How to Find and Apply for Remote Jobs
It’s important to think about your reasoning for applying for a remote job. Remote work is the same as any other job, except for the fact that you can work in a home office, at a coffee shop, or even on your living room couch. However, it’s imperative to understand that a remote job requires the same attention as an office job. If anything, you’ll need to know how to be more communicative, know how to utilize every tech skill that you have, and perfect your time management techniques if you want to land the remote job that was meant for you.
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How to Work Remotely: Skills You Need
Communication is a crucial skill for any office worker, but it is doubly so when working remotely. Knowing how and when to communicate to coworkers and your managers is essential when you don’t have the privilege of walking over to another employee’s desk to talk work. You’ll need to remember to keep the lines of communication open at all times and update your team about what’s going on in your world.
Before you apply for any remote jobs, you can test out a system of consistent communication at your current job. Write down all of the tasks you would normally communicate with your team and managers and set up a loose schedule for when those items need to be discussed in order to keep workflow steady. Check in according to your outline and see what might need tweaking. Any manager and team will appreciate an employee that keeps the lines of communication open and takes the initiative addressing key times of the month and regular production issues that need to be discussed.
When you’re working remotely, you need to know that you have everything that you would normally have access to in an office setting. You should have all pertinent resources so that you can do your job to the best of your ability. This means before you ever apply, you should know that you have a reliable computer and a way to conference into meetings via phone or video when applicable.
The other portion of this has to do with your own tech skills. When something goes wrong, and it will at some point, you’ll have to know how to fix it. If your computer is on the fritz, if a program stops working, if your video service isn’t transmitting as it should, you need to have a backup plan for each of these common issues. When working remotely, routine tech issues cannot stop you from doing your job.
How do you prepare for issues like this? Well, having a backup computer is always a great start, but more importantly, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of common tech issues and how to address them. Browser problems, slow internet, and issues connecting to devices and printers — these are all everyday tech complaints that you should have basic knowledge of. It’s never a bad time to start educating yourself about how to fix these problems and if you’re thinking about applying for remote work, now is a good time to start researching and practicing.
This might be the most important piece of the puzzle when working remotely. Those who are unfamiliar with remote work can be susceptible to distractions. Your regular work hours should be respected and should be allocated for nothing other than work. Even if you have a non-traditional schedule as a remote worker, when you’re working, that is all that you should be doing.
Of course, taking breaks as you would in an office setting is crucial in order to avoid burnout, but I’m not talking about breaks. Setting a work schedule for someone who is new to remote work can seem strange, but it’s essential to your success. Plan to block out certain hours of the day that you will be working and unavailable to distractions. Your home, or other chosen location, is your new office and it should be treated as such. Your employer is going to expect that you are completing tasks in a timely manner without constant reminders, which means that it’s a good idea to have a plan.
If you are hired on as a remote worker, it’s a smart idea to refine your tasks within your working hours even further. You won’t have a boss right next to you telling you exactly what to do and when you should do it, and they shouldn’t have to. Set yourself up with a daily schedule and break it down by tasks. What are the major tasks that you need to get done weekly and daily? Set a time that you will be working on those and stick to it. It will keep you focused on the task at hand and it will make you more organized. You’re less likely to forget about a certain task when you already have it planned into your work day/week. Show your future employer that you know how to be a self-starter and that you have enough initiative to get things done without constant supervision.
Where to Find Remote Jobs
Those who are able to master the above skills, are often very successful in remote work. They feel freedom as a trusted employee and are frequently able to accomplish more tasks with their day than they would in a distracting office environment. There are many other benefits to remote work, especially if you’d like to apply for a job that is held in another state or even out of country, but you’d rather stay where you are. As such, if you’d like to open yourself up to a remote job market, but you’re not sure where to start, let’s talk about how you can accomplish just that.
Make Your Case for Remote Work
First, if you already have your eye on a particular company, make sure that the position you’re applying for is remote-friendly. Some companies aren’t comfortable with remote work just yet and it’s not going to feel organic for the employer if they are sensing that they are being pushed into remote work when they’re not set up for that just yet. You should be transparent with all of your potential employers. Let them know right away that you’re looking for remote work. They shouldn’t find out late in the process that you can’t be there in person.
If you think that a position has potential to be remote and you can show them how you can accomplish that, as long as it is completely practical, reach out to the employer and start a conversation before you apply. You don’t want to waste you time or theirs, so it’s a good idea to start a dialogue about it before you really get into tricky discussions about your potential employment. Often times, an employer will specify that remote work isn’t allowed and it’s important to respect that, but if it’s not specified ask the recruiter some questions and be transparent about your remote work needs, why it would work best for you, and how it would benefit the company. Remote work isn’t only made to help create a more flexible work experience for you, but it should also benefit the employer that is offering it. Make sure that you tell them how your output will be improved by allowing you to work remotely.
12 Sites for Remote Job Searching
Now that we know how to talk about the possibility of remote work with an employer, where should you start looking?
Traditional Job Search Engines
Most job sites that you may have used in the past can be used to look for remote work. Often times, the search engine will ask that you enter a keyword about your preferred job in order to search. In your case you’ll want to enter the word “remote” and any other specification that meet your needs. This trick works perfectly on traditional job sites, like Monster, Careerbuilder, and Indeed.
Targeted Search Engines for Remote Workers
However, there are others out there that cater to telework and remote workers. Flexjobs, We Work Remotely, and Remote.co are a few examples of job search sites that particularly accommodate those who need to work remotely.
Working remotely is a wonderful privilege in the workforce that can put experienced workers into their dream positions. Remote work crosses state and country lines in order to accommodate those who don’t always have the option to move for a job they really want. It can also improve workflow and output of regular employees who may or may not be as productive as they would like in a traditional office setting. There are a myriad of reasons that remote work is great. However, as an employee, it’s your job to know that you’re up to the challenge of remote work before you apply for the job. Make sure that you’re set up for success in a remote environment and know how to talk to your employer about the benefits you can bring to the table with a remote job.
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Trisha is a writer and blogger from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan, an avid gamer, cat lover, and amateur SFX artist.
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published November 8, 2017.