So you want to find a remote job you love? Since only about 30% of U.S. workers are passionate or even content in their jobs—and that doesn’t even account for the addition of the telecommuting factor—a remote job you love might sound like a big ask.
However, find the right path, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goal.
1. Know What Type of Work You Want to Pursue
Finding a remote job you love starts with knowing what industry you want to work in. While working remotely has increased 140% since 2005, certain industries are still more conducive to remote work than others. Thus, these industries naturally offer more work from home positions. Areas of expertise with the most remote jobs include:
- Project Management
- Customer Service
- Human Resources
- Account Management
If you’ve been succeeding in the same field for 10 years and are simply looking to make a lateral move, you can skip to step two. However, if you’re midway through a career and unhappy or returning to work after a break, the first thing you want to do to find a remote job you’ll love is carefully determine what type of work you want to spend the rest of your career-life doing, or at least the next few.
Considerations to Help You Find a Remote Job You Love
Let’s start from the beginning. A good job—a smart job—lives at the intersection of your interests, skills, and job market expectations. You should already have an idea of your strengths and weakness, but it never hurts to review. Then, consider these aspects:
- Evaluate your strengths (and weaknesses). List your strengths on a sheet of paper, accompanied by any serious weaknesses. These can be both hard or soft skills. Do some research on how these skills translate into certain professions.
- Learn more about your personality. Understand more about the way your individual mind works. That means how it engages, reacts, makes decisions, and rejuvenates. This is an exceptionally helpful way to identify career industries you will do well in. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most trusted personality tests and a top option.
- Consider the job market. Every now and then, some of us get lucky and succeed in an unexpected or unlikely way. However, legitimate support exists for why some people’s ideal professions require a backup plan. It’s important to try and find a remote job you love, but if your first choice doesn’t line up with a career that will allow you to support yourself and a family, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Conduct informational interviews. Upon settling on a few career paths you are interested in, complete informational interviews in each to give you a better understanding of everyday workings and purpose. If you’re absolutely certain you want to work remotely, try to complete these interviews with companies that have fully distributed teams.
2. Is Remote Work For You?
First things first. Remote work is not for everyone. Sure, the ‘wear your pajamas to work’ stereotype may be attractive when you’re tired of the commute. While working remotely offers the flexibility to pick up kids from school and activities, improves productivity, and can lead to better physical health routines, this type of setup often demands a certain kind of person. If you’re looking for a fully remote position and are extremely outgoing or extroverted, remote work may be difficult for you.
If you desire a partially remote role, understand that decreased visibility in the office may lower your chances of professional growth. For all telecommuters, distractions at home may make it difficult to remain focused. Constant visuals of dirty dishes and other incomplete chores can also weigh on some people until they get done.
In general, individuals wanting to work from home do best when they have strong self-discipline, great time management, impeccable organization skills, healthy boundaries, a knack for technology, and are results-oriented.
3. Still Unsure? Interview People Who Already Work Remotely
Do you know why apps like Yelp are so popular? Because knowing someone’s experience with a product or service is far more reliable than advertisements. In a way, working remotely is kind of similar. There’s a glorified concept of it, and then there’s reality. To most closely grasp what your days would look like as a remote worker, interview people who already work remotely, especially people who work in your desired field.
Ask them questions like:
- What do you enjoy most about working from home?
- What surprised you the most while you first started?
- Tell me about working with your team. Where have there been snags. How do you address them?
- What has been your biggest struggle with working remotely?
- What do you think I should know before taking the leap into a telecommuting position?
4. What Kind of Remote Work Do You Want to Pursue?
To find a remote job you love, you need to know exactly what kind of remote job you want. This will help you narrow down the jobs you apply for to ones perfect for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to work as an employee, contractor, or freelancer?
- Do I want to be part of a fully distributed team, a company with only a handful of telecommuters spread across the country, or an organization with local bases for its remote workers?
- Is my ideal position fully remote, partially remote, or one involving digital nomadism?
- Do I want to keep regular business hours or to set my own schedule?
- Do I want most of my work to be independent or collaborative?
5. Determine Your Remote Environment Preferences
Now that you have an idea for or the type of remote employment you want, evaluate your ideal environment. Ask yourself:
- Do I prefer a fast-paced, tight deadline, or more flexible work projects?
- Are growth opportunities important to me?
- How would I hope to see my ideal company promoting work-life balance?
- How frequently and through which platforms am I comfortable communicating with my team?
- What kind of perks would I be excited about? Which perks have I come to expect?
To help, websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed can give you information about a company’s culture, upward mobility opportunities, and perks. Thus, this research helps you decide whether you even want to apply. What you can’t find in reviews or through professional connections, make a note to ask in interviews. Determine your preferences and decide what you will bend on and what your deal breakers are.
6. Think Through Your Salary Expectations
Decide on your salary expectations before you begin job searching. If you’re targeting a larger company, websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale should provide you with a reasonable salary estimate. However, smaller companies and startups may have variable salaries. Whatever you do, make sure you do not go below a number that will still make you feel valued. Otherwise, you will have a hard time remaining satisfied in the position, remote or not.
7. Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile and Review All Social Media
If you’re looking to go fully remote, your prospective employer may not get the chance to meet you face to face before making a hiring decision. Even with partially remote jobs, all employers want to know individuals on at least a basic professional level. Take some time to update your LinkedIn profile. Incorporate remote-work buzzwords and skills that suggest you’d make a solid remote employee into your profile, but don’t overdo it. Ask some of your most recent employers and co-workers for recommendations, present a clean, clear headshot for your profile photo, and make sure your past experiences exemplify your achievements.
Although your other social media profiles may not be for professional means, a remote employer may search these. This includes typing your name into Google and pressing “Enter.” If they find offensive material or other evidence of a lack of moral character, you might be removed from the shortlist. Do yourself a favor and either make your profiles private or clean them up.
8. Customize Your Resume for Remote Work
Make the same resume customizations for remote work that you did with your LinkedIn profile and check it for any updates or adjustments needed as well. Don’t mistake this step for customizing your resume to each specific position you apply for. Right now, you’re simply ensuring your resume suggests you’d be a great remote employee.
9. Pre-Remote Interviews: Get a Little Obsessive About Your Technology
Every now and then, an interview technology-fail will be forgiven because the candidate is absolutely exceptional. Otherwise, a technology issue during an interview for a remote position does not leave a strong first impression. Double-check that your phone is fully charged. If not, plug it into the charger and keep it there for the remainder of the interview. Place your phone on “Do Not Disturb” so you don’t get interrupted by texts.
If you’re doing a video interview, ensure your notifications are turned off for other background happenings on your computer. Do a trial call with a friend or family member beforehand and make sure your webcam is working. Additionally, for all technology, always triple-check reception. Dropped calls never put anyone in a good mood, including the hiring manager(s) you’ll be speaking with.
10. Follow Up/Don’t Burn Bridges/Be Persistent
Always remember to thank your interviewer and send an email reiterating why you’d be a great addition to their company. If the company chooses to go in a different direction, be professional and don’t burn bridges. Accept the interview as a learning experience that makes you a stronger candidate in the future.
No job is perfect, but if you can determine exactly what kind of remote job you want and the specific industry you’d enjoy working in, you can use this knowledge to customize your skills and resume and build more strategic connections that will help you find a remote job you love.
iStock Image: Vectorious2016
Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background. Register for free or contact us for more information on our service guarantee.
Check out our menu of Career Services provided by our team of certified professionals, including resume and career coaching services for remote jobseekers. Resume assessments and writing, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and cover letter writing are available to maximize the success of your remote job applications. Discounts on all services available to subscription members, become one now.