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With the current economic conditions leading to a surge in interest from individuals looking to supplement their household incomes through home based employment, one of the most popular money spinning applications seems to be in the field of online data entry. Being relatively low skilled, easy to perform and needing no previous experience, it's no small wonder this appears an attractive proposition to those in search of a quick and easy buck.
Regrettably, however, many of the opportunities prove to be a scam - and with no real possibility of financial reward or sustained employment, this leaves the potential employee somewhat disheartened and inevitably sceptical, still without an income and, most importantly, out of pocket. However, it is possible to find legitimate data entry jobs out there if you persevere and keep your wits about you.
Most general employment websites now have vacancies for homeworking and these offer the best opportunities for finding legitimate employment. Currently there is a privately owned, professional data entry company based in the West Midlands who have 20 positions available. Applicants can work from home, anywhere in the UK, and have the potential to earn £300 -£400 per week.
Still, finding a job is one thing - being successful and making it pay is another - and if you want to make data entry work for you, the better you equip yourself with the right skills, the brighter your future could be.
The basic role of a data entry operative is to input material (text or numerical) onto a database. This could include sales reports, survey results, client information, or statistical data for service providers as diverse as educational establishments, banks, large commercial corporations or the Health Service.
Although there are no specific academic requirements needed for data entry application, there are a number of basic skills which are vital to perform the job effectively including; good levels of computer literacy, the ability to work to deadlines, excellent communication skills, the ability to work at speed and with accuracy and high level of attention to detail.
Employers will also be looking for applicants who can demonstrate good analytical skills and who will maintain a high level of functionality when working under pressure. Most data entry projects are delivered to a tight deadline so the ability to keep a cool head is vital. Operatives will be left to work on their own so must be able to use their own initiative, remain focused and self motivated and demonstrate maturity and responsibility in getting the job done.
Any applicant will be required to undergo a KPH test to assess their keyboard skills. KPH or keystrokes-per-hour is the assessment used to evaluate candidates typing ability and speed. Job applicants will be asked to type a set page of content during which his WPM (words per minute) rate will be assessed. To calculate the KPH the examiner will multiply the WPM x 300 to arrive at the number. For example, if the candidate achieved a speed of 45 WPM, their KMH rate would total 13,500 (45 x 300 = 13,500). To be considered for a role in data entry, most employers will demand a minimum KPH of 10,000.
Before starting your home working job, you could use one of the many free KPH tests offered online. This will give you the opportunity to assess your speed and to see how much improvement you may need to qualify.
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect and a few simple techniques can help to improve typing speed and develop levels of accuracy:
1. Try to memorise the position of the characters on the keyboard layout. Using touch typing techniques will increase speed.
2. Master the correct fingering to reduce time wasted on looking down to the keyboard all the time.
3. Learn all the shortcuts offered by the software on the particular application used by your employer. Don't become too 'mouse dependent' and concentrate on straightforward text typing.
4. Use the 10 figure keypad in addition to the numbers on the main keyboard above the letters. It will enable you to input much faster for sequences as small as 3 digits.
5. Gradually develop your confidence. The more you do, the faster and more accurate you will become.
One of the most effective ways to get yourself noticed amongst all of the other data entry candidates is to be able to demonstrate your added skills and capabilities gained through the study of associated applications.
The NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) and its sister, SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) both offer an IT Administration course which features skills and techniques that would be wholly transferable to data entry work. The qualification is delivered from Level 1 to Level 3 allowing a candidate to progress from basic skills to more advanced standards of delivery.
City and Guilds also offer a course in ICT Basics in Information Technology which is designed to provide students with an excellent grounding in the functions and features of computer application including; spread sheets, graphics, database and word processing.
Two new qualifications to be recently introduced to the IT training sector are the Computer Literacy and Information Technology qualification (CLAIT) and the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). The CLAIT is rapidly gaining recognition nationally within the industry, while the ECDL (although a relative newcomer to the UK) has an established reputation on the Continent and is widely recognised throughout the EU.
You may be thinking that this is an awful lot of effort to go to just to earn some extra income by working from home. Indeed, it may seem this way now - but what about the future? It may be that you are in that place in your life where home working is the right option for you at the moment. You may have pre-school age children or are unable to venture into the workplace because of illness or lack of employment opportunities in your local area. However, it may not always be like this and there may come a time when you want to be 'back out there' again. If, or when, that time comes, with these data entry skills behind you, you will already have a foot on the ladder. Besides, even if you do decide that you are happy to continue working from home, you will have the confidence in knowing that you doing the best job you possibly can and are fulfilling your personal and financial potential.