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The Key Skills Required to Get Freelance Data Entry Jobs

Data entry hiring managers are looking for specific skills such as typing and software experience.
Typing on a keyboard.

Freelance data entry is a sought-after service that many companies are seeking. Increasingly, outsourcing data entry to at-home workers is becoming the preferred method of getting important figures entered into databases. To get freelance data entry jobs, there are a few skills that must be mastered.

Typing Skills

One of the most important skills in any freelance data entry job is accurate typing skills. The data entered in many freelance data entry jobs consists of strings of numbers, medical codes, personal contact information and other items that must be accurately typed. Data entry companies that outsource data entry work from many clients keep a score of how many items were entered inaccurately. Having a high score for mistakes can mean never getting more work through that company. Clients who employ you directly will expect a high level of accuracy and may stop giving you work if there are accuracy problems.

Because there is a high volume of data to input into the database, it's important to be able to touch type. This requires typing accurately without looking at the keyboard. Without touch typing skills, entering large amounts of data via the computer simply takes far too much time for it to be profitable. Clients want the work done fast, and a data entry freelancer with a long turnaround time won't get much work.

If you don't have touch typing skills, there are classes available in most continuing education programs. There are also websites that have touch typing instructions and practice pieces that can build your skills.

Typing Speed

In addition to being able to type accurately, you also need to have a significant typing speed. Typing at at least 60 words per minute is expected by most data entry employers, with 80 to 90 words per minute preferred. The faster you can accurately enter data, the more projects you can take on and the more money you can make.

If you aren't sure about your typing speed, there are free typing tests available online to test your typing speed. If your speed is not high enough to be considered for freelance data entry jobs, practice typing each day until your speed gets better.

Software Experience

To be able to get freelance data entry skills, you need to have experience with various software programs. Some of the most common programs used in data entry are:

  • Microsoft Word files
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access
  • Open Office

A basic familiarity with what type of software each is and how it is used can be helpful in describing your skills to prospective employers.

You also need a reliable Internet connection to allow the projects to be sent back and forth between you and the employer. You need to have a permanent email address that is also reliable. The employer must be able to communicate about current projects, offer new ones and must be able to receive your projects in a timely manner. With a reliable computer, fast typing skills and a high level of accuracy, you can pick up as many freelance data entry jobs as you choose.

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