Illustration of a keyboard, mouse and clipboard with pencil and lines of text.

With an abundance of data in the digital world, data entry technicians empower their clients by providing an effective way to compile, organize, and study information. They work with machine learning technology and other processes which require human interaction to gather intelligence about the business world. This gathered information can be used to generate leads, analyze competition, improve internal processes, and find new revenue streams.

How Data Entry Professionals Work

Data entry professionals work either as individuals or as part of a larger team. Most of their day is spent analyzing data and entering it into spreadsheets or content management systems. These professionals often work from a home office and are proficient with productivity suite software like Microsoft Office or Google Docs.

Additionally, data entry specialists can be found in almost every industry on the planet. Many professionals may have additional training and certifications to handle specialized projects such as medical transcription or paralegal research.

What Data Entry Specialists Do

Data entry professionals use technology and typing accuracy to transfer large amounts of text into a file system, which varies from company to company. In a typical situation, a client uploads anything from purchase receipts to insurance records into a secure online account for a data entry professional to access. Software technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may be used to transfer some of that data into the completed format, while other parts may be typed by hand or dictated.

While modern technology simplifies many aspects of gathering data, it also creates a need to efficiently and accurately access and process all of that information. Data entry specialists are very detail oriented with excellent focus, enabling them to work quickly and accurately.

Here are some examples of a typical data entry project:

  • Converting paper files into digital records
  • Transferring data to content management systems
  • Combining receipts and other documents into a spreadsheet
  • Acquiring contact information and generating leads
  • Compiling corporate sales data into a unified format

How to Attract a Great Data Entry Professional

Top data entry professionals are in demand as more and more companies need their expertise for countless types of projects. Be sure to communicate what sets your company or project apart in the project description; it will help lay the groundwork for a great working relationship.

Also be sure to state the specific type of data entry that you’re searching for. For instance, if most of your data is numerical, then you’d want a professional who specializes in 10-key data entry. If documents will be scanned and transferred to spreadsheets, then you require a data entry specialist who’s familiar with those technologies.

Here are a few other criteria that can narrow your search:

1) Give Excellent Project Details

Always be sure to give a thorough description of the work to be completed, including details like timelines, required industry knowledge, the types of software being used, and the overall expectations. The more details provided up front, the easier it is for skilled professionals to submit proposals.

2) Focus on Initial Communication

Since data entry professionals should be highly proficient in typing and communication, proposals should be well written and replies should be prompt. Be wary of those who take more than 24 hours to reply to emails since that could indicate potential issues down the road.

3) List Any Technical Requirements

Pay close attention to the technical requirements for the project. Those with extensive experience with your project type will be able to hit the ground running.

4) Consider Security Requirements

Never assume that candidates will be using encrypted software or other security protocols that your industry may require. Include any regulatory requirements within the job post and ask applicants whether they can meet them.

5) Consider Starting with a Smaller Project

One final aspect to consider is hiring several professionals for a smaller, paid project. Although this adds an extra step in finding the right talent for your larger project, it also enables you to see firsthand which professional is the best fit for your needs.

Sample Project Description

Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.

<Project Title>

XYZ Company is looking for an experienced data entry specialist to transfer sales invoices, customer records, and marketing data into our main database. We are anticipating that this will be a 6-8 week part-time project with hours ranging from 10-25 hours per week. We are looking to pay a flat hourly rate for these services.

Weekly Services and Deliverables:

  • Transfer invoices and customer data into our content management system
  • Enter notes into database (when appropriate) to clarify any changes
  • Compile all of our past/current marketing campaigns into one central file
  • Create weekly reports throughout the project

Skill Requirements:

  • Experience with Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Excellent grammar and a high attention to detail
  • Data entry expertise

To be considered, please submit a proposal. We expect to engage a professional by the end of this week.

Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.

Choosing the Right Data Entry Pro

Since you’ll likely have several qualified data entry specialists to choose from, be sure to take your time in selecting the right one. Conduct a phone or video interview to get a better feel for things like professionalism, industry knowledge, and personality. Use the interview as an opportunity to gauge the important traits that profiles don’t capture.

Finally, don’t shy away from asking tough questions. Seeing how candidates react under pressure is a great preview of how they’ll handle your project.

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