If you’re starting a remote job search or searching for how to find remote work, this article is for you.
Before you go on every job board and just start applying, read the tips below to speed up your remote job hunt and land a remote job faster.
We’ll start with how to find remote job opportunities to apply for (without getting ignored), and then we’ll look at how to make employers want to hire you in the remote interview.
There are a couple of big mistakes people make when looking for remote jobs, so I’ll cover those, too.
As a former recruiter, I focused on full time/permanent positions in my career, so that’s what I’m going to write about here: How to find a full-time remote job.
However, everything I’m going to share can work for finding a part-time remote job, too!
Here are the best tips for how to search for remote jobs and find remote positions to apply for:
If you want to find a remote job, you need to be looking in a field of work where it’s possible to work remotely.
So before you search for remote jobs, it’s really important to think about your career path and whether it’s going to allow for remote work.
And if not, you’ll need to adjust.
Some jobs just can’t possibly be remote.
For example, if you’re a nurse that’s working with patients, you’re going to need to show up each day, right?
So look at your education, work experience, and overall background, and think about which industries and fields of work align with that, while actually allowing remote work.
And then go pursue those opportunities.
Here are some very common fields where remote work is at least possible/feasible. This is not an exhaustive list, just some ideas to get you started:
Applying for random jobs and hoping they offer remote positions isn’t a good strategy.
You need to know who you’re applying to, and what their track record is of offering remote work (if they offer this at all).
Keywords you can search for when looking for positions online:
Things to try to notice and pay attention to during your research:
The bottom line is: It’s going to be much easier to convince employers to let you work remotely if they’re already letting other people.
You want the path of least resistance. You don’t want to spend years trying to convince some stubborn, old-fashioned employer to let you be their first remote employee, right? That sounds TOUGH.
Before applying to a remote job online, always look to see if you have some connection to that company in your existing network. Or, look whether you can build a connection to someone in that company.
For example, you can email someone who joined the company recently and say:
“I saw you just moved over to <Company> this year. I’m thinking of applying to the <Job Title> position at <Company> as well. How have you found the work environment since joining? I’ve read a number of positive reviews on Glassdoor but I always like to ask first-hand, too. Anything you can share would be great.”
You can also join remote-focused Facebook groups like RemoteLikeMe. This is an underrated method for finding remote companies and jobs, since you’ll be able to ask questions of other job seekers, gather intel on what works and what doesn’t, in real-time, etc.
You can also look at LinkedIn groups but I’ve found Facebook groups to be better in general. LinkedIn is catching up, though. Most of their groups used to be completely dead/inactive, but now it’s getting better.
So it’s also worth looking for a couple of LinkedIn groups dedicated to remote work, remote companies, etc.
Also, talk to people who are working remotely and ask them if they have any tips. Tell them that you admire how they’ve landed a fully remote job and are aspiring to do the same in your current job search.
A compliment like that always goes over well, and increases the odds that they offer you some help in your own remote work search.
Whenever sending a cold message to someone on LinkedIn, or other platforms, ask for one simple thing to start. (If you ask for a huge favor upfront like “Can you help me find a job?” people aren’t going to help you).
Ask if they have one tip, or if they did any one particular thing that helped them find a remote job.
That will ensure you hear back and get help from the remote workers you reach out to.
This is one way to make sure you’ll have a remote position if hired.
Some companies are 100% remote or “distributed”. Everyone is home-based. So search for these employers that are completely remote or distributed, since you’ll know every job they ever post will be a remote opportunity.
While it’s still not extremely common for a company to operate this way, they do exist. It’s especially common among startups and technology companies. , there are a number of startups and technology companies set up like this.
For example, the company that makes WordPress, the software this blog is built on, is called Automattic, and they’re fully remote with 100+ employees.
Here’s a map of their employees around the world, from their website:
With some Fortune 500 companies like IBM calling their remote workers back to the office, many smaller companies and startups seem to be embracing remote work right now.
Here’s a good job board for startups only:
And you can find more by searching, “Startup Jobs” or “Startup Job Boards” on Google.
There are a number of remote job boards that will show you nothing but remote positions.
These tend to be competitive since most people would love a remote job, and most people think to use a job board before anything else in their job hunt.
Yet as long as you don’t rely on remote job boards entirely, they can be a good piece of your job search.
You can use them to apply directly to companies but also get a general sense of which employers hire remotely, which industries hire remotely, etc.
Make sure you’re using the right keywords when trying to find remote jobs to apply for.
Typically, positions listed as “remote” will allow you to work from around the world, or at least within the country or within the time zone. (For example, a position listed as “remote” might not let you work in Europe, but they’re likely to be okay with you being based in Florida.
Whereas, positions listed as “work from home” are more likely to want/expect you to be in town.
You’re allowed to work from home, but they’re less likely to be okay with you living across the country or in another country. And they may want you to come into the office sometimes (For example once per week).
This doesn’t happen with true remote positions, except for maybe a quarterly or annual meeting where the company flies everybody in to get some face-time!
There are exceptions to this “rule” but that’s what to expect in general with these different keywords in online job postings.
The minute you begin talking with an employer for a remote position, they’re paying attention to how you communicate and respond!
These skills are super important for a remote job, so realize that this back-and-forth communication is your first test.
Communicate clearly, and make sure your messages aren’t vague or confusing.
And be attentive/responsive! Don’t let messages sit or “slip through the cracks”. Respond to everything in a reasonable timeframe. Try to respond within 24 hours, and within 4 hours during regular business hours.
Companies offering remote jobs want to hire people who are self-motivated, so you absolutely need to show them this.
In your interview, give examples of how you’ve taken responsibility for your work in the past without needing instruction or close supervision.
Show that you don’t wait for your boss to tell you each little thing to do – you identify problems on your own and solve them, you find opportunities and pursue them, and you make suggestions for how to improve the company.
Stories about a time your boss was out sick or traveling, and how you handled it, are always great.
Here are a couple of specific questions you might hear on this topic in a remote job interview:
If you’re talking to an employer about remote job opportunities and you’re excited about the prospect of finding remote work, be honest about it with them.
Don’t try to hide it or feel pressure to act like it’s no big deal.
I interviewed for a job a few years ago with a company that was completely remote/distributed, and I really wanted this job.
But I wasn’t honest with them about how exciting this was to me.
In fact, I didn’t even tell the truth about how I found them when they asked, “how did you hear about this job?”
(I had found them because I was searching specifically for remote opportunities but I tried to make it sound like I just stumbled across the job).
While you never want to sound like you only care about the job because it’s remote, it’s okay to talk about why you’re attracted to working remotely!
Just provide a few other reasons, too
Tell them you’d love a chance to work remotely because you think it’s the future of how companies will operate, and you feel it’ll make you more productive and more successful in your work, and then talk about how it’d be fantastic to ditch your commute and wake up focused and energized.
There are two reasons this is so important.
So be extra-prepared for all the top questions employers ask.
You can find a list of the top 20 essential interview questions and answers here.
And then be ready for questions about why you want their specific job, and why you want to work remotely too.
You need to stand out and be memorable in the interview if you want to get hired for a remote job. There’s always competition for these positions!
When it comes to writing your resume to get more interviews for remote positions, you’ll want to highlight a few key things:
1. Try to show that you communicate well with team members, your boss, and members of other teams.
Show you coordinated with people in projects, communicated clearly, etc.
If you led meetings, projects or other efforts, mention that.
Mention anything that shows off your communication skills.
Here’s an example of something you might say:
“Led multiple projects while coordinating efforts across three teams and 20 employees. Maintained project deadlines and milestones through frequent communication using chat, phone, video, and in-person meetings.”
2. Show off your ability to hit deadlines and be on time with goals.
If you want a company to hire you for a remote job, you need to show them you’re going to deliver results, and do it on time.
So on your resume, try to put a few bullets showing how you’ve delivered great work on time or ahead of schedule.
Along with putting this type of info into your bullets and work history, consider writing a brief resume summary section to show off these abilities too. (This is instead of an “Objective” at the beginning of your resume, which is generally a waste of space for most people).
Don’t bring your personal life and problems into the conversation when describing why you want the job.
If you say you have two young kids at home, you’re basically just telling the employer your workplace is going to be ultra-distracting and unproductive.
I’m not saying to lie, but the first thing you mention when talking about why you’re excited to work remotely better not be personal needs/reasons, or you won’t get the job most likely.
This is true on your cover letters, your interview answers, and everywhere else you’re communicating with employers and hiring managers.
In general, employers don’t care about your personal life and needs. They want to know what’s in it for them.
(This is just human nature… people are self-interested. And hiring managers are people, too)
So, if you want to get a full-time remote job, make the conversation about THEM just as much as it’s about you.
Talk about how you’re more productive at home, how you’ll be able to work more because you won’t be commuting, etc.
Those are things that will directly benefit them.
Make sure you take their perspective and think about their side before hopping onto a phone interview or going in to meet a company.
If you’re going to be doing video interviews, or even if not, employers are going to want to see your home office (or at least hear about your setup).
If you tell them you’re ready to work remotely, they want to hear about how this will go!
So make sure you have a quiet, great-looking space with plenty of room to work distraction-free to show off and talk about with employers.
If you don’t even have a designated workspace that’s clean, organized, and ready to go, then you really need to put a bit more time into thinking about why you want to work remotely, and how badly you want this.
Consider getting a good webcam and microphone or video calls.
Buy a nice desk or table.
Make sure your internet connection is super-fast.
Take the extra steps to get yourself ready BEFORE landing the job, and you’re far more likely to get job offers from employers for remote positions.
This will make you seem more confident in the interview too, because when they ask about these topics, you’ll be excited to talk about them rather than feeling nervous/timid.
Show them you have a plan to succeed after they hire you.
This includes your home office setup (mentioned above), but also HOW you’ll use that setup to succeed.
How will you learn the role and get up to speed quickly?
How will you communicate with the team on an ongoing basis?
Phone calls aren’t enough. Show remote companies that you plan to make the extra effort to integrate with their team and company culture via video chats, instant messenger, etc.
(This will depend on what the company already uses. This is a great question to ask in the interview.
This might also include visits to the headquarters or a regional office during the first year.
Ask what other people have done, and make suggestions/take initiative to show you’re thinking about this.
Don’t passively wait for them to dictate how everything is going to be.
Employers want to hire people who take action and take initiative for their remote jobs. They want self-starters.
Show them this, and you’ll immediately boost your chances of finding a full-time remote position!
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