Over the years, I've come across many great do's and don'ts (both from personal experience as well as from the experiences of others), and also many helpful resources including books and ebooks (if you do not have a Kindle you can download free reader apps HERE to allow you to read them on your PC or Mac. I hope that these tips can help you land your dream at-home job!
DO your homework. Does the company that you are applying to have have a physical address? Phone number with a REAL person with whom you can speak? If not, be wary.
DO check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to get an idea about a company's track record. Shady companies will not have long term membership status with the BBB. Look for an unusually high number of complaints, or any government actions against the compay when looking at their BBB report.
DO ask questions. If possible, call the company's human resource department and speak to an employee about the position you are interested in. Don't take a lot of thier time- but ask a couple of informed questions about the job, and when they plan to conduct interviews. Having made contact with someone who does the hiring helps them to remember your name when looking at a stack of reumes, helping it to stand out, as well as showing that you are proactive and seriously interested in the position.
DO review the company's website. When you come across a virtual position that you are interested in applying for, whether it is via a job board or directly through a company website, make sure you thoroughly review the company's information to make sure that you understand what it is that the company does. This will help you to be better educated when you get an interview, and also help you decide if it is the right fit for you.
DO update your resume and cover letter. Check out the some of the resources below for ways to help you have a winning resume!
DON'T send money with an application! Any legit job will not require payment. That said, many reputible job BOARDS will charge a small membership fee, which you can generally opt out of at your convenience- this is more than acceptable, and I encourage you to join at least one of the job boards listed in the "Work at Home Employment" section of this website if you are serious about finding virtual work.
DON'T think that "work at home" means "work with the tv blaring/kids running around/personal phone constantly ringing/etc.". You are still a professional and need to treat your telecommute job as such. Yes, working from home has it's perks- no time stuck in traffic, casual attire, often (but not always) a flexible schedule...but you still need to maintain a quiet, distraction-free office space for most virtual jobs.
DON'T send a generic resume and cover letter. Always tailor your correspondence with the various companies/jobs to which you are applying. This shows that you have taken the time to learn about the company and the position. Also, many companies use software that scans resumes for key words that they consider important for the job. Always try to use the exact wording the company used in their job description- your resume should mirror the language in the job posting.
DON'T get frustrated! Just like job searches for traditional employment, you may have to apply to many jobs before you even get an interview. Make a habit of carving out time each day to look at updated posts on job boards, apply for at least one new job, or making tweaks to your resume. It takes work to find work- but your efforts will pay off!