The opportunities for online work continue to grow, and many moms are missing out because they lack the most in-demand computer skills. It's never too late to learn new skills or improve the ones you have, if you're willing to put in the time and effort. Here are some computer skills you should have:
1. Word Processing
Knowing your way around Microsoft Word will help you land most online work. You may need to use it for your own marketing efforts or to complete writing and other projects. Clients may need help with editing, formatting documents, inserting tables and graphics and creating catalogs. If you take calls as a customer service representative, you'll have to document your calls using a word processor. Not being familiar with Microsoft Word will hinder your ability to do your job, or get one in the first place.
2. Desktop Publishing
Whether it's flyers, brochures, a newsletter or any other print material, there's a demand for desktop publishing skills. You can launch a whole practice as a virtual assistant just focusing on this. Desktop publishing can be time-consuming, and some business owners don't want to invest money purchasing the required software. If you have the skills or are willing to learn them online, then you will be have access to a market in need of your services.
3. Converting Word to PDF
Many companies use a Portable Document Format ("PDF") to disseminate information or sell information products over the internet (or even through the mail). Someone types out the document using Microsoft Word, but help is needed to convert the Word document to a PDF. Sometimes, it works the other way around. Your help may be needed to convert a PDF back to Word for editing or other purposes. You'll need to purchase software, or use free or paid online conversion tools.
4. Data Entry
Knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Access and Outlook are in demand, especially when it comes to data entry jobs. If you know your way around these programs, you can provide a huge benefit to companies who need to keep track of customer's information, orders or other research data. However, excellent typing skills may be all that you need for a data entry job. For example, some companies collect names and email addresses, and simply need to hire a data entry specialist to type them in an online form.
5. Email Sending and Receiving
If you're pursuing online work, then you'll be working remotely. Therefore, many (if not all) of your communications with employers or customers will occur over email. You must become proficient in sending and receiving email, whether it's using free services like Yahoo! Mail or paid programs like Microsoft Outlook. Along with the technical skills, you'll want to learn email etiquette, such as when not to send attachments, or how to write in a tone that doesn't offend the receiver.
Getting hired for online work can be highly competitive. Improving or acquiring any of the above computer skills can make a big difference in whether an employer or client will hire you. It's well worth the time and money to work on your computer skills if you want to work this way full-time.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.