Recently the online community has increased its availability for work-from-home opportunities, and one of the more popular options for many is that of data entry.
If you are a skilled individual who has data entry skills or experience and looking for a way to work from home there are many options from freelance work to contract jobs to help supplement your income either part-time or full time.
It takes discipline and organization and can be a lucrative opportunity.
What is data entry?
As a data entry administrator or clerk, you can work in various industries from finance to healthcare and retail. It is work that involves entering data into a computer either by text or voice recording.
Anyone who has high attention to detail and organizational ability can do data entry. There are several tasks involved with verifying data, adding information and editing existing data electronically.
What does a data entry person do?
A data entry administrator organizes, compiles, updates and manages data. Information is added to spreadsheets or directly onto databases. They would also sometimes transfer data from paper documents to a computer onto existing software or spreadsheets. Depending on the objectives of the job, a data entry job can have one or all of the following duties:
- Collecting, collating and entering data into a company’s computer system
- Completing various general administrative responsibilities, such as distributing and sorting mail
- Scanning and storing documents electronically
- Keeping tabs on accounts and customer records
- Answering telephone calls
- Sorting and distributing data and documents manually and electronically
- Performing systematic backups on the database
What skills do you need to become a data entry clerk?
The skills that a data entry administrator would need will matter the most in jobs like these, especially if you are working from home. Even though you may not be making high-level decisions, your job will still be an essential one.
It will lend a hand towards many marketing intelligence processes. Both the soft skills and hard skills you need, to be successful at your job when working as a data administrator include:
- Fast typing speed
To become a data entry specialist, you would need to input large amounts of data as quickly and efficiently as possible and have the quickest turnaround times. Most companies require you to type fast and at least be able to type about 40 to 50 words per minute.
Some employers may require more. This involves being comfortable working with all the devices such as keyboards and a mouse. There are things you can do to improve your typing speed and accuracy and the best one is to ‘practice.’
- Written and Verbal Communication Skills
Skills including grammar and spelling should be on a high level and will reflect in your written skills. As a data entry clerk, you will be working with information and text which cannot have bad spelling or poor grammar.
Communications skills are also a top requirement for a data entry role. Interacting with people on all levels such as managers, customers and team members, face to face or via phone calls may be a responsibility for the role and a high level of this is also required.
- Familiarity with basic software
Knowledge of basic software is also a key requirement for a data entry job and confidently working with different computer software will be part of the duties and responsibilities.
Some of the more common software data entry specialists work on include Microsoft Word, Excel, and word processors. You may also need to work on the company’s database software, and should be able to quickly adapt to it.
- Operating standard office equipment
Standard operating equipment will be a requirement and you should be able to handle it to perform tasks assigned to you. Many companies have industry-standard equipment that you may not be used to, which helps to increase productivity and workflow.
The ability to operate these systems will be a requirement in most data entry jobs and some of the most common company equipment include:
- Dictation machines
- High attention to detail
Having high attention to detail will work for you as it shows your hiring manager or recruiter that you can focus on details properly. When you can concentrate on tasks, you can perform them better, accurately and faster. Especially when it comes to typing in data onto forms, and editing it.
One of the most common traits companies look for, not just in data entry but most other jobs are high attention to detail, this is because it minimizes the risk of errors and increases productivity. This is a valuable skill to have especially in data work.
- Time-management and organizational skills
Getting a lot of work done in the least amount of time is one of the most common requirements of any data entry job. If time management and organization is something you are good at, then this will be advantageous.
It will help you plan things better, prioritize your workload and help complete tasks according to your goals quicker and more accurately. Data input jobs require these two skills as essential.
Organization can mean anything from typing fast to batching, sorting, and archiving files. Some of the common examples of organizational skills include the following:
- Goal setting
- Meeting deadlines
- Keeping things tidy including your workspace
- Research and data collection skills
One of the other things you, as a data entry clerk will be required to do is research and collecting of data. Even if this is basic information, it will need some skills. This may depend on the company or the task but knowing how to do this will help in this and any other job.
It can be anything from researching the results of a case study to a laboratory experiment or surveys and interviews, online market research and more. Chances are all of this will be performed online over the internet.
Having the know-how of how to gather information and researching basic data, as well as understanding what’s needed, includes a few of the following things:
- Analyzing data
- Gathering relevant information
- Understanding the sources of information that are useful and reliable
- Using techniques and tools of data collection
- Defining problems of the research
A list of other valuable skills for a data entry job
- Effective problem solving
- Good reading and comprehension skills
- Analysis of information
- Numeracy skills
- Knowing how transcribing works
- Operating a numerical keyboard
- Finding duplicated data
4 Types of data entry jobs
Now that you are aware of the necessary skills for the job as a whole, below are 4 different types of data entry jobs you can consider:
- Typist: in a job as a typist you will perform duties that involve typing such as entering key information into reporting systems, text documents, correspondence and more
- Data entry keyer: as a data entry keyer you would be either scanning or entering data from hard copies into a database via a computer system
- Data entry clerk: as a data entry clerk, you would be transferring data such as text and numbers from one source to another, via the use of a keyboard.
- Transcriptionist: as a transcriptionist, you would be listening to recordings either in meetings or discussions, sometimes live or pre-recorded and transcribing them onto a report or other documents.
How to successfully work a data entry job from home?
Working from home has many perks for a data entry clerk or an administrator. There are a few things you can do to start a data entry job from home, and these will include some of the following:
Assess your equipment and skills
To make sure you have the necessary skills, you can check against the above-mentioned list or check out the skills required for data entry roles on website job descriptions like Totaljobs or Indeed, for example. If you think you don’t have the right skills for the job, there are a few different ways to improve your data entry skills as well.
Before you can apply for the work-from-home role you should ensure you have the right skills for it, to improve your chances of being hired. This also includes making sure you have the right equipment such as a laptop or desktop computer with basic office software such as Microsoft Office, a keyboard, mouse, reliable internet connection, a headset for video calls, a phone line if needed and a comfortable place to sit without any distractions.
Creating a dedicated workspace for you is key to being successful at any job and will help you focus better. Make sure to keep it well organized and clutter-free.
Update your curricular vitae
Putting together a CV or updating your existing one is an essential step in starting a data entry job from home. It requires a professional-looking CV and will make a difference to hiring managers and recruiters. If you want to get to the interview stage, make sure you do two of these things:
- You highlight all the necessary skills required for the data entry job
- You make it look organized and professional
How to find a work-from-home data entry job?
Job board websites
One of the best places to look for data entry jobs is on job board websites. You can find both freelance jobs, full-time, part-time and contract or temporary jobs, however, the best would be to secure a full-time position with a company that allows you to work as a data administrator from home.
There are plenty of job sites such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Reed, Totaljobs and more. Make sure it is from a reputable company and a legitimate job and apply for it directly. If you are new to the game you can begin with freelance jobs from other websites such as Fiverrr.com or Upwork and go from there. These will pay you per project and can help you add to your experience.
Use social media
Another great way to start working a data entry role from home is by using your social media to expand your search and platforms such as LinkedIn are a good place to start looking for available positions. Use key phrases such as “work from home”, “remote work” and “data entry jobs” within your search.
Time for the interview
Once you get called for the interview, which could be one of three types – face to face, phone call screening or video call, you should make sure you do your research on this too.
Put your best foot forward and do the right research about the company, the job, the team, their clients and more. The more you know about them the better prepared you will be for any surprise questions and you can impress them by giving them the idea that you do more than what’s needed.
Always be professional and courteous and highlight your strengths in your answers. You can use the STAR methodology when doing this.
Does data entry pay well?
According to some top UK job search websites, the average salary for a data entry job can range anywhere from a starting salary of £18,000 on the lower side to £26,000 on the medium or higher side. This will depend on the company, location, the job requirements and whether you will be working full-time, part-time or as a freelancer.
The highest paying data entry job, which can average up to £40,000 is that of a head of data entry clerk, and this can be a possibility for anyone who puts in the hard work, dedication and hours. If you are looking to do a data job from home, the more dedicated you are, the better you will be at it, and the better your chances of a promotion as well.
To answer the question of how you can do data entry work from home, the above information should get you on a good start. They can be done both from home or from the office and many companies offer jobs suitable for all levels from entry-level to experienced individuals.