So, you’re ready for your next (or first!) remote job. Where to begin?
Searching for remote work might seem daunting, but it shouldn’t. There’s never been a better time to find a role you can do from anywhere.
Perhaps you’re switching careers and want a fresh start. Or, as cities around the globe continue to take pandemic precautions, you may not have any choice but to work remotely. Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered as you start your search.
1. Decide What Type of Remote Work You’re Looking For
Depending on your role and your needs, you may be more interested in full-time or freelance/project-based work.
Full-time remote positions are generally harder to find, according to Hubstaff, but offer more security and benefits. Freelancing, on the other hand, tends to be more plentiful and allows you to pick and choose your projects—and usually set your own hours. It may also pay more than full-time work, with the caveat that you probably won’t be eligible for spendy benefits like health insurance or a 401(k).
But if benefits are a must for you, staffing agencies like Creative Circle might fit the bill. Though agencies take a cut of your wages, the perks they offer (often including paid vacation and sick days, plus access to job training) and the convenience of finding work through their listings can be worth the hit.
2. Go to Platforms Advertising Remote Work Opportunities
The online platforms you’re already using—LinkedIn, Indeed, and so on—give you the option to filter your search to display only remote opportunities. Even better: Check out job sites focused specifically on remote work, starting with the wrkfrce job board. (We hope you find your dream gig right here! But just in case, other options include Pangian, FlexJobs, SolidGigs, and more.)
Social media platforms can be surprisingly helpful, too. If you’re a freelance writer, keep an eye on your Twitter or Facebook feed for journalists and editors who post about needing freelance support; if you’re quick on the uptake, assignments can follow. Major companies frequently have dedicated job-posting profiles on social media, too—for example, check out the IBM Careers handle on Twitter.
3. Be Flexible
If you’re looking for remote work, odds are you’re a flexible person. That adaptability can come in handy during your search.
Staying open to different kinds of roles and projects will increase your chances of finding a job or landing a freelance gig. Accepting an initial trial assignment—no matter if it pays a little less or takes you outside your comfort zone—might lead to more long-term work. But even if the project just nets you a new contact, the goodwill you’ll build with that person will make them more likely to keep you in mind for future gigs.
Being willing to work odd days or times—and perhaps sporadic hours for clients with busier and slower periods—can help set you apart from the pack as well.
4. Prepare for the Downsides of Remote Work
Working remotely may seem ideal in today’s environment, but it also offers some challenges, such as instability. And separating work from other aspects of your life can prove difficult: You’ll likely live and work in the same space, so the opportunity to work will be ever present and could lead to burnout. Or you might find that focusing and staying productive while working from home is tough.
Over at Forbes, Melody Wilding suggests that adjusting your expectations when you start to work from home is a good strategy for keeping yourself sane.
“During a typical work week, it’s likely you waste up to two to three hours a day at the office. When you work from home, that changes. Distractions, like your boss swooping by your desk, suddenly disappear. As a result, you’ll be more productive in less time,” Wilding writes.
“Adjust your expectations of yourself accordingly. Don’t hold yourself to sitting ‘butt in chair’ for the same 40 hours a week as you would in the office,” she adds. “And don’t feel guilty if the same work that used to take you eight hours now only takes you four or five.”
5. Have a Specialized Résumé and Cover Letter Ready to Go
Just as you would for an in-house position, put together a résumé and cover letter that highlight your strengths for each job that interests you. But for remote positions, take it to the next level: Focus on the specific skills you have that would help you succeed in such a role, such as (say it with me now) flexibility.
Plugging a polished paragraph about your remote work skills into cover letters can help you save time when you’re applying for several roles at once. But make sure to tailor the rest of each letter—and your résumé, including which prior jobs you include—to the position you’re applying for.
Whether working remotely sounds like your dream scenario or an endurance challenge, you’ll never be sure until you try—and now is the perfect time. Just take your job search step by step, and you’ll be Zooming into a virtual stand-up before you know it. Good luck!