For many, working remotely is the definition of “living the dream.” If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck! Remote work is on the rise; according to Inavero’s 2019 Future Workforce report, 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.
That said, it’s still not always easy to find remote jobs, let alone get hired for them. So much of traditional recruiting and hiring is still built around in-person opportunities. But if you know how and where to look—and how to stand out as a stellar remote candidate—it’s definitely doable.
Is working remotely your idea of a dream job? Then here are a few tips to help you find the perfect remote opportunity and get hired.
Figure Out What Kind of Remote Job Is Right for You
First things first—remote jobs aren’t all the same. So let’s talk about how to assess remote opportunities to determine which ones might be the perfect fit for you. As you’re getting ready to start your search:
- Consider how much stability you’re seeking. There are a lot of different ways to work remotely. You can work as a full-time, salaried employee for one company. You can work on a contract basis for a few months at a time. You can freelance for a variety of different companies. It’s important to consider what kind of remote opportunity is going to work for you. Looking for stability and opportunities for growth? Then a full-time position might be your best bet. But if you’re looking for flexibility and freedom (beyond location), a contract or freelance position might be a better bet.
- Think about when you want to be working. With in-person jobs, the expectations around when and where you’re going to work are typically pretty clear; you’re expected to be at the office from 9 AM to 5 PM—or whatever hours are standard for your team—every day. But with remote work, those expectations can be less obvious, albeit potentially more flexible. You can look for companies that keep pretty traditional work hours in your own time zone if that’s what works best for you. You can find a company that’s super flexible and will let you work anytime in addition to anywhere. Or you can match your ideal schedule to a time zone where those hours are typical. For example, if you live in Los Angeles and you’re a super early riser who wants to get started in the wee hours and be done working by 2 or 3 PM, you might want to look for jobs at companies based on the East Coast.
- Think about what kind of remote culture you want. You should always consider company culture; you want to make sure you jive with the people you work with and are on board with the company’s mission and values. But when you’re applying for a remote job, there’s an added layer. Every company does remote work differently. Some companies have a mostly in-person team with a few remote employees, while others are 100% remote. There’s also a difference between a job where you work remotely not too far from the office and are expected to show up in person several days a month and a job where you might be hundreds or thousands of miles away and never visit an office (or maybe there is no office). Some companies have regular video conferences to keep in touch with their remote team while others are more hands-off. No one culture is inherently better than the others, but it’s important to figure out what kind of remote situation is ideal for you.
Keep these preferences in mind as you’re identifying and evaluating potential opportunities—including when you’re telling contacts what you’re looking for and when you’re preparing questions you want to ask a prospective employer during your interviews.
Follow the Right Sites, Groups, and Accounts
The first step to successfully getting a remote job is, of course, identifying one you’re interested in. And in order to do that? You need to know the right places to look.
“There are hundreds of Facebook groups that list available remote positions…[like] Female Digital Nomads, Remote Work & Jobs for Digital Nomads, Digital Nomad Jobs, and Remote Jobs,” says Kelly Konya, chief editor for the global co-working space database Coworker.com.
Not only are these groups a great resource to connect with other remote workers and gain insights from their experiences, but they’re also a go-to resource for businesses and hiring managers to post remote jobs. “Plus, Facebook is so immediate that it's easy to reach out if a position opens up and almost instantly find out if the company would be a good fit for you,” says Konya.
There are also plenty of Twitter accounts devoted to remote job postings (like @Jobspresso or @WeWorkRemotely, and last (but certainly not least!), there are also a number of websites that list remote opportunities, including of course, yours truly, The Muse.
Network in Person...
While it might sound counterintuitive, in order to get a remote job, you should plan to put yourself out there in person—and a co-working space is a great place to do it. Many remote employees and business owners actually do their jobs at co-working spaces—which makes them a great place to seek out new remote job leads.
“I have found co-working invaluable to finding new remote opportunities for collaboration,” says Konya. Because co-working spaces bring together remote workers from a variety of industries, they offer the chance to connect with people you might not otherwise connect with, which can lead to new opportunities on both sides.
“If I need advice on coding or UX design, which are far from my specialty, I can easily reach out to the remote professionals at my co-working space and collaborate with them,” says Konya. “By making it known that I am a writer, people at the space have also enlisted my help, which has been a great way for me to find new remote opportunities and expand my network.”
But don’t just sit back and expect those opportunities to come to you. Start introducing yourself to other people. If there are any events (like a lunch-and-learn or a networking cocktail hour), make sure to attend and let people know what you do—and, more importantly, what you’re looking for (a remote job!).
If the co-working space has a member job board, scan the open positions, see if anything sounds like it could be a good fit, and seek out the person or team who’s hiring. If the business is operating out of a co-working space, chances are they’re going to be fine with remote work. And even if it’s just a temporary freelance opportunity, it can be a great chance to get your feet wet with a remote position.
...and on LinkedIn
In-person networking is always helpful. But if you want to work remotely, you’ll also need to network remotely—and the bulk of that networking will take place on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great place for you to connect with hiring managers and showcase your skills and experience. But if you want to get hired, you need a profile that’s going to get you noticed.
“My first tip for job seekers looking for a remote job is to update their LinkedIn profile,” says Caitlin Proctor, who works 100% remotely at resume writing service Zipjob. “Recruiters use LinkedIn daily to find candidates for a variety of roles. Remote work success often relies on computer savviness and digital skills. An optimized LinkedIn profile can demonstrate both” by showing you understand how to leverage digital tools to drive results.
Your headline is the first thing hiring managers and recruiters will see when they look at your LinkedIn profile, so make sure you craft a compelling one that grabs their attention. Instead of just listing your name and job title, use the headline as an opportunity to outline who you are, what sets you apart, and why you’d be a slam dunk for a remote position. For example, “Self-motivated and results-driven social media strategist responsible for driving 100K+ Instagram follows at [former company] seeking new remote opportunities,” is always going to be more effective than “social media strategist.” Then, once you’ve hooked them, you can go into greater detail in your summary section and continue to build your value.
After you’ve spruced up your profile, make sure you change your job seeking preferences to show recruiters you’re open to new opportunities. (You can find those preferences in your profile settings or read this.)
But you don’t have to wait for companies to come to you! Seek out hiring managers at your target companies, ask to connect, and send them messages. Reaching out directly shows that you’re proactive—which is especially important for remote employees who won’t have the same kind of face-to-face oversight as in-house employees.
Understand What Employers Look for in Remote Workers—and Pitch Yourself Accordingly
“As with every job search, it’s imperative to view the position from the company’s perspective. What are the top qualities a hiring manager would want for someone in this role?” says Megan Robinson, Managing Editor at DollarSprout, where she has not only worked remotely for two years, but also manages a team of both full-time and freelance remote employees. “Remote employers, in particular, want someone who is trustworthy, self-starting, a good communicator, and enjoys their work. Be sure to highlight those attributes in your resume and interviews.”
Before you apply or interview for remote jobs, take some time to pinpoint what makes you the ideal candidate for working remotely. For example:
- Are you self-motivated? Then you’ll want to talk about that in your interview (so, for example, you might bring up a time when you brainstormed a new wellness initiative for your team—and then brought that initiative to life).
- Are you insanely organized? Then you want to highlight how you’ve utilized those organizational skills in past roles (like when you developed a new system to streamline the processing of invoices—and then that system was adopted by the entire company).
- Do you have experience working remotely a few days a week in your current role and understand the challenges? Then highlight your remote work on your resume (you can list “remote” instead of location and highlight your experience working off-site in the bullet points of the position), talk about it during your interview, and speak to how you’ve been able to anticipate and overcome challenges (whether that’s by developing a daily schedule that maximizes your peak productivity times or joining a co-working space to foster collaboration and help you do your best work).
The point is, when you’re applying for a remote job, you need to understand what sets you apart as the perfect remote candidate—and figure out exactly how to frame those characteristics to potential employers.
Know Your Technology
Being tech-savvy is important for any job—but it’s especially important when you’re working off-site.
“If you want to work remotely, you need to make sure you're up-to-date with the latest tools and software for your industry. You'll be doing all of your work online, so knowing the avenues to do that most efficiently is a big plus for an employer,” says Audrey Fairbrother, Marketing Manager for Boldly, which offers subscription-based remote staffing solutions. According to Fairbrother, showcasing your relevant tech skills on your resume and cover letter is a must in showing your employer that you can hit the ground running and handle any tech-related issues—even though you won’t be working in the office.
You’ll also need to leverage technology for your actual job search—particularly when it comes to interviewing. Virtually all remote jobs will want to schedule a video interview. So make sure you not only understand how to use the technology, but also test it pre-interview. The last thing you want is to hop on a video conference with your would-be supervisor only to find out your computer audio or camera doesn’t work (which isn’t exactly a good omen when all of your face-to-face time at the position would be conducted via video chat).
Make sure you’re up to speed with the technology you’ll need to successfully work remotely—to accomplish the goals set out for you and to communicate with your team. And if you’re not, get there! Watch tutorials on YouTube, take a refresher course, and do whatever it takes to get yourself comfortable.
Working remotely is becoming more of the norm every day. And now that you know how to find (and land!) the remote job of your dreams, all that’s left to do is get out there and start looking!