Inspired by my recent Bizymoms.com interview, I decided to take a look at "work from home" jobs and how you can use the best science and practices of career counseling found on the Career Key’s website to help you choose one. After a little explanation, I organized a number of work at home jobs by personality type using Holland’s Theory of Career Choice. My goal is to help you choose a home-based career that is most likely to lead to job satisfaction.
Having often worked in a home office throughout my career, I know the benefits (and challenges) of working at home. Working at home is especially attractive to parents and caregivers, people with disabilities, and anyone else who values flexibility in time and location of work. The challenge is to find a satisfying career path that fits how you want and need to live your life.
As an overall approach, I recommend evaluating your career options using The Career Key website’s 3 step career choice process:
1. Know Yourself.
2. Know Your Options.
3. Make a High-Quality Decision.
For a crash course on work at home jobs, I recommend reading Alison Doyle’s series of “Work from Home Jobs” articles at the Job Search About.com website. She does an excellent job of explaining what’s involved and how to filter out scams.
Using Holland’s Theory of Career Choice to “Know Yourself”
Step 1: In addition to many other self-exploration activities, we recommend taking a scientifically valid interest inventory based on Holland’s Theory like The Career Key test.
As an alternative, you may want to consider taking the special version of The Career Key called The Self-Employment Key, which focuses specifically on occupations where at least 10% of the workers are self-employed. Test-takers also receive scores for two “Big 5” personality dimensions research shows linked to self-employed success. There are also special sections on women entrepreneurs and young entrepreneurs. You can also use your Self-Employment Key scores at The Career Key to see more careers that match your personality.
Step 2: After you’ve measured your top two or three Holland personality types and selected occupations that interest you, the next step is to look at whether there are “work at home” options that match your personality.
To do that, it’s important to actually understand what Holland’s Theory means and how your personality relates to careers. So even if you see a job title or business activity that is not listed as one of the 250+ on The Career Key or on The Self-Employment Key, you will know how it may or may not be compatible with your personality.
For example, if you see “Online Tutor” and it is not listed on The Career Key test and website’s list of matching careers, you can look at the job duties and see that teaching is the main component; enjoyment of teaching is a characteristic of people with a “Social personality type.” Therefore, someone scoring high in the Social personality type would likely find this job compatible and satisfying.
To jump start the process, I’ve organized by Holland personality type the unique Career Key “work groups” of careers, along with job title examples found in home-based work. This is not an exhaustive list; consultants who work at home could be based on many occupations not listed below.
The Career Key test and our “Match Your Personality with Careers” article not only list matching occupations but also link each one to accurate, comprehensive career information at the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
A Selection of "Work at Home" job titles (in Red) organized by Career Key Work Groups and Holland Personality Type
Crafts-Metal, Wood, Plastic, Fabric (Jeweler, Upholsterer)
Food Preparation (Baker, Chef)
Manufacturing & Production (Woodworker, Textile/Apparel/Furnishings Worker)
Computer Science & Technology (Computer Programmer, Computer Specialist)
Literary Arts (Writer)
Visual Arts (Artist, Graphic Designer)
Communications (Editor, Technical Writer)
Nursing, Therapy & Health Promotion (Registered Nurse, Dietitian or Nutritionist)
Education & Library Services (Teacher, various types)
Sales & Purchasing (Sales Agent)
Business Administration (Chief Executive Officer - think “self-employed” or business owner)
Promotion (Copy Writer, Public Relations Specialist)
Mathematical Detail (Bill & Account Collector)
Oral Communications (Customer Service Representative, Receptionist, Telephone Operator)
Materials & Records Processing (Medical Transcriptionist, Word Processor)
Don’t try to be someone you’re not: Do what you enjoy and the money will follow
There is strong sales and entrepreneurial aspect to most self-employed work at home jobs. So make sure that if your Holland scores are low for Enterprising, that you seriously rethink whether self-employment, particularly in sales, is right for you. Don’t be seduced by the promise of making large sums of money. The people who are successful are the ones that enjoy selling, who score high in the Enterprising personality type.
If Enterprising is not one of your top two personality types, working for someone else doing work that fits your personality types is a better option than direct sales. You’ll save money by not purchasing inventory you never sell, and you’ll save yourself heartache and stress from doing work you don’t enjoy.
Additional Work at Home Resources*:
Alison Doyle’s “Work at Home Jobs by Company Directory”
Bizymoms.com’s “Top 40” Business Ideas
*My links to About.com or Bizymoms.com imply no endorsement of either site or the jobs/companies linked to from those sites. Although these sites link to us, we do not get any financial benefit from external links and as a policy do no reciprocal linking. If we think a web page is helpful and contributes to our mission, we link to it.