Friday, July 18, 2008

Get a Job

You’re all signed up and ready to work! Now it’s time to go get an assignment.

The companies I work for generally use four methods of letting me know there are jobs to be done:

1) Here’s a list Some companies email me a list every morning of all open assignments in my area. I can take a quick look down the list and determine if there is something I’d like to do, then go to the website and apply for each job individually.

2) Here’s an opportunity Other companies email me each and every assignment they post as it is being posted. If I’m fast on the mouse, sometimes I can win the race to the company’s page to get the assignment.

3) Here’s a message One or two of the companies I work for will put all their job opportunities in a message box on their website and send me an email letting me know when a message has been added to the message box.

4) Do-it-yourself The vast majority of companies I work for have search engines on their site for finding jobs. This requires me to log in to each site, enter my search area, wait for the results and then read descriptions and choose jobs that interest me.

Most companies will use one or any combination of these four methods. I tend to work more jobs for the companies that use the first method of assigning jobs because it is most convenient for me. But near the end of the month when last minute jobs bearing bonuses are common, I will use the do-it-yourself method daily and glean a few more high-paying jobs.

Please remember that most companies that send out jobs or messages send them out to everyone in their shopper database who qualifies to perform a certain job. Anywhere from two to two hundred people could be seeing the same message you are, and schedulers do not take kindly to being asked, “Why didn’t I get this job?”

Companies use a term you need to be aware of: Self-assign. If you personally meet certain criteria, you will be able to assign yourself jobs from the company website. If you do not meet these criteria, or if the job or company does not offer self-assign on this particular opportunity, you will need to “apply” for the job along with all other interested shoppers and the company will let you know if you have won the assignment. The criteria vary widely from company to company and even assignment to assignment, and few companies will share with the shopper the method they use for determining who may self-assign which jobs.

The Do-it-yourself method can be very time-consuming and frustrating, but you will get to know the market very well visiting company websites on a regular basis. There are companies who specialize in certain assignments, others who restrict themselves to certain parts of the country, or even parts of certain cities. There are tools that make the process a bit easier, we'll explore some in a future post.

There is one more method some companies will use when time is short, or a shopper suddenly cancels an important job: the phone call. I have a cell phone I use only for my business calls. Because it isn’t used for personal use I can claim the minutes as a business expense for tax purposes. My children don’t answer this phone and when I do, it is with my best business manners. This is the phone number I have listed with shopping companies. I know when that phone rings that it is opportunity knocking and I’d better have my calendar in hand. A very small percentage of companies I work for will use this method exclusively. For the most part, those that do also require the results of shops to be phoned-in.

Now that you've chosen a job, let's prepare to go. No, we can't go yet, remember, there's still before-the-job paperwork to be done?

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