Get Organized: How to Find Remote Jobs

Mar 11, 2019 · 6 min read
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Working from home is a dream for many, but finding a job that lets you work remotely isn’t always easy. Productivity guru Jill Duffy offers key tips and trick for finding jobs that don’t require you to show up at an office every day.

By Jill Duffy

Plenty of people would give up their commutes and business attire if they could only find the right job that let them work from home. Despite remote work becoming more commonplace in the last two decades, postings specifically advertising remote jobs are still rare among the thousands of other listings a job search might turn up. How can you find a job that doesn’t require you to go into the office? This piece will give you some hints about to get started.

Aside from good old-fashioned networking (which can be tough to do with remote employees, who, by definition, aren’t clustered together in any particular location), there are three main ways to find remote work jobs. You can:

  1. Look on ordinary job boards using the right filters.
  2. Search broadly using the right keywords.
  3. Target all-remote companies by following their job listings.

What Is Remote Work?

Some organizations bill themselves as “100-percent remote.” These companies have no physical workspace, and all their employees work from home or another location of their choosing. Their official headquarters might be nothing more than a mailbox. Organizations that operate 100-percent remotely often have employees who are spread across many time zones around the world.

Then there are organizations that take a more mixed approach. You might find a business that leases office space, which some of their employees use either daily or occasionally. These same teams might have other employees who are 100-percent remote, depending on their position or life circumstances.

Freelance and contract jobs are often remote, though people don’t always lump them in with other remote workers. Freelancers and contractors are in a unique position in that they’re not full-time salaried employees. They typically don’t receive company benefits and are responsible for paying their taxes rather than the employer withholding them. If you’re keen on having a flexible job that doesn’t tie you down to a physical location, however, don’t discount this type of remote work.

Use Job Boards in Your Search

Depending on your field, you might find other online sources of remote jobs and positions. For example, GitHub has a plentiful job section for computer programmers. Graphic designers can promote their portfolios while also looking for gigs on Dribble.

On the major job boards, you’ll find that “remote” or some variation of it is now an option you can enter for location. LinkedIn uses the word “remote.” accepts both “remote” and “home based.” Glassdoor specifies “Remote (Work From Home), US” and “Virtual (Work From Home), US.” Be careful that autofill doesn’t send you to jobs in Remote, Oregon, which is a real town.

As you look through the results, check whether any additional locations appear on the positions that interest you. Read the job description thoroughly and carefully. Some remote work requires you to be within a day’s travel of a physical office location where you might have to show your face from time to time. Or, you might have to work similar hours as a team in a particular time zone.

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Use Keywords, Too

You can use these keywords to search job boards or the internet more broadly, but they aren’t strictly interchangeable.

As mentioned, freelance and contract positions are often remote, even if a job listing or call for submissions doesn’t mention it. Partial remote or flexible usually means you can work remotely for stretches of time or occasionally, such as every Monday and Friday. You might have to show up regularly for something on site, such as client meetings or in-person training. Virtual generally means the same thing as full-time remote. Government agencies still typically refer to remote work as telecommuting.

A few other terms for remote work have fallen out of favor. If you see “e-commuting,” it might be a sign that the organization is out of touch. The term “cottage industry” has largely fallen out of use, too, though you might still hear it in some manufacturing sectors.

Target All-Remote Companies

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When positions become available, you’ll hear about it first. Apply to anything remotely interesting to you, but know that you are competing against a much broader group of candidates than you would be if the job had geographic restrictions.

A few companies that are entirely remote or embrace remote working are:

Is Remote Work Right for You?

Those of us who work remotely revel in the conveniences we get from it. There’s nothing quite like putting on a load of laundry during your lunch break or nearly always being available to let a service technician into your home. People who don’t like it usually miss social interactions with colleagues, find it difficult to adhere to a self-imposed schedule, and view many of the conveniences as distractions.

If you’re cut out for remote work, you might even be more productive than when you’re in an office. One study done on a call center found that a self-selected group of employees who worked from home full time answered 13.5 percent more calls than people who remained in the office.

Landing a remote job is tough. These jobs are highly competitive in part because remote workers aren’t restricted to being in a physical location. That means the candidate pool is deep. Additionally, despite anecdotal evidence that remote work is increasing, the share of full-time employed workers performing some work at home remained relatively flat from 2009 to 2017, according to the American Time Use Survey.

Once you’ve kicked off a job search for remote work, you’ll also need some insider tips and tricks for acing a remote job interview. I’ll cover those in next week’s column. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for work, you might also try reading PCMag’s story on Alexa skills that can help you find a job.

Originally published at

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