Beginner’s Guide: how to land a remote job
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Let’s cut to the chase
Dreaming is nice, all sunshine and butterflies, in an ideal world situation and all.
BUT if you don’t get your butt moving to realize those dreams, you’ll never land that damn remote job, you’ve been thinking about for the last eternity and a half.
Why do so many people dream of getting a remote job, but don’t even try looking for one? It’s so bizarre!
Remote work is on the rise and it offers so many benefits, yet many folks are reluctant to even take this option seriously. What’s up with that?
It’s easier dreamt than done
I get it. For many people, including my family, holding a fully remote job may seem like a too-good-to-be-true deal. That can be a little discouraging and may crush any tiny trace of motivation to dig into it.
Personally, I’ve been asked about my job countless times by curious and judgemental friends and relatives, who just didn’t get it. My response was always enthusiastic followed by a big, bright smile. Yes, they may not get it, but no, I don’t care at all.
Landing a remote job is actually easier than you think
It’s true, the range of jobs and opportunities isn’t as wide as that of traditional, location-dependent ones.
However, if you think about it, even if you were looking for a non-remote job, you’d have to limit your search to a specific geographic location.
On the other hand, in a remote job search, this geographic filtering wouldn’t have to apply, in 99% of the job opportunities.
According to CNBC, 70% of the global workforce works away from the office at least once every week.
Technology has advanced in many directions, which inevitably caused the global working conditions to change for the better.
Technology is power
Essentially, technology has become a really powerful tool at the hands of employers and employees. It has offered opportunities to eliminate location restrictions, tools to improve productivity and communication, as well as connect the best and most suitable talent in the world with those in need of it.
This, in practical terms, translates to increased flexibility and efficiency of the workforce.
Suddenly, it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have the skills and resources to do your job. All the rest is up to you to fine-tune. You’re in charge of deciding when and where to work, what tools to use and how to set up the optimal working conditions that will maximize your job performance.
So, if you want it so badly, why haven’t you taken it seriously?
Is it right for you?
Working remotely is not suitable for everyone, for many reasons. Yes, anyone can do it, but not everyone has the skills and stomach for it.
Nevertheless, no one is born with the right skills and attitude; everything can be learned and practised, so fret not!
The first step to your remote job hunting will always be this question: Is a remote job suitable for me?
Unfortunately, not all jobs can be done remotely. For example, if you’re a plumber, you probably need to be physically present at a specific location, in order to do your job. I mean, I’ve never met a plumber who could do his job over the Internet, through an app or something.
In other cases, your job can practically be done remotely, but there could be other factors that prevent you from going remote. For example, if you are a parent of a lovely but super-noisy bunch of kids (pardon my language, childless professional alert!), then it may not be the wisest decision to start working from home.
Some practical things you can ask yourself
- Can I use my current skill set to do the remote job I want?
- If not, can I teach myself the skills I need to succeed?
- Do I have a dedicated space in my house that I can turn into an office?
- If not, what other locations can I consider? Cafes? Co-working spaces? Libraries?
- What kind of distractions could potentially force me to lose focus?
- How am I prepared to handle them?
- What does your daily schedule look like?
- Does it seem doable to juggle between work and personal life?
- Can I maintain some boundaries?
The answers to all these will come from an assessment of your current work situation and personal life.
Since you have already read all the above up to this point, I can only assume that you’ve already thought whether going remote is kinda suitable for you.
Don’t go into the fight without your weapons
Okay, you want to get a remote job. You’ve thought about it and it’s the right choice for you.
What’s next? The obvious: prepare to compete. How? With the right weapon: your resume.
The remote job market, like any other market, is a fighting pit. The competition is fierce, only this time your rivals are spread across the entire world.
On average, every remote job ad receives the resumes of over 500 candidates from anywhere in the globe. However, only a dozen or less make the cut for an interview.
The primary reason why most resumes are rejected will surprise you. It’s not because candidates lack skills or experience, but because they do not communicate them effectively.
Stand out from the crowd
If you want to make your resume stand out, you have to craft it in a way that screams you’re the perfect fit for the job.
The first thing you gotta do about it is the hardest. Ditch your old resume. Start over!
It’s difficult, I know. But that resume was not drafted for remote jobs, therefore it’s no good.
Your new resume needs to highlight your qualities as a remote worker and how they apply to your job. It also needs to clarify the tool kit you use to do your job, one that empowers remote work and makes you efficient and reachable in a distributed environment.
The key here is to draft a killer resume that stands out, one that is not identical to thousands of others. You don’t want the hiring manager to confuse you with other candidates.
Focus on what makes you an ideal remote match and build your resume on that. Depending on the nature of the job you’re looking for, it would be good if you could choose a design suitable for it.
Traditional resumes are so boring. If you want to stand out, you need to put a bit more effort to it. Build a web page, customize the content to address the hiring manager/company directly, prepare a youtube video.
There’s a ton of creative ideas that will definitely give you a significant competitive advantage. I guarantee that the hiring manager will be intrigued and you’ll get the call for an interview, even if you don’t have adequate skills and/or experience!
Where to look for a remote job
Whether you choose to go freelance or become someone’s employee, there are plenty of opportunities that allow you to do your job partly or completely remotely.
Most job boards still support the traditional kind of jobs, those you need to do in an office, with your colleagues at a close distance, a boss over your shoulder (literally), you know the usual deal. So, it’s wiser not to waste time on those. You know which I’m talking about: Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc.
Instead, focus on job boards that specialize in remote opportunities. You can find some of (the best of) them here:
- We Work Remotely
- Working Nomads
All the above offer opportunities in the Marketing, Tech, Writing, Administrative and Customer Service field, as well as other industries.
Looking into several jobs in those boards, you’ll figure out which companies have embraced the remote work concept and what their cultures are like.
You can research thoroughly and even message them directly, when there’s no suitable opening currently. Those companies are always on the lookout for the best talent and willing to create a position, if they find an extremely good fit.
Try the only freelance market
Alternatively, for those of you who’d rather do freelance gigs than more permanent jobs, there’s a whole lot of other choices. The most popular ones, with the most opportunities, are:
The job may be remote, but the recipe is the same
Prepare. Apply. Interview. Follow up. Get the job!
It will take time and the competition will be ruthless. However, I guarantee that you’ll get the job, only if you’re persistent and patient. Working remotely in a distributed environment (I always liked that fancy term) is a skill by itself. Nobody’s born with it.