In 2020, the global workforce saw a major shift to virtual employment due to the COVID pandemic. While many will return to the office at some point, the percentage of remote workers is expected to double worldwide in 2021. If you want to take advantage of this trend and secure a permanent remote position, this is an ideal time to do it. But, if you haven’t worked remotely before, you may wonder how to get a work from home job with no experience.
The good news is that studies show that overall, productivity and engagement remained high or improved during the pandemic. These results hold even when the employees never worked from home before. While this is gradually reducing employer anxiety, you may still come across job ads that ask for prior experience. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to overcome this obstacle and secure the perfect work from home job for you.
What Is Remote Work Experience?
Remote work is a broad term that refers to working in a location other than a traditional office space. Hence, you can define remote work experience as any experience gained by working outside of the office in various capacities. This type of experience encompasses a variety of different work arrangements. Even if you have never held a work from home position, you may have related experiences that can meet this requirement.
Types of Remote Experience
Even if you haven’t worked in a remote position before, you may still have worked remotely. Below are a few common examples of job duties that may be performed outside the office. If you identify with any of these, you can legitimately use them as examples of your remote work experience.
Work From Home
One Gallup poll found that 43% of the American workforce worked from home occasionally — and that was in 2017. Whether you were nursing a sick child or catching up over the weekend, most people have some experience of working from home. Even if it was on an occasional basis, this experience counts as it illustrates your ability to get work done away from the office.
Many positions require workers to leave the office to complete their duties. These range from home care nursing to worksite visits to client meetings. These are all great examples of your ability to work outside of the office environment.
Travel for Work
If you are required to travel in completion of your job duties, this can be considered remote work as well. Even if you are not performing your day-to-day duties, for example if you are attending a professional conference, you’re no doubt still checking in for messages and responding to correspondence.
Leading a Distributed Team
Even if you spend all of your time in the office, maybe you have colleagues that you work with at a distance. For example, you lead a team with members in different corporate locations. Another example is working on a committee that has members from organizations external to your company. Even if you meet in person, coordinated remote work continues on an ongoing basis.
Whether by phone, live chat, or email, one of the most ubiquitous remote work activities is delivering a positive experience to customers. Whether your work from home position includes direct contact with customers or not, success in this area indicates to employers that you possess the interpersonal skills critical in a remote work environment.
Office Skills Transferrable to Remote Positions
There are also many skills called upon in the office that are necessary to successfully work from home. To get a remote job with no experience, it’s important to highlight your expertise in these areas.
When you work at home, no one is there making sure that you keep up with your filing, planning your schedule, or following up on projects. These are activities employers expect you to take care of on your own. Identifying examples in your work history where you illustrated your ability to organize will help show your potential for working remotely.
One of the most important skills when working from home is the ability to actively listen and write and speak clearly and positively. Without seeing and experiencing the context of the communication in-person, words are taken the wrong way, facial cues are missed, meanings are lost. Try to identify situations where you succeeded in overcoming the challenges of distance communication to convince doubtful employers.
Clearly, the ability to work with job-related software programs and operate computing, scanning, and copying equipment at home is a necessary requirement for most remote jobs. Your prior technical experience can be a major factor in convincing employers of your ability to work from home. In addition, being able to show your ability to resolve common technical problems on your own can mitigate employer concerns.
With no one is making sure that your work is done on time, showing a work history of meeting your milestones and deadlines is critical. When you work from home it is necessary to be self-motivated to meet your work obligations. Potential employers will be leery of hiring anyone who does not have examples of a positive record of completing projects and tasks on time.
Key Qualities Employers Are Looking for in Remote Employees
Another way to convince doubtful employers of your untested ability to succeed in a remote position is to point out the soft skills and personal characteristics that make you a good candidate. Examples here can consist of both work and situations in your personal life.
This is a social science term that refers to an individual’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions. More and more human resources departments are relying on assessment and interview techniques designed to measure an individual’s emotional intelligence, so it pays to be prepared with an understanding of your own level of emotional intelligence and anecdotes that highlight those skills.
Ability to Work Independently
Clearly, to get a remote job with no experience you will need to demonstrate an ability to work without direct supervision. Self-motivation is a key aspect of working independently, so examples of where you were proactive in the past are important. Also, examples of completing solo projects on time and to a high level of quality will illustrate your comfort working unsupervised.
The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and resolve your own problems will illustrate your resourcefulness to a potential employer. Working from home means you may not have immediate access to an IT or HR department. You may not even be able to contact your supervisor right away if an emergency happens. This can mean a loss of productivity at best. Examples of your skills in this area will help convince an employer you will succeed in a remote work environment.
Employers have visions of their work from home employees doing laundry and watching TV when they are supposed to be working. To get a remote job with no experience, illustrating your ability to work without distraction is important. Focus can be gained in a few different ways from limiting distractions to training in discipline. So, illustrating your ability to focus can take many forms, such as describing your private home office, your experience working in an open workplace, or earning a Karate black belt.
One of the best traits you can demonstrate that will ease the fears of potential employers is your commitment to your work, or even better, the mission of the organization you are applying to. If you can show that you care deeply, are highly-motivated, and feel personal responsibility regarding the position, you will earn trust. Telling potential employers the “why” behind your application is the best way to illustrate commitment.
How to Prepare for a Work from Home Job Search without Experience
Once you have thoroughly examined your work and life experience for the skills and experience that illustrate your abilities to get a remote job with no experience, it’s time to incorporate that information into your job search.
Create a Home Office
“Do you have a home office?” is one of the first questions a potential employer will ask. Get yourself set up for working from home before they ask. They don’t want to hear that you “can” set one up or that are “working” on setting one up. They want to hear that you already have a fully-equipped office already and up and running. Carve out your workspace and equip it with what you will need to perform the job.
Update Your Job Search Documents
Take all of that information you gathered from the above sections and incorporate it into your job search documents:
- Resume. Indicate your interest in remote work in the summary. Add any remote work experience to your job descriptions. Create a section at the bottom of your resume to highlight your technical skills. Create accomplishments that showcase your ability to organize, communicate, and meet tight deadlines.
- Cover Letter. In addition to highlighting your relevant skills and accomplishments, you can get more personal in your cover letter. Briefly describe how you are personally ready and suited to working from home. Also include why you are committed to getting this position.
- LinkedIn Profile. Freed from the constraints of the resume, you can add more information about your volunteer activities and personal interests here. Add information that highlights your ability to work from home that doesn’t fit in your work chronology. You can refer to these experiences in the summary as well.
Prepare for Your Interviews
Once you get to the interview, it’s all about describing scenarios where you demonstrated the skills and characteristics important for working remotely. You may want to write out responses to common interview questions in preparation. Preparing in advance, before you even get an interview is a good idea because you never know when these stories will come in handy. One way to do this is to follow the STAR interview response method:
Highlight Your Transferable Skills to Land a Remote Job
While many ads for remote jobs still require or a prefer remote experience, there are ways to mitigate your lack of experience. Identifying and highlighting your related experience, critical skills, and useful characteristics can reassure potential employers that you can succeed in a remote work environment. Incorporating this information in your job search documents and interview responses can make your application stand out and land you the perfect remote job.
Did you land a remote job with no experience working from home? What did you do to make yourself a successful applicant? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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