Maybe you’re tired of hour-long commutes. Perhaps you crave flexibility. Or maybe you just don’t want to leave your pets all by themselves. Whatever your reason, working from home may be the solution. Although freelancers and consultants have worked remotely for years, managers were concerned it would reduce teamwork and productivity. Just a few years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only eight percent of all employees worked from home at least one day a week. Less than three percent did so full time. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Almost overnight, office workers became remote workers.
Instead of plummeting, productivity rose. Advances in technology made collaboration possible if not seamless. Even as vaccines reduce deaths and hospitalizations, plenty of businesses plan to keep at least some workers remote. According to Global Workplace Analytics by the end of 2021 nearly one-third of all employees will still work from home at least part time. Surveys show that over 70% of workers want a hybrid remote-office model even if their company is fully reopened. Unfortunately for job seekers this has made remote jobs even more competitive. If you’re wondering how to land a remote job –– even if you’ve never worked remotely before –– here are some ways to do it.
Emphasize Remote Experience
Even if you’ve always worked in an office, chances are you’ve had opportunities to work from home. Maybe it was finishing up a project or spending late night hours with your laptop. If you coordinated videoconferencing or oversaw collaborative software, that’s something worth mentioning –– even if you did it from the confines of an office. Even working on a personal blog can be relevant.
Keep in mind that companies seeking remote staffers value experience because of how challenging it can be for some to be self-supervising and focused. So if you have examples of independent work or how you excelled despite distractions it deserves a mention in your cover letter as well.
This is always important but if you’re wondering how to land a remote job, well your connections could be vital. That’s because those positions often go to company insiders. Most estimates are that around 80% of critical jobs are filled through networking. I recommend that you reach out to people who are at a similar level rather than higher ups. Emphasize your “transition” and if you are currently working avoid being negative about your position. Rather emphasize your desire for growth and interest in remote opportunities.
Start reaching out to your network and let them know your intentions. Consider attending professional events or meet-ups. Instead of asking about available jobs, find people who are already working remotely and ask them how they did it.
Don’t Ignore Career Sites
There are plenty of sites to choose from. I’d steer clear of the ones not geared toward remote work, although Indeed does have a growing number of positions available. However sites like FlexJobs, JustRemote, and Hubstaff Talent are laser-focused on working from home opportunities –– some of which are for full-time employment. Take the time to tailor your resume and be aware of the latest tweaks to keywords that can help you pass muster with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software. Keep in mind that each posting likely attracts hundreds of resumes. So it could be a while before you get a response.
Consider A Side Hustle
The answer to the Catch 22 of how to get a job that requires experience and how to get the experience you need for the job is answered with two words: side hustle. There are numerous gigs you can pursue but the key is focusing on the ones related to your career path. Not only will you earn money and a resume booster, you’ll become more acclimated to remote work. You might even get so many clients that you no longer need a steady paycheck!
Practice the Video Conference
Don’t worry, even people skilled at remote chats have tech fails. Still, considering the company is hiring you for remote work they need you to be adept at handling an online interview. So practice with a trusted friend and make sure your equipment is working, your internet connection is strong, and your lighting is favorable. Hiring managers sometimes ask where you will be doing the work –– if you are video chatting from your neat and organized home office it will go a long way toward reassuring them that you are right for the job.
Be Aware of the Scams
Not to end on a negative note, but remote jobs seem to attract a disproportionate number of scammers. In fact, FlexJobs estimates that across the careers sites and online postings on places like Craig’s List less than three percent of all work-from-home job listings are for legitimate jobs. Watch for red flags like “investment opportunity” and “unlimited earning” potential. Do not provide your personal information like your social security number. Don’t pay to get a job. Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It may take you longer to land a remote job than a traditional in-office position. Yet most people with work-from-home careers say the time was well worth it.
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