The Ultimate Guide to Remote & Work from Home Jobs
This guide was created in response to an overwhelming amount of support, advice, and questions on my post on working from home and remote work opportunities. This article is an extremely collaborative piece, and most of the content comes from other contributors. Feel free to follow the links to their profiles and connect with them! The original post can be found here: http://bit.ly/RemoteWFH
What’s the Big Deal?
Over the past few years, work from home (WFH) and remote work opportunities have increased dramatically. In addition to full-time and part-time opportunities, many freelancers and entrepreneurs are adopting similar work structures. Recent studies have shown that remote work and WFH can increase employee engagement, productivity, and staff morale. These studies have also shown decreases in stress along with time and money savings from eliminating a daily commute.
Daniel Julien — “I’ve noticed the same patterns, especially in cities with poor transportation options. The most effective way to get what you want (work from home) is examine the skill sets that would allow you to work a role where you could work independently.”
Paula Gayle — “As an Online Business Coach, I’ve seen a lot of people wanting to work remotely. Most importantly, creating their own schedule and working from anywhere in the world. As a result, many have committed to starting an online business. I know many people who are successful in this field. Even though entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, it is recommended to develop skills in areas that seem to have more remote opportunities than seek out those jobs. Several of my colleagues within the Digital Marketing space actually hire a lot of remote workers, while some of us just contract with people who we’ve never even met in person.”
Considering the benefits that remote & WFH provide, it’s no surprise that many working professionals and employers are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Before continuing, it’s important to distinguish between remote work and WFH, as they are not the same.
Joseph Shao — “In my experience remote and work-from-home are often viewed a bit differently, where remote is typically seen as not working in the same city/state/country vs. work-from-home is more of a benefit of the work culture (option for flexibility within a centralized office). If you’re looking for remote roles, one thing I’d suggest is targeting companies where their workforce doesn’t appear to be centralized (i.e. they have folks all scattered across the country). The other thing I’d suggest is becoming highly specialized and good at something. I tend to see more openness to remote, for experts vs. generalists. Companies who want to do remote need a strong culture trust and open communication. Not every company is equipped to manage a remote team. I’d also add that they also need to have a culture that empowers their people.”
Lance Robbins — “There is a difference between remote and work-from-home. A “remote first” culture puts all team members on equal footing. They’re all distributed and that’s the norm. A work-from-home perk may actually be a negative if the office doesn’t have tooling and processes in place to make sure work-from-home employees have access to needed information and communications. Remote first companies have to have high levels of confidence and trust in their team members.”
Finding the Right Opportunities
It’s been made very clear that job seekers need to be critical while determining whether or not remote or WFH would be a good fit for them. If you have decided that you are a good fit, you need to know where to look for the right opportunities.
It’s important to note that not all careers are meant for remote or WFH. Many contributors to the post also wanted job seekers to be critical of the opportunities out there. Not all of these opportunities are created, maintained, or supported equally.
Sarah (Dougherty) Johnston — “At the risk of offending 25% of the population, evaluate the credibility of multi-level marketing companies before signing up. I have a completely unscientific guess that 30% of my Facebook friends are selling a product and only 3% are making money doing it.”
Nick Francioso — “Another problem with finding remote companies are all the blog posts about it list companies that have a huge remote customer service workforce which is usually entry-level positions and not mid-level or upper-level jobs. Startups are another great source for remote jobs check out https://startup.jobs/ and click Remote in the location search field. Also be wary with some remote jobs since there has been a lot of remote pullback in fortune 500 companies examples being IBM and my last employer Conduent. They have or are currently bringing a lot of jobs back in office that means relocating to where an office is or being laid off. I chose option c and found another remote job.”
This process is not always the same as a traditional job search. Several alternative resources were shared for finding remote and WFH opportunities that most job seekers may not know exist. Facebook groups, remote-specific search boards, and building internal connections were a common theme among the responses.
Robynn Storey — “As odd as this may sound, don’t look for jobs that say ‘work from home’ in the posting. Most remote positions don’t advertise this way….instead, look for positions that it may make sense to work from home or apply to companies that have a track record of their teams working remotely. And, almost any job that does not require an in office presence or work location presence (like a doctor, nurse or tactical role) can be designed to at least offer a candidate some home-based work arrangement. Especially if that candidate is someone they really want!”
Biron Clark — “If you want to work remotely, I’d seek out and actively try to get interviews with remote or “distributed” companies. This is easier than convincing a more traditional employer to let you be remote when everyone else is in the office.”
Sydney Asmus — “There are several Facebook groups! Like Kyle said, Remote like me is great! There’s also Remote Work & Jobs for Digital Nomads, Work from Home (w/o selling anything) and lastly Guavabean Freelancer Group, the latter of which curates an email list of jobs they’ve posted that week. I also work part-time remotely and love it, feel free to reach out.”
Lance Robbins — “There are remote specific boards and communities around remote work. I suggest monitoring these closely and inserting yourself into those communities. Some of my favorite are: weworkremotely.com , remoteok.io , or even using “Remote” as a search location on the more mainstream job boards. Identify some companies in your space that have a remote team and reach out to ask questions and learn more. Even if they’re not hiring. Just make connections. People are generally willing to help, and if they’re working remotely, they know how much of a value add it is and want others to enjoy it as well.”
Nick Francioso — “My last three jobs have been working remote. I wouldn’t say I did anything different to my resume to make me come off as an experienced telecommuter. Through my search, I compiled a list of employers that have a huge telecommute workforce. These positions are hard to find because if you search ”remote” or ”telecommute” you will find postings that say ”no remote openings” or ”remote not allowed”. I have found that depending on the organization they usually will have a filter option on their career page so can return only remote positions.
Joan Wyly — “I’d suggest when researching companies check out GlassDoor. Frequently employees will comment on perks or flexible work arrangements. Realize that not all industries and jobs are compatible with working from home so be sure that you’re not looking for the impossible.”
Landing the Job — Resumes, Interviews, & More
Once you have done some reflection to determine whether or not remote or WFH is for you and you have the resources for finding the right opportunities, you need to prepare to stand out as a competitive candidate for these type of roles. First things first, you need to be mentally and technologically prepared.
Joan Wyly — “Make sure that you have a home office setup or can create one — fast internet access, good cell phone reception, a printer, and an area set aside that will be free from distraction. When you have that discussion with a potential employer, they will understand that you’re serious about your job and not just looking at WFH as a perk. No employer wants to think that an employee’s idea of working remotely is from a Starbucks using public wifi.”
Laura Riley — “I work remotely with all of my clients. From that perspective, I recommend that people who are looking for remote work refine their remote communication. Every correspondence — email, phone, video call — demonstrates your ability to communicate remotely which is a prerequisite for excelling as a work-from-home employee or contractor. Write incredibly clear emails, make sure you work in a place with solid wifi, ensure that your headphone and speaker quality is on point. Those may seem like small details, but if someone lacks any of the above, they’ll likely be removed from the candidate pool.”
Megan McCarthy — “I’m starting blog content on this soon! After 10 years working in design agencies and in-house, I’ve now been building my business as an independent creative over the past two years while traveling all over Southeast Asia and have now relocated to Spain. 100% of my clients are remote and different time zones. My #1 tip: BE RESPONSIVE!!! As soon as you get an email or a call, respond immediately. You are already out of sight, don’t give a client or working partner any chance to put you out of mind!”
Nick Francioso — “To be competitive I would say apply within the first few hours of the job being posted, I have spoken to recruiters that have said within the first day they receive upwards of 2–300 applicants for remote positions.”
It sounds like the big theme here is communication. Make sure that you are able to communicate quickly and clearly through appropriate technologies. Ensure you have the proper equipment and software first. Then, set alerts, reminders, and check-in frequently with job boards and online applications to make sure you get the jump on new opportunities.
Now, Let’s get into some strategies you can use to appeal to the needs of employers through your experiences in resumes, applications, and interviews.
Adrienne Tom — “I am actually working with a project manager right now who would like to work more remotely on future contracts. In this case we will ensure that the career tools share this message — along with supporting examples of success in this arena. In addition, I’d encourage appropriate research when seeking roles. Does the company support working remotely? What is the company’s track record for having remote workers? There needs to be a fit on both sides for this set-up to be effective.”
Christina Heilig — “If the individual has been successful in online degree or certificate programs, that could be highlighted. I have had some of my most impactful learning experiences in asynchronous online course discussion boards and synchronous video collaborations. This can be good to mention because it demonstrates one’s ability to communicate well, be disciplined enough to attend to virtual courses, and to be well-versed in using non-traditional mediums for work.”
Stephanie Ranno — “A resume that shows goals being delivered upon in a timely way, outlines independent contributions and innovative ways you have used technology to stay connected to teams also helps.”
Nick Francioso — “Another key for landing a remote role is preparing for interview questions like “Why do you want to work remote?” “Have you worked remote before?” You have to show that you are disciplined to work remotely and it’s for a good enough reason. Don’t say something like I have two children and this way I can watch them all day and not pay for child care…. That would mean you are not right for a remote job because you won’t be focused on the job and will have a lot of distractions at home.”
Biron Clark — “And in interviews, be honest if working remotely is a big attraction to you. I had an interview in the past with a 100% remote company, and I wasn’t honest about how big a deal that was to me. I tried to act like I didn’t care, and just wanted the job for other reasons. Big mistake. I didn’t seem genuine, and they could tell. So be honest about it. Then, explain all the other reasons their job excites you and fits what you’re looking for, like you should in any interview. But I think it’s a mistake to act like you just stumbled on their remote job, if you actively searched for remote jobs. Just say so. You can say you’re excited to eliminate your commute and have more focus and productivity. That sounds great.”
Cassandra L. Murray — “I would add that in the interview, show that you are self motivated by providing examples of things you did on your own even if you were in the office. ‘When the boss was away’ stories are great!”
Suzanne Wolko — “My last job was a 3hr daily commute to be on conference calls all day with coworkers wearing headsets. No one talked to each other. I was told WFH was good during the interview and then changed once joined. So if WFH is part of the offer, get it in writing outlining all responsibilities and expectations as well as yearly review. Be open to onsite meetings etc. Set aside home office that is separate from kitchen table or common area. I’m more productive WFH when not interrupted all day or distracted by office stuff. Have examples of why it would benefit to be remote.”
Performing Well in the Role
Once you have landed a remote or WFH job, it’s important to make sure that you are still very intentional about your work habits and the environment. Ensure you have tools and plans in place to be successful in your role. After all, if you want to continue to work remote after the position, you’ll want to be able to tell a success story.
Jill Kraling — “There are both good and bad work from home opportunities out there. Working from home effectively is a skill, you have to put yourself in “your office” during work hours and be effectively in the zone. Getting dressed for work is so much easier (you can even stay in your jammies if you want), and it is a nice happy medium for earning income. It is perfect for some, but not for all. We are all different for a reason, that is why there are so many different jobs and careers out there.”
Amber Webb — “When you’re not physically there to be part of the collaborative process, you must be even more diligent in your responsiveness to show you’re invested in the relationship itself and development of the overall project/product.”
Maria Gomez — “I’ve worked remotely for the last 8 years. Here’s my “two cents”. Starting at a new company, encourage face to face first and transition to remote if possible. Ensure the proper virtual tools are accessible — phone calls are not sufficient to collaborate and work as a team in remote environments. And lastly, it gets lonely sometimes so encourage your team to have “social time” as a group face to face!”
It’s not hard to see why these types of positions are appealing. This will most certainly grow in popularity, but so will the competition for good opportunities. If this is a career goal of yours, try implementing some of the strategies listed, so you can be ready when that opportunity arises! Like my good friends Fifth Harmony say, “You ain’t gotta go to work, but you gotta put in work.” :) Fifth Harmony — Work from Home ft. Ty Dolla $ign
Brett Ellis is a career coach, professional development speaker, and Generation-Z recruiting expert. He runs Brett Ellis Career Marketing Services as a professional career coach and career development speaker. Most of his career has been spent helping college students excel in school and through graduation into fulfilling careers. His clients and reach now span into multiple industries, age ranges, and geographic locations.