These days, remote work is "in." More and more people are bidding farewell to the commute and traditional office set-up to work at home (or from anywhere they choose). High-speed internet and a slew of project management and communication apps have made it possible for individuals not to be bound by the "in-person office."
From work flexibility to having more time with family, the perks of remote work are plentiful. Professionals realize that remote jobs are the way to go. According to Buffer's State of Remote Work Survey, 99 percent of their respondents wanted to work remotely.
Are you in that group? If so, we want to help you land the right remote job in 2020. Competition is fierce, but you can come out on top with the right steps.
Before we get into our practical and useful tips, let's outline a few things you need to prepare for as you get ready to apply for a remote job in 2020.
We know that those Instagram photos of people working in Bali, or taking their dog in a walk in the middle of the day look enticing. However, getting a remote job is not as easy as just applying for one on a job board. There are some hard truths that you need to be aware of so that you are not discouraged from going down this path:
Finding a remote work position can be challenging. – Not every company promotes that they offer remote work. Many startups don't have the platform to mention it, and some larger companies only share that information with high-value candidates they are interested in. You are going to need to know the right places to go online to find a remote job in 2020.
There is much competition. - Again, 99 percent of people who responded to that Buffer survey showed interest in working remotely. Also, as more remote job opportunities become available in other industries, more people will be attempting to "go remote." So, come to grips with the fact that this journey will likely not follow a straight line, and there will be many other professionals going for the same jobs.
The sometimes-intense competition for full-time remote work jobs sent Jenna into a career of freelance writing:
I considered trying to find a new job that was 100% remote but those jobs are few and far between and I know there is a ton of competition for them.
This isn't meant to scare you away from searching for remote jobs, but quotes like these can help you understand how competitive the market is and how important it is to stand apart from the crowd.
Many startups and lesser-known companies may only advertise on social media or in Slack communities you are not a part of. – If you are not comfortable with social media and networking online, then finding a remote job in 2020 may be next to impossible. Many small and large remote companies only advertise remote jobs on Twitter, Instagram, or Slack communities.
Some companies may be looking for many years of experience or previous remote work experience. – This truth is one that slips up a lot of remote job seekers. Nevertheless, it is crucial to be aware of this one. Many remote companies want only to hire someone who has multiple years of experience as well as previous remote work positions on their resume. This preference doesn't mean that you cannot find a remote work role if you do not have the experience, or if you are entry-level, but it will be difficult and will require more determination and creativity.
While these are some hard truths to understand, it is crucial to remember that…
Finding a remote job in 2020 will not be as easy as those Twitter or Instagram posts make it out to be, but it is definitely far from impossible. Here are some reasons why you should still pursue a remote work position:
As with any other job, your skills, experience, and work ethic do matter. – Look at what you have to offer. The chances are high that you have more to play on than you think you do. Use any experience, whether in the office or out of it, to your advantage.
Your next full-time or part-time remote work job could be a Twitter post or Slack group away – When it comes to finding a remote work job, you have some control, and one of the many ways you can exert this control is by getting active on social media. The companies and clients you want to work with are on there. So, be sure to be where they are.
You can better your odds by networking (in-person and digitally). – Your job search will be much easier, depending on your network. Tell every professional you know that you are looking for remote work, whether they be friends, family, or former co-workers. Your next gig or job could be right around the corner.
Leon, a journalist, describes how a contact helped him land his remote position:
Working remotely came completely out of the blue for me. I was a journalist working long hours at The Telegraph in London. Then one day I was offered a new job by one of my contacts that combined one of my big passions, choosing my own hours and a complete change in career. I decided to roll the dice and take it, to give up my solid established job working for a big internationally-recognized newspaper and join a tiny team working on Chessable, a start-up chess learning platform.
If you are driven, motivated, and open to putting yourself out there, you can attain a remote position in 2020. Here are some ways you can make the task of landing that remote job in 2020 even more of a reality:
This step may seem like a no-brainer, but many people skip this. Do not think remote work will work for you just because it sounds good. Take the time to sit down and research the pros and cons of this work arrangement. Decide if it will help you be productive, or if those household chores will be too much of a distraction. Honestly, ask yourself if you can handle the isolation, self-motivation, and other situations that remote work brings with it. To help you make this decision, take a look at A Guide to Working from Home: Pros and Cons, the Job Search, and Productivity Tips.
Knowing why you are going remote is key. Whether it is for a better work-life balance, to be more productive away from a cubicle, or to give you more flexibility to be self-employed, knowing why you are doing this can keep you motivated and help you pick the right opportunity. For example, if you are going remote to have more free time on the weekends, you probably want to steer clear of opportunities that are not clear about work time expectations. Also, be clear about what you want. What are you hoping to gain from working remotely? Understanding this will be the key to you getting the remote work arrangement that works best for you.
When it comes to remote work jobs, employers are looking for the usual skills: organization, excellent communication, the ability to multitask, and other general job-related skills. However, remote work does bring up another unique set of necessary skills. The very nature of this work arrangement requires attributes that let employers know that you can still be productive away from an office. Remote work employers typically look for people who are:
Think about how you embody each of these critical principles and include them on your resume and cover letter. Also, pay attention to the job descriptions. Look at keywords they are consistently using and add them to your resume and cover letter.
Since the world of remote work is digital, you will do the best when you are focused on online communities and job sites. Here are some places you should focus your search on:
Freelance Marketplaces – This is a great way to find companies that are open to remote work arrangements. You can use this information to know which companies to reach out to separately, or you can work as a remote freelancer. Many companies are open to turning contract work into full-time or even part-time positions. So, don't rule out contracting or freelancing to get your foot in the door.
Twitter – Your main resource here is going to be #remotework. With this hashtag, you can find remote work job postings and numerous articles and trends related to the topic. If you see a company frequently posting about remote work, the chances are high that they are a distributed team. Also use #remotegigs #remotejobs #jobs #nowhiring #telecommute & #remoteworking to find remote work opportunities.
Instagram – While not as active as Twitter, you can find some excellent remote work opportunities here. Check out the #remotework and #freelance hashtags. Again, companies that hire remote usually post here.
Facebook – The groups are going to be a great help here. Do a Facebook search for remote work, remote work jobs, digital nomads, and your specific industry. You should find some groups you can join that post remote work positions.
Reddit – Check out the remote work and freelance subreddits. People have been known to post jobs or information about opportunities. Also, be sure to search for subreddits about your specific industry.
Slack – There are tons of remote work-based Slack groups out there. Check out:
As with a traditional job, knowing the right person to speak with is critical. With startups and small businesses, you want to reach out to CEOs, business owners, founders, and co-founders (people who can make the final decisions). For larger companies, you want to keep an eye out for recruiters and human resources professionals.
With this task, LinkedIn is going to be a significant and helpful resource. Use it in tandem with another job or social media platform. For example, if you find a CEO on Angel List that you would like to work with, look them up on LinkedIn and learn about them. This step will allow you to understand what they do and show that you have done your homework should an interview arise.
Some companies will hire within a specific time zone, but if you are open to working during a variety of time slots, you could increase your chances to get a telecommute position. It is common to see some companies specify that they need someone in PST, GMT, or EST. However, others may be open about the time zones they accept.
Also, if you do see a position that you like and they do seek a time zone that you are not in, don't hesitate to ask if they will make an exception. Some remote companies may be open to changing up the format for the right person. Nevertheless, be sure that you can work within a time zone that is not your own if you choose to proceed.
As mentioned above, your network can make your job search a lot easier. It was found that approximately 70 percent of jobs are not posted online. This statistic means that your best bet for finding positions that you are qualified for is through your personal and professional network. As a result, tell everyone you know you are looking for a remote work opportunity.
Whether it be friends, family, or past colleagues, inform them of what you are looking for and pass them your resume if possible. Again, LinkedIn is going to be a helpful resource here. See whom you are connected to, and then see if any of the companies you want to work for have employees who have a connection to your friends or family. You'd be surprised about the relationships your personal and professional network may have. So, make checking on this a priority during your job search.
Unfortunately, some people will use remote work as a ploy to get you to apply or click on the job description. So, be sure to read through each job carefully. Look out for any mention of potentially needing to come into the office, needing to pay any money or anything that looks suspicious. Every work-from-home or remote work opportunity isn't legitimate.
In her early days of working remotely, Kati, an entrepreneur details the frustrating nature of dealing with remote work scams:
As a side hustle, I began creating contracts and intake forms for other daycares, which lead to some desktop publishing for local businesses. At the time, most remote work opportunities were envelope stuffing or court record research. And there were lots of scams that I, unfortunately, bought into.I was frustrated and wanted to make more money, so I created my own niche.
Some people just want your personal information or will encourage you to apply for you only to find out that the job is either partially remote or not remote at all. If in doubt, don't hesitate to have a remote colleague look at the description.
They may be able to pick out some problem areas that you may miss. Also, be sure to look out for work arrangements that may not work well for you. If you want work-life balance, watch out for mentions of weekend work, evening work expectations, and strict vacation day policies.
Hybrid situations can work, but you need to know how the company handles a partially remote work culture. Unfortunately, some companies will not have the infrastructure to support remote employees, or they will reward those who do decide to come into the office. Some hybrid arrangements can even promote a Us vs. Them culture where you would be left out of crucial decisions, or are not given the tools to communicate with in-house staff consistently.
Katerina, a team collaboration consultant, describes her experience with working with hybrid teams:
When I worked for a hybrid team, the constant challenge was to stay integrated and updated. The team had no experience with remote workers. This problem combined with time zone differences made it an awful experience. However, hybrid teams can also work. It is a matter of people realizing that the complete team counts.
So, do your research. Check out places like Glassdoor to see if anyone has left any reviews about how the company handles remote workers. Also, see if a friend or former co-worker has worked there or knows someone who does. The last thing you want is to be in a position where you are working for a company that offers remote work but does not have "remote-friendly" policies.
Congratulations! If you have made it to this step than that means you have connected with a remote company, and are in the interview process (or are soon to be). Now is the time to remember that they are not only interviewing you but that you are also interviewing them. You want to make sure this remote team is a fit for you. Take the time to ask the right questions. Ask about their remote work culture, expectations, time zones, meeting routines, and how they define success. Think about what you would want to know in the short-term and long-term and develop questions that address your inquiries. You want to make sure you both are the best option for one another.
Know your tech – Technology is what makes remote work possible. This step will require you to have a firm grasp of the necessary tools involved in location-independent work. The standard categories are project management/task delegation, communication and collaboration, scheduling, and time tracking. Some of the specific standard tools used by remote workers are Slack, Zoom, Skype, Asana, Trello, Todoist, and Google Drive. Become familiar with those, and check out the most popular tools for each category mentioned above.
Network with other job seekers – You do not have to endure this journey alone. Think about the many job postings you come across in—and outside—of your industry. Other job seekers have the same experience. You can increase your chances of landing a remote job in 2020 by working with other job seekers. They may know of something that you are a good fit for, or you may come across a listing that works for them. The more eyes you have looking out for you, the better. So, when you attend that next virtual or in-person job fair, get to know those looking. You may be able to help one another, especially if each of you is in another industry.
Look outside of the United States – Major cities in the U.S. are not the only places where remote work can be found. Many nations outside of the U.S. have startups and larger companies that are embracing remote work. Again, Angel List is an excellent way to find international companies that offer remote work opportunities. Also, be sure to keep an eye on global remote companies on Twitter and Instagram.
Visit a coworking space – See if you can make a trek to a coworking space once or twice a month to conduct your job search. Many people there are remote workers and may be able to connect you with opportunities. Also, watch out for workshops and events held at these spaces. These are also going to be locations where remote workers, freelancers, and those with ties to location-independent companies might be.
Finding a remote job in 2020 doesn't have to be impossible. The key is to know what you are looking for, know where to look, and put yourself out there. Stay committed to finding flexible work options. It may not happen in the timeline you have set, but if you stay diligent, you can find the ideal remote work opportunity.
For more insight into the remote work lifestyle and how others found their remote work positions, check out our interviews.
Also, be sure to check out the RemoteHabits job site for an updated list of new jobs.
You can find the right remote job in 2020.
Best of luck in your job search!
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