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You want to work remotely…
But you don’t know where to start.
Just as soon as you have the thought, doubts creep in.
You start telling yourself “I don’t have the experience”, “I don’t have any skills”, “I don’t even know where to begin”.
You, my friend, are in the right place.
Remote work is the future, you can mark my words on that. There has never been a better time to start working remotely.
A remote work lifestyle has changed my life and allowed me to travel full-time… and spend all my time with my cat, which is a dream come true.
In case you’re still feeling skeptical, here’s some quick facts from a 2020 remote work study done by FlexJobs:
- In the last 12 years, remote work has grown more than 150%
- Remote workers, on average, make $4k more than non-telecommuters
- Remote workers are happier and stick with their job longer than their non-remote work counterparts.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The pros and cons of working remotely
- The best job boards for finding remote work
- How to get remote work even if you’re a total beginner
- How to avoid remote work scams
- How to tailor your resume for remote work
… and so much more! Without further ado:
Table of Contents
Is a Remote Job Right For You?
Before we go any further into the hows, you should probably determine if remote work is actually right for you.
Let’s start with why.
Why do you want to work remotely? Is it so you can make more money, skip the commute, or spend more time with your family?
Another thing to examine is your personality style. Are you introverted? If so, remote work might be a great fit. If you’re extroverted, it will be extra important to maintain an active social life for your own sanity if you work from home.
There are some other things to consider, like your expectations. What do you hope to get out of a remote work situation? If it’s more time, it’s important to keep in mind you will likely be adhering to a similar schedule as if you were in the office, just without the commute. Unless you decide to start working as a contractor or freelancer, of course.
Pros and Cons of Remote Jobs
Working remotely is great, but it’s not without it’s flaws. I’m not going to tell you that it’s all rainbows and butterflies all the time, because it’s not.
Working remotely has undoubtedly been the best thing I have ever done in my adult life. It has freed up so much opportunity for me that I would have never had otherwise. It can do the same for you, but it won’t be without struggles.
Pros of Working Remotely
- No commute. Honestly the commute was the worst part of my day when I was working in an office. If your commute is stressful, it can be dangerous to your physical health. So… definite pro!
- More family time. I could easily fit this into the pro AND the con category… I say that in jest. I don’t have a family, but I do have a pet. The ability to spend more time with your loved ones – no matter how many legs they have – is an incredible benefit to working from home.
- Saving Money. You save sooo much money when you work remotely. Gone are the days of dropping $15 on lunch or taking frequent trips to the vending machine. Better for your body and your wallet. Oh, and no gas costs either.
- Travel! The biggest motivator for a remote work lifestyle for me was the ability to travel. I traveled full-time in an RV the first 2 years of working remotely. My office had ever-changing mountain views, ocean views, desert views, and more. If you’re not the full-time traveling type, you could even vacation without having to ask for time off work.
Are these reasons enough to convince you that working remotely is for you? Give it a minute, we haven’t gotten to the cons yet.
Cons of Working Remotely
- Isolation and Loneliness. This is something I don’t see many people talk about, but it’s a real struggle. Even for me, an introvert.
Working remotely can feel really isolating, especially if you live alone. Depending on the nature of your work, you may be communicating with a team virtually, but it’s not the same as in-person contact.
- Poor Work/Life Balance. Work/life balance isn’t a struggle for everyone, but it is something many remote workers tend to have a hard time with.
For some people, they will just keep working because work is home and home is work. The lines are easily blurred when you don’t go to an office and leave it at the end of the day.
And there are some employers who don’t care about boundaries – like contacting you any time of day. I have experienced both and still struggle to maintain an appropriate work/life balance.
- Underworking. This is a problem for those who either have poor work ethic, aren’t self-starters, or people who just don’t like their jobs. It’s easy to just not work because you’re at home and you don’t have the boss breathing down your neck.
Some people just work better with supervision – and that’s not a bad thing. This is why it’s important to know what drives you and how you work best.
If you’re the type of person who works best with direct supervision or thrives in an office environment, remote work might not be for you.
But if there’s a benefit to remote work that you feel would improve your life for the better (like travel), a few sacrifices might be worth it.
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Best websites for finding great remote jobs
Here are the best places to start when you’re looking for remote work jobs:
FlexJobs is my number 1 pick for finding remote jobs. I have used it personally, and I know it well. FlexJobs offers full-time, part-time, and even freelance jobs. The majority of the jobs on the website have the ability to be remote… and the best part is: FlexJobs is a scam-free job board. Each job is reviewed by a real person before being listed.
They have job postings from a huge variety of industries – all the way from entry level to more advanced positions.
With FlexJobs, new listings are posted all the time. And, you typically hear back pretty quickly once you apply for a job.
On FlexJobs you can search jobs for free, but in order to apply to them there is a small monthly fee for the service. A small price to pay to keep it scam-free!
If you decide to use FlexJobs, you can use my discount code NOMAD for up to 30% off the membership fee, depending on which plan you choose.
Outside of being a paying member, FlexJobs has a ton of free resources for remote job seekers. I highly recommend checking out their blog regularly.
Remote.co (not to be confused with remote.com) is actually a part of FlexJobs, but offers additional job listings. Their blog is an excellent place to learn more about remote working and remote companies. The jobs on Remote.co are high quality and hand-picked. New jobs are posted daily.
This is a great place to look for work, but also a really great place to learn more about working remotely… which is essential when you are just starting out.
Hubstaff Talent is a great job board for those seeking remote full-time, remote part-time, and even freelance and contract employment. With hundreds of jobs ranging from customer service, social media, marketing all the way up to web design, there’s something for everyone on this platform.
Jobspresso is a frequently updated job board – one that you should definitely check every day. Jobspresso has a high number of remote jobs and new jobs are added constantly… which is a great thing in a competitive field.
Jobspresso features jobs from entry level customer support positions to more advanced jobs like marketing, web design, and more.
Pangian is an incredibly fast-growing remote work platform with a huge community of remote work seekers. What’s unique about Pangian is the ability to connect with other remote workers worldwide with their chat forums. What better way to get remote working tips (and/or digital nomad tips) than from those who are already doing it?
The name says it all: Working Nomads. This is a job board created for people who want to work while traveling. A remote job is the answer! Working Nomads features thousands of jobs in categories like Marketing, Development, Writing, Customer Support, Education and more.
This website is easy to filter and search, with different industries color coded to make it easier on the eyes.
Virtual Vocations boasts over 21,000 remote jobs and a blog with helpful remote-worker info. It is free to sign up for limited access, but if you want full access to the website they do charge a fee. Industries you’ll find on this website range from entry level to skilled – so there’s really something for everyone here.
Other Methods for Finding Remote Work
In addition to signing up for and searching these job boards daily, there are some other things you can do in your quest for remote work.
Update Your LinkedIn
Update your LinkedIn with a professional photo, a headline that indicates you are looking for remote work (and in what industry) and your job experience. Tailor your job experience with skills relevant to remote work.
You can also search LinkedIn for remote jobs and make connections with professionals in the industries you’re interested in. You don’t have to spend a ton of time on LinkedIn, but it can bring opportunities your way.
Another benefit of using LinkedIn is having a professional profile to send potential employers to. It’s always nice to have a face to put with a name.
Social media and your network
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know how much I advocate using your network!
Your network can be the most valuable asset in your search for remote work, or even freelance gigs for experience.
What I mean by your network is your friends and family on social media sites, specifically Facebook.
Most people have hundreds or thousands of friends and acquaintances on their Facebook pages – make a post that you’re in the job market for remote work! Include what industry, you never know what who you know might know. Did that make sense? 😉
If you are friends with your current employer or coworkers and don’t want them to know you’re looking for remote work, you can filter out certain people from seeing your posts. Or, if you’re still not comfortable making a public post, join remote work groups.
I would recommend to join remote work and entrepreneur groups whether you’re making a public post or not. Entrepreneur groups are great for aspiring remote workers. This is because many entrepreneurs and small business owners will post about needing help as their business is growing, and this is where you come in my friend.
I’ve had success using many remote job boards and gig boards, but the majority of my remote work has come from my network on Facebook. It has provided me with my favorite jobs, my highest paying jobs, and my most loyal clients.
Plus, once your friends know you as the person who does “xyz” remotely, you’ll start getting tagged in every opportunity that they think you might be interested in.
What are remote employers looking for?
Let’s hope this doesn’t happen during your interview 😂
Remote employers are looking for many of the same qualities in a job candidate as an in-person job would. But, they are also looking for a few other qualities specific to working in a remote environment.
Remote employers are looking for employees they can trust. They want people who don’t need to be micromanaged. Working at home or anywhere outside an office is much different than an office environment. If you have kids at home, you may have to deal with a lot of distraction.
Employers need to know they can count on you to get the job done. Being a self-starter is incredibly important for remote work.
Remote employers are also looking for problem-solvers. This is especially important in a remote environment, because you won’t always be able to get immediate answers to problems you have.
Problem-solving is also an essential skill to have as a remote worker when introduced to a tool or software that you’re unaccustomed with. It’s totally fine to be intimidated with a new tool at first, but employers need to know you’re comfortable learning new things… especially if it’s essential for the job.
If you don’t have remote work experience or are unsure if you possess these skills, don’t worry. These are things that can be learned or improved with time. The most important thing is to your willingness to learn and your passion for doing the work.
How to Tailor Your Resume for Remote Work Companies
Although it may not be stated in the job description, remote companies are looking for individuals with flexible work experience.
If you don’t have prior remote work experience, don’t worry. There are skills you have that you may not even be aware of that you can highlight as flexible work skills.
- Tailor your resume differently for each job that you’re applying for. You want to strategically mention skills in each resume that are specific to the job you are applying for.
- Instead of an objective, write a short summary of your qualifications for the job in question. This is more likely to make an employer want to keep reading your resume if you start with your qualifications up front.
- Keep your experience relevant to the job at hand. If you have job or life experience that you can’t present in a way that seems relevant, don’t include it.
- Include your LinkedIn profile and personal website if you have one instead of your home address. I definitely recommend creating and filling out your LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already at a minimum.
A personal website like a blog is a great idea to use as a portfolio for employers to learn more about you, but not absolutely necessary.
- Focus on skills in your past job descriptions instead of your duties. Make sure to focus these skills on what remote employers are looking for.
This is possible to do even if you don’t have any office experience. If you were a server or bartender, you could focus on skills like the ones following.
Keep in mind, these are just a few of the skills you could highlight or put a spin on to make relevant for remote work – I can think of a dozen more. Be sure to make it relevant for the job at hand.
- Communication skills – communicates well with a team
- Maintaining calmness under pressure
- Maintaining quality standards in a fast paced environment
- Excellent memory recall
- The ability to problem-solve under pressure
- High level of organizational skills in a fast paced environment
- Include all relevant experience. Do you have a side hustle or hobby that you use skills that have lended to good remote work type experience? Include it! This can be anywhere from crafting (especially if you sell your work online), running a blog, writing books or articles, etc. If it’s relevant, include it. I can’t stress this enough.
Creating a resume tailored for remote work could (and should) be an entire article in itself. I encourage you to spend some time thinking about your previous work experience and about how you can spin it in a way that it’s relevant to remote work.
When writing your resume, keep the most important and relevant information closer to the top. Be confident in your language and don’t write huge paragraphs.
Top skills needed for remote jobs
- Problem solving
- Strong work ethic
- Self starter
- Great digital communication – for email, Slack, etc
- Time management
- Tech-savvy or willingness to learn
What companies hire remote employees?
There are many companies that hire remote employees consistently throughout the year. There are many small companies that don’t hire very often and have a small team of remote employees, and then there are giants like Amazon who have hundreds (if not thousands) of remote employees and hire all the time.
Check out this list on FlexJobs blog for the top 100 remote companies in 2020. Familiarize yourself with these companies and follow them on social media, especially Twitter.
It’s important to apply for a desired job as quickly as possible, and social media is a good place to keep updated on new listings.
The truth is: more companies than you think hire remote employees. Especially now since the 2020 pandemic happened, companies and employees alike are realizing just how important it is to offer remote work and have the ability to work remotely.
We haven’t seen the toll of the pandemic yet, but I do know one thing for sure… remote work is about to get a LOT more popular and accessible. Remote work is the future.
Avoiding Remote Work Scams
I have to break it to you, scams are out there. They’re pretty common, but can be easy to spot and avoid once you know what to look for.
You will find remote job scams on a lot of different job boards, because most job boards don’t personally review the job listings. (FlexJobs does personally review each job, start with them for a scam free job hunt)
I recently wrote an article about how to avoid work from home job scams, check it out here.
The most important things to keep in mind:
- If it seems too good to be true, it is. Run.
- Think rationally, don’t be persuaded by your emotions or desires for money or remote work.
- Research the company to make sure they’re real, try to find past employee reviews.
- If they ask you to send money, run. Some companies will ask you to pay for a background check, nothing more.
- Jobs stuffing envelopes aren’t a thing. Stay far away.
- If the job has anything to do with wiring money, cashiers checks, or running “personal errands”, run.
- If they pay a lot for only a little work, it’s a scam.
These are the main points, but please check out the how to avoid remote work scams article to keep yourself safe.
Bonus: Tips for getting remote work experience
Have you gone through your job experience and your skills and still feel like you don’t have what it takes for remote work? There are ways to get experience, especially if you want to change industries.
Changing industries might be necessary if you currently hate what you do. If you hate your job now, you’ll hate it just as much from home. Even worse, you’ll be more likely to slack off since you’re at home… not good at all.
Try freelancing. Freelancing is a great way to gain experience in a new industry and make some money while doing it. You can take courses online to learn skills for the new industry you want to work in, and work one-off freelance gigs to gain real-world experience.
You can also offer to do the work free for a friend who needs it in exchange for a testimonial or professional job reference.
Fun fact about me: I currently work a full-time social media and marketing gig for a company I adore. I never had any formal education on marketing, I am all self-taught.
I took several marketing courses online, tested out my skills for myself and others and built a small portfolio. I then started freelancing and supported myself with freelancing for a couple years before I stumbled across this job on (you guessed it) Facebook.
I went from knowing absolutely nothing about what I’m doing now, to doing it professionally for a company I have long admired. I did this by teaching myself online, offering my newfound skills to my network, freelancing using FlexJobs and my network, and then landing this job.
Putting it all together to find remote jobs in 2020
Finding a remote job doesn’t have to be hard. Like all good things in life, it takes time, dedication, and persistence.
Remote work is the future. I am sure of this. There is no better time than now for you to get into this burgeoning way of working. Working remotely can give you the ability to travel the world… or just skip the commute and spend more time with your cats. Or dogs. Or kids. Or pantsless… no one’s judging here.
- Determine if remote work is right for you.
- Make a list of your personal remote work pros and cons. Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Know the right places to go for remote job hunting, and stay vigilant to avoid scams. (FlexJobs alleviates that risk, start there)
- Analyze your skills and past experience. Know what job experience you can spin into remote work acceptable experience.
- Craft a remote work resume specific to each job you are applying for. Focus on previous job skills in your experiences rather than duties.
- Research remote working and connect with the remote work community.
- Use your network and connect with other remote workers via social media.
Landing a remote job is not harder than landing an in-person job… it’s just different. Craft your resume. Apply to jobs that interest you. Connect with remote work communities. And don’t give up! You got this.
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