If you’re starting a remote work job search or wondering how to find a remote job, then this article is for you.
After working as a recruiter for 5+ years, I’m going to share how you can find full time remote jobs so you can work from home and ditch that painful commute!
We’ll start with how to find remote opportunities to apply for (Part I). Then in Part II, we’ll look at how to make employers want to hire you for these highly-competitive positions.
There are a couple of big mistakes people make when looking for remote jobs, so I’ll cover those too so you don’t waste any time and only take the steps that are MOST LIKELY to get you a remote job quickly.
Let’s get started…
As a Recruiter, I focused on full time/permanent positions, 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.
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.
While it’s still not extremely common, there are a number of startups and technology companies set up like this.
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.
This is different than looking for 100% remote companies – in this tip, you’re searching for job boards that only feature individual roles that are remote.
They might be with companies that aren’t primarily remote companies, but that’s okay.
As long as they offer remote jobs, that’s what we’re looking to find!
We have a list of the 50+ best tech job boards, which might be worth a look overall since tech is one of the most common places to find remote jobs… but first, we recommend these three specific remote-only or remote-focused job boards:
As you do this research and search for remote positions, start building a master-list of employers that allow remote work.
Even if you don’t see a relevant job right now for that employer, put it on the list so you can check back later!
If you keep adding to this “Master List” through your career, you’ll have an easier and easier time of finding remote positions to apply for.
You can look on individual company pages to see if any positions mention the option to be remote.
You can search employer reviews on sites like Glassdoor, specifically looking for keywords like “remote”.
You can ask around in your network, too. Ask colleagues and friends if their companies allow remote work, and for what types of positions.
If you’re committed to finding remote work it’s worth building this master-list and adding to it each time you find a new employer offering remote work!
Join Facebook groups like RemoteLikeMe.
You can also look at LinkedIn groups but I personally have never found good, active LinkedIn groups on any topic other than job searching. Facebook groups are just much better communities, for now.
Then, talk to people who are working remotely and ask them if they have any tips.
Ask for one simple thing to start. (If you ask for a huge favor upfront, 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.
As you build your Master-List of remote opportunities (mentioned above), try to build a network of people who are working remotely or interested in finding remote jobs, too.
You’ll be able to help each other, you’ll hear about more opportunities, and you’ll gain good knowledge on how to convince employers to hire you for these jobs!
(More on that last topic is coming up in the next part of this guide, so keep reading).
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 timezone. (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.
In Part I, we covered how to search and find remote jobs to apply for.
Now let’s look at how to actually convince them to hire you in the application, cover letter, interview and more.
These jobs are competitive and you’ll need to have a plan for how to stand out and impress these employers. Fortunately, I’m going to share multiple ways to do this.
The minute you begin communicating 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 specific questions you might hear on this topic:
If you’re talking to an employer about remote opportunities, and this is exciting for you, 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!
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.
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 14 questions and sample 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).
This tip is super important for finding a remote position.
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 it rather than 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 employers 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 fulltime remote position!
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