After four years of hitting the books hard, studying for exams, and keeping yourself out of trouble (for the most part), you’ve finally done it. You’ve graduated! Hopefully, you’ve scheduled time off to recharge your batteries as well as stave off job-hunting for a little while. But new grads have to wonder, what comes next?
7 Remote Job Search Tips for New Grads
While you could hightail it into a new job in a traditional office setting, don’t forget that remote work isn’t a trend; telecommuting is quickly becoming a new standard. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.2 percent of Americans—or about 8 million—work from home full-time as employees.
Over the next 10 years, the number of people working remotely in some capacity is expected to grow to 50 percent of the workforce, which includes both employees and freelancers.
These statistics show that if you have the talent to offer, you value work-life balance, and you know where to look, working from the comfort of your own home can be your reality. If you’ve recently graduated and are ready to find a telecommute job, use these remote job search tips for new grads to find telecommute jobs and start the next chapter of your life.
1. Safely See What’s Out There
Because of the high demand for remote work and its strong ties to increased worker productivity, numerous industries have expanded their job offerings to include telecommuting and other flexible work modes. The best way to find a remote position that fits your degree and aspirations is through a telecommute job search engine such as Virtual Vocations.
Expertly vetted to ensure the legitimacy of each employer, and organized for easy searching, the Virtual Vocations Job Database has thousands of job openings in nearly 50 industries for you to browse. From full-time remote work to freelance gigs, you’ll find tons of options that suit your income needs and newly earned educational expertise.
2. Compare Freelancing vs. Employment
The average college graduate in the United States takes about six months to find employment in their field. That can be a bit nerve-racking on both your psyche and your fiscal situation, especially if you’re in a cutthroat field and tackling student debt. Alternatively, you may have no single direction you want to take or perhaps you were fortunate enough to graduate with no debt, giving you more flexibility to choose only the job that you want.
The job you desire and your financial scenario both play a huge role when searching for remote work. Many new graduates are looking for full-time employment which can take more time to secure.
If you’re debt-free and can afford to be finicky about the job you want, waiting until you find the perfect full-time employment is a good option. Full-time, entry-level positions are beneficial to new graduates because they allow you to gain valuable experience in the industry of your choice, receive on-the-job training, and access advancement opportunities.
However, if you’re financially “in the red” and you need a job as soon as possible, you may want to consider freelancing as an option, even while you continue to pursue the perfect full-time option. Although the pay and job opportunities aren’t always stable, you can gain valuable experience. You may have to work at more than one job at a time, but freelancing shows initiative and opens doors helping you to establish a professional network.
While you may not fall directly into either one of these categories, knowing the advantages of freelancing versus full-time employment as a remote worker can impact how you approach and plan your post-graduation job search to make it more successful.
3. New Grads, Beware: Watch Out for Scams
Discovering the ideal remote job takes time and patience. It won’t happen with one application. But if it does, it should throw up a red flag. While sites like Virtual Vocations actively vet all of their job listings, other sites don’t always do the same.
If you find a remote work opening that seems unbelievable in pay, benefits, or other terms, and they’re immediately interested in hiring you, watch out.
The emergence of remote work has allowed dodgy employers and scammers to prey on the inexperienced and uninitiated, especially because there’s no face-to-face interaction. Many of these jobs are prefaced by offering you “exposure” instead of pay or asking you for work up front to determine if you’re a good fit. You also might notice a strange email address, lack of a website, or scant details on the actual job. All of these are telltale signs of a scam. If you haven’t hit the close button, do so immediately.
4. Explore the Top Remote Work Industries
If you have a college degree that’s not specialized, it can work to your advantage. Majors such as business, writing, biology, English, or other generalized concentrations allows you to explore a wider range of options. This doesn’t mean that specialized degrees such as art history, actuarial science, or nursing have no place in the remote workforce—quite the contrary. However, generalized degrees enable you to find remote work in some of the fastest-growing telecommute industries because you aren’t tied to one specific skill set.
If you have a love of business, it can translate to a number of professional opportunities in the remote world. This could include entry-level marketing jobs, IT positions, and others. English majors can pursue opportunities in editing, copywriting, and content writing. The list goes on and on.
For new grads with highly specialized degrees, don’t get discouraged. There are still plenty of options, although it may take you a bit longer to find a remote option. In the meantime, you can always check out the most popular industries for telecommuting:
- Travel and hospitality
- Medical and health
- IT, web design, and web security
- Customer service
- Finance and economics
- Creative services
Within one of these industries, you may find a position that you’d never thought about in the past. Plus, exploring other avenues may open your eyes to a world of possibilities outside your major.
5. Find Positions at Companies that Encourage Remote Work
Some new grads know exactly which company they want to work for right after they receive their diploma. For others, it’s not that cut and dry. If you’re not exactly sure what company you’d gel with, search for employers that encourage remote work. According to our report on the Top 100 Telecommute Companies for 2019, these employers are the top 10 remote employers hiring this year:
- CyraCom, LLC (Language translation and interpretation)
- UnitedHealth Group (Healthcare insurance and services provider)
- K12 Inc. (Public and private online education provider)
- VocoVision (Speech therapy services)
- Oracle Corporation (Information technology)
- Kaplan, Inc. (Exam preparatory instruction and testing services)
- Sykes Enterprises (Customer service)
- CTS LanguageLink (Translation, interpretation, and audio-video services)
- Sunbelt Staffing (Healthcare employment agency)
- Syneos Health (Healthcare consulting services)
Although many of these companies are in the technology and healthcare sectors, these businesses may have openings for various majors in all of their remote departments. For example, UnitedHealth Group hires account managers, product analysts, case managers, insurance account executives, care advocates, software engineers, care managers, marketing media managers, economic consultants, tech support pros, and more. In addition, you can start your career remotely at the onset rather than trying to convince your employer to let you work from home in the future.
6. Network Whenever and Wherever You Can, New Grads
As the popular adage goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While this translates into all aspects of the employment world to some degree, it’s also true for remote workers. From both the freelance and full-time employment perspective, knowing someone who needs your services is far more likely to get you an interview or a project than cold-pitching and advertising.
That said, you’ll need to network every way you can. On the positive side, social media makes this easier than ever. Finding college classmates and acquaintances via LinkedIn and Facebook is an excellent way to start your networking endeavors, but don’t stop there.
Search social media sites for meetup groups in your area. For aspiring digital nomads, this resource is even more invaluable.
When you’re in a new city, finding other like-minded people who know a friend who knows a friend will help you not only find work but also make valuable connections in the process.
Don’t limit yourself to digital networking only. Often, meeting people in person has a far stronger impact. For some fun and potential networking opportunities, join a dart league, an adult kickball league, or a trivia team. On the traditional side, attend your local chamber of commerce meeting, or a professional organization meetup. Hit up a local seminar or workshop. Wherever you go, bring a firm handshake, your business cards, and ask the right questions.
New grads, don’t forget about your alumni network and any other organizations of which you were a member. Fraternities, sororities, honor societies, and fellow graduates often have social groups where you can network with people to find remote work.
7. Know How to Search
In a perfect world, typing “remote jobs for me” into a search engine would return a coveted job that’s tailor-made for you. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Instead, you’ll have to use a few tricks to narrow your search.
One detail to look for, especially if you want a full-time telecommute position, are companies that are 100 percent distributed. This means that the company has no brick-and-mortar offices or physical headquarters.
Many completely distributed companies are in their infancy, so if you want something more familiar, search for semi-remote or flexible jobs. These positions may require you to spend some time at the office to attend meetings, collaborate on projects, or meet managers. If you love where you live, a flexible remote job with a local company is desirable because you can get to the office with ease, yet you still have the ability to stay at home when you’re not needed in person.
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll land the perfect job right out of college, these tips will enable you to succeed in the future. Remain dedicated, motivated, and resilient, and you can be confident that the remote position you want is well within reach.
Which of these remote job search tips for new grads did you find most helpful; are there any others that have been of benefit to you? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about the telecommute job you want and about your post-college job search. We’d love to hear from you to learn more about which remote jobs you want to see and how we can better assist new grads like you.
iStock Photo Credit: 1. skodonnell; 2. Sezeryadigar
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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.