There seems to be a veneer of mystery surrounding those who work from home or otherwise remotely.
Upon finding out that their friend works from their couch, their backyard, a sunny café –anywhere they want to – people will often ask: How’d you land that gig?
And while that question can be rhetorical, people often don’t know where remote jobs come from, how to get them – and how they might follow suit.
But landing a remote job doesn’t have to be the labyrinth it appears. It’s not hard once you know what to do and where to look – and if you read on, you’ll be working from your preferred non-office location in no time.
1. Ask Yourself if it’s the Right Move
The real first step is to think – to stop and think – about whether a remote job is right for you.
It seems obvious – who wouldn’t want to cut their commute to zero and make money in their pyjamas?
But really, you need to establish whether a remote job is right for you – as a person.
You’ll need to consider your personality type, your needs, and your style of working.
For example, if you need a lot of human contacts, the joy of working remotely could fade quickly to loneliness as you realize how much it reduces your social interaction.
2. Know Where to Look (And Where Not to Look)
When it gets right down to it, knowing where to look and finding the right companies to contact is often the biggest obstacle.
It’s the reason remote jobs have such an air of mystery in the first place – I’ve never seen a job like this posted anywhere, so where do I start looking?
The good news is there are plenty of remote-job-specific resources that compile and post job listings explicitly catered to people looking for this kind of work.
Of these, FlexJobs is practically the unanimous first recommendation from any remote worker. They offer a wide range of jobs (full-time, part-time, freelance) and new postings go up often.
Their most useful service is the paid version ($14.99/month), but it is the best out there.
Other options include AngelList, which caters specifically to start-ups (and is free); Remote.com, which is free with a premium option and posts jobs with the highest degree of frequency; and WeWorkRemotely, which is mostly a jobs board for software-related positions but is free and easy to navigate.
Your usual platforms (Indeed, Monster) are not generally helpful – probably why people often don’t know how to find remote jobs. But the above sites should be enough to get you started on your search.
3. Know What Remote Employers Look for
Once you know where to look, you’ll need to consider what employers want in a remote employee.
The simplest way to put it is that they need trustworthy people who can get work done autonomously and who enjoy the work they do.
This last bit might seem like a strange requirement to highlight, but it’s rooted in motivation – because if you don’t enjoy the work, you’ll find it very difficult to work efficiently, especially with no supervisor breathing down your neck.
4. Learn Some Basic Technical Skills — and More
Beyond often-intangible qualities, though, you’ll also need to consider what skills you can offer and find ways to either brush up on them or demonstrate that you possess them.
Technical skills, for one, go a long way in the remote jobs world.
As well, the remote job market is continually shifting, and it can be hard to pin down what skills will stay useful in the coming years.
Some of the more consistently valuable skills go beyond technical certifications, but it’s still important to demonstrate them somehow – via your education, with a portfolio of your work, or by linking to a regularly maintained blog of yours.
5. Tailor Your Resume to the Company — and to the Remote Aspect
It’s good practice – a requirement to tailor your resume to any job you apply for.
You’ll still want to prioritize the skills and requirements explicitly listed in the job posting, but
with remote jobs, you’ll also want to consider that the position is remote and arrange your resume accordingly.
For example, it’s a good idea to mention any software you’ve used that’s relevant to remote jobs, including Slack, Basecamp, Trello, Hangouts, Zoom, Zapier, and many others.
This lets employers know that getting you all set up and ready to work will be simple – and if you haven’t used any of this software, take time to familiarise yourself with a few.
You’ll also want to drive home your communication skills and make sure your emails are prompt and error-free.
Again, while communication skills are essential for any job, this is especially true when all the interactions you’ll have with your employer are electronic.
6. Be Ready for the Video Interview
Once you’ve landed an interview, it’ll almost certainly be a video interview – similar to in-person, but it has its pitfalls.
Make sure you can use video conferencing apps, such as Skype, and if you get enough notice, test out whatever platform the employer has selected for you.
Make sure you have access to a quiet area with a reliable internet connection. While employers generally understand if you have some connectivity or other technical issues, they’ll be less understanding as they persist.
Ask questions about the company and your responsibilities, particularly regarding benefits and expectations for how you should keep in contact and turn in work.
And of course, make sure you’re dressed appropriately! Even though it can feel a lot different during an interview in your own home.
Landing a remote job can seem like an entirely foreign concept – it’s sometimes unclear where to even start looking.
If you follow this advice, though, navigating the world of remote jobs will become a lot easier. Who knows, you might just be fielding those questions from your friends once you’re working from wherever you like.