currently have?
List down the things you know what to do. You can use the skills list on your Onlinejobs.ph as a guide to start. But if you have other noteworthy skills not on our list (are you a pro-gamer? Math whiz? Do you have an amazing voice?) write them down. You can always include those skills in your profile information.
2. What’s my educational/work/hobbies/volunteer background?
Yes, we often complain about how unprepared our graduates are for the workforce. But you know what, I did learn a lot from school that helped me land this online job. A lot of graphic designers, programmers and social media managers developed their skills through their hobbies. If there’s anything you gained from your life experience that you think would be helpful, don’t hesitate to include it in your profile.
3. What am I naturally interested in?
What does interest have to do with online work? If you like what you’re doing, you’re more likely to be better at that work. You’re also more likely to work on developing yourself if you like your job. In the long run, this can help guide what would be the most viable online career track for you.
Once you’ve answered these questions, start going through the database and assess the job post based on the answers you provided to the questions above. Take note that most of the jobs out there won’t be a perfect fit. But the skills you have don’t have to match 100% of what’s written in the job post. As long as you have the required skills and the job matches your interest, go ahead and apply.
After going through several job posts, you’ll start noticing a pattern of how much employers are willing to pay for workers with your skill level. You can use this as a guide to setting your salary or you can also use our comprehensive salary guide.
Apply With Purpose
That purpose should be to get hired.
Now that you’ve found the perfect job you’d want to apply to, you’d want to catch the employer’s attention and make a mark. Let whoever’s reading through all the applications remember you by bringing out your personality and putting it on display.
But personality alone isn’t enough. You have to pay attention to the application process. At Onlinejobs.ph, employers are encouraged to take special precautions to filter out applicants who might not be serious.
When applying through job posts, keep these pointers in mind:
1. Read the job post CAREFULLY.
You can learn something about the employer from the job post. The job post will let you know at first glance whether this company would be a good fit for your skills and your schedule. You’ll also find what exactly the job entails there. And it pays to do this. Because nothing annoys an employer more than being asked about information that’s already written on the job post.
2. Follow the instructions (if any) listed on the post to a T.
As I said, employers are encouraged to have special instructions within the job post. I can’t stress this enough. The instructions are there to either:
- Check your skills,
- Check your ability to understand or follow instructions
- See if you can think for yourself and not afraid to ask questions.
So if you don’t follow instructions, don’t be surprised if you don’t get replies..
3. Tailor your cover letter.
Use what you’ve learned about the employer and the job in your cover letter. Highlight what’s unique to you and relate that to the job you’re applying for. When you’re applying for a phone CS position, talk about your patience and friendliness, and not so much about your typing speed.
Your cover letter can be the application email you send through your Onlinejobs.ph profile or a separate document (depending on the instructions in the job post). I can’t stress how crucial a customized cover letter can be. Not everybody does cover letters. Only serious jobseekers do this. So if you want to stand out right away, this is the way to do it.
This is also the part where you can show your personality. Write a perky cover letter if that’s who you are — don’t second guess yourself. Give the employer a taste of what he’s going to get if he chooses you. Just don’t overdo it.
Remember that employers are looking for people who can help them in their business. So you need to present yourself as someone who can fix their problems for them.
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! You’ve just received a message.
Whether it’s from someone asking you to apply for a job he’s posted, or a response from a job post you applied for, or an employer with a job offer, always respond as soon as you’re able to.
It’s helpful to have a notification for messages received ( you can activate this in your profile) so you can attend to them right away. A delayed response from you would make you seem uninterested or too lazy to reply.
When applying for online work, take note that it might take a few email exchanges (and possibly an interview) before you know if you got the job or not. That’s why it’s so important to reply as soon as you can. The faster the process goes, the sooner you’ll know whether you’ve been hired or whether you need to move on.
And even if it’s a job you’re not really interested in, a reply would be a nice gesture. You never know. Maybe they’ll have other job openings that would be a good fit for you. Or they could refer you to someone else. GMRC is so rare nowadays that people appreciate and reward it.
Acing Your Interview
Interviews, whether in-person or online, the goal is the same — to make a lasting impression that would get you a job, or at least another interview. Going through an online interview is scary, especially if it’s for the first time.
Here are tips that’ll help you not look like a deer stuck in headlights.
Before the interview:
1. Test your equipment.
Test your connection, camera, sound, and lighting. Test the program you’ll be using for the interview. Make sure you’ve installed it and understand how it works.
Do this again an hour before the interview. You don’t want any surprises.
2. Have a back-up plan ready.
Our internet and, let’s face it, power supply here in the Philippines isn’t very reliable. Make sure that your back up is as ready as you are in case of a hitch. And make sure your housemates know you need the bandwidth during the call so they avoid any unnecessary downloading or streaming.
3. Prepare your environment.
If you can, position your computer and webcam so there’s a blank wall behind you. If that’s not possible, any generic background would do. Just as long as your unmade bed or overflowing laundry hamper isn’t in the background.
Turn off anything that could be a distraction to your conversation. TV, radio, your phone — yes, if possible, your neighbor’s rooster, too.
And make sure no one’s going to make any unannounced and unappreciated appearances — I’m talking about your cat and your kids. The interview would just be 30 minutes to an hour at most. Let them know you need silence and space during that time.
4. Have a mock interview.
Have a friend or a family member do this with you in a, hopefully, identical circumstance as your interview. This way you not only practice your interviewing skills but also test your equipment.
Ask for feedback about how you look and how you sound.
5. Prep yourself for the interview.
Don’t forget to do your research about the employer, prepare your answers, and also list down some questions you want to ask.
During the interview:
1. Dress professionally.
If you’re not sure of what to wear, look at yourself in the monitor. For me, something with a collar works. A quick comb and powder to cut down the shine on my face also help make me feel more professional.
2. Free your computer from apps.
Turn off the apps and programs that might interrupt the interview or cause your computer to work slowly.
3. Manage your body language.
Your movements are more obvious in an online interview. So sit up straight and don’t fidget.
4. Look at the interviewer in the eye.
I know. Even I’m tempted to look at the screen. But do your best to maintain an illusion of eye contact by looking at your camera, or somewhere close to the camera.
5. Have a conversation.
Talk conversationally. Don’t make your voice louder than normal.
Also, when answering, nod for acknowledgment first, and wait for a second before you say your answer. This makes sure that you don’t talk over the interviewer in case the connection is weak.
6. Calm down and be yourself.
Breathe. Don’t try to be the person you’re not just to please the interviewer. Being yourself is the best way to highlight what you can offer, and will make it easier for the organization to determine if you’re a good fit.
Bad Jobseeking Habits To Break/Avoid
1. Not proofreading your profile and cover letters
Your profile and your cover letter are the first things that recruiters see. They hate typos, grammar lapses, and spelling mistakes. So spare yourself from looking like a fool and proofread.
2. Lying on your profile
Lying is just plain wrong. Lying about your credentials might get you the job, but that doesn’t mean you can keep it. What do you think will happen if you were hired for the skills you lied about? You won’t be able to get the job done. Keep in mind that employers can report you for not being true. Not to mention online employers network, and tales of bad workers get around.
3. Editing your profile too often
Edit only when you have to. Like when you’ve finally gotten your Full Stack Development Certificate, or maybe you now have a TESOL certificate. Do not edit your profile just to change things around hoping to be the perfect candidate for a job you’re gunning for.
Editing your account and “fixing” your profile will result in a lowering of your IDProof. And a low IDProof means fewer chances of getting a job.
4. Asking for just “any job”
Don’t sell yourself short. You want to keep a job for a long time, and to do that, you have to like doing it over and over, and chances are, “any job” is not something you’d want to do day in and day out
Asking for “any job” seems like begging for a job — employers would see that as a red flag and wonder why you’d beg for a job if you have a good set of skills.
5. Renting out your account
As I said, employers talk to each other and even exchange VA stories. You should not let other people use your profile to get a job. It’s just the same as lying — the other person wouldn’t be able to get the job done because it’s your credentials that got him hired, your skills. And when the employer finds out about the borrower’s inefficiency, it will be your name that’s on the line. Your name will get negative feedback.
Don’t get me started on spamming.
Spamming won’t endear you to employers. Applying for all the jobs out there, reeks of desperation, not competence.
There’s nothing wrong with leaning in and trying for jobs you might be qualified for. But if you think sending out mass applications shows that you have the potential to be a great employee, you’re wrong. What it shows employers is that:
- You’re too lazy to read job posts
- You’re not confident enough or competent enough for online work
- You’re looking to fool employers who don’t know better.
Professional Filipino workers have a reputation to uphold. You’ll have a better chance of getting a job when you focus your time applying for jobs that would be a good fit for you rather than resulting in dirty tricks just to get ahead.
Take That Step NOW!
Applying for a job, whether for a work-from-home career or an office, is a thankless task. That’s why it’s important to invest your best effort on jobs that would best fit you. Those who put in the time and effort in making their applications really good are more likely to be hired faster.
So put our best foot forward. When you do your best, employers will notice and see you as “the right one” for the job. With the growing number of online freelancers, you really have to step up your game and keep growing your skillset while honing what you have now.
Don’t stop. You might not find the perfect job now, but you will.
Don’t have an Onlinejobs.ph account yet? Signup here and start hunting.
A writer and an all-around VA. She has now found her home at OnlineJobs.ph.