Finding a Remote Job That Suits You – A Few Tips & Tricks

No one can deny that finding work is hard.

When certain requirements come into play, finding a remote job that suits you is even harder. This is thanks to the fiercely competitive nature of application processes. There are a lot of people out there who want to work remotely – and not enough of them. It means you’ll get hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for one single position.

For many of us, it can be incredibly disheartening. You spend all of that time on an application. In return, the best most can hope for is an automated email.

But there’s no point in focusing on how difficult it is, or getting negative. If it’s something you really want, then it IS possible. That’s why we’ve compiled a few of the best tips, tricks and hacks that can help you land the telecommute job of your dreams.

Keep in mind that finding a work from home position takes a lot of guts and persistence. Not only that, you need to find a telecommute position that you actually want to do. And that puts food on the table. There’s no use getting a customer service job you hate, just because they’ll let you work from your couch. If you hate talking to people all day, you’ll still be miserable!

Good to Know!
It’s probably not a good idea to push “working remotely” as your main agenda in a job search. Quite frankly, most companies don’t care. Even if an organization advertises themselves as remote, keep talk of “remote work” down to a minimum and focus on what you can bring to the table. What these organizations want to know is that you’re the right fit. If you have experience working remotely in the past, by all means mention it: but in the right context.

Putting telecommuting aside for a moment, let’s focus on something equally as important: finding a role you actually want to do. For some people, this may very well mean taking the time to learn a few extra new skills. For others, it may simply mean retraining as something else. The good news is that this is much easier than it ever was in the past. There are plenty of online courses available to help you make it happen!

Beyond learning new skills, don’t forget about the following points:

First things first: Finding a remote job also means being conscious of time zones

Finding a remote job first means understanding the right job role for you. Essentially, shouldn’t only know what type of work you want to do. You also need to understand how you work best. More specifically, think time zones.

Consider…

  • Are you an early bird? Do you like being up at seven, and finished before three so that you’ve got the rest of the day to spare?
  • Or do you prefer slow mornings, starting late and finishing at seven or eight in the evening?
  • Perhaps you work best in shifts: a long break in the afternoon, starting again in the evening and then working late into the night?
  • Or perhaps you’re not a total routine freak – and prefer to start and finish at different times of the day.

Timezones are a particularly important thing to consider when you work in a distributed team. Even two or three hours’ difference can mean juggling a few things. Sometimes, a job that may seem otherwise perfect could require you to work a few antisocial hours. Remote companies tend to be prepared for this, though and often don’t expect employees to spend all their evenings working.

That being said, it’s something you’ll need to find out early on and make sure you’re comfortable with it.

Your resume is one key to finding a remote job

Finding a remote job, or even a conventional one for that matter, means taking a look at your CV/resume and doing a bit of revision. In fact, it amazing how many job seeker’s don’t pay enough attention to their resumes.

A resume should always be kept up to date… Even if you’re not currently looking for a job!

Anyone serious about finding a high-paying remote position needs to seriously look at their resume and polish it up. And it needs to be damn impeccable. Really, really damn impeccable. Simply because…

…you’re competing with talent from all over the world.

We can’t stress this enough. You’re absolutely not the only person trying to find a remote job. Not by a long shot.

Cover letters are still important

I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of cover letters. At the very least, long-winded ones that go into depth just seem to be a waste of time. I don’t want to spend an hour writing a letter that waxes lyrical about my work history when I actually know very little about a company. That being said, some places demand them so it’s best to follow suit.

In addition, communication skills will be really important in whatever your next remote role is. Which is why a cover letter can be a great way of highlighting these skills when looking for remote jobs: in your introduction, you can very clearly show off your written communication skills. This obviously won’t be the only thing but it is the best way to introduce yourself (and possibly stand out among hundreds of other applicants).

Finding a remote job takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time. But it also takes a bit of effort and strategic thinking. Don’t forget to look in the right places, and also see if there are positions where you may be able to ask for a remote set up… even if it’s not formally mentioned in the job description.

What Tools Do Remote Workers Need?

Any tradesperson’s job would be difficult without tools.

The same can be said for any working professional. Whether you simply work remotely or follow the digital nomad lifestyle, there are a few bare essentials you should have.

Of course, the tools of your particular trade may differ from that of other remote workers.

A web developer will naturally use different types of software in comparison to copywriters or accountants. Even between different companies, communication tools can differ vastly. Some use Slack, others prefer Skype.

No matter your profession, where you work or what software you use, there are certain ‘bare essentials’ that every remote worker needs.

If you’ve got a full-time remote job, you probably won’t need freelancer platformsunless you’re also running a side-gig.

On the other hand, full-time freelancers may well use software their employee counterparts have never heard of.

Remote work certainly lends itself to minimalism. At least in terms of hardware. However, working remotely any professional is more or less impossible if you don’t have the following.

Office on the Road: Essential tools for remote workers

Working from home or on the road as a marketer, HR professional, coder, copywriter etc. requires certain hardware and devices. Without a laptop or at least a tablet (with a keyboard!), working from anywhere (or indeed working at all) is pretty much impossible.

While not always 100% essential, smartphones can also make your life a lot easier.

First Things First: Get a good laptop (or tablet)

laptop table spotlight

Preferences naturally vary when it comes to laptops or tablets. Some of us  stick to Apple, others prefer a range of other brands. A select few even prefer working from a desktop, only using a laptop when absolutely necessary. Whatever your choice of device, there are a few things you should consider before you start shopping.

  • RAM: Depending on the work you do, you may need a lot or just a little RAM. If you’re something of an extreme multi-tasker, 8GB or higher is generally recommended. The same can be said for those who work with graphics/video editing.
  • Comfort: This is more important for some than for others. No matter how powerful or efficient your device is, it can be incredibly distracting if you do not actually feel comfortable using it.
  • Portability: This depends on the person. If you like to work in a lot of different places or travel frequently, your laptop should be light enough to carry without hurting your back. Additionally, it should easily fit into most of your bags. For some, this may mean sacrificing screen width.
  • Durability: Especially important for digital nomads who travel frequently. With so much moving between coworking spaces, hopping on trains and buses, your computer is going to get a few bumps here and there.

The same points apply to tablets (if that’s more your style). Find one with a powerful enough processor. Put a bit of thought into the keyboard as well.

Don’t Skimp on Decent Headphones

headphones table

Bear in mind that “decent” does not always equate to “big”. When I say decent headphones, I mean a pair of headphones that are durable and easy to carry around without taking up space.

Personally, I prefer smaller in-ear headphones. They’re small, unobtrusive and can be packed away pretty easily. However, if you feel more comfortable with bigger ones then by all means go ahead. The most important thing is that you can comfortably hold a video conference and actually communicate.

A decent pair of headphones can also block out the sound when you really have to concentrate. Durability is important because you don’t want to have to keep replacing them every few months. That’s why I would always advocate investing in a good pair of headphones.

A Smartphone

a smartphone

I’m not going to say its impossible to live or work without a smartphone (because it isn’t).

However, having one can make life a lot easier. You can use it to keep in contact with colleagues via Slack/Skype/whatever even if you have to pop out to the shops for a few minutes. You can check emails and messages on the go without having to bring your computer out. You can even use it to attend meetings.

For digital nomads and travellers, the smartphone is even more important. You can take pictures, keep in contact with friends and family, check apps and maintain contact with the community even while you’re away from your laptop.

A Decent Internet Connection

wifi symbol 500x

For those of us who mostly work from home, this is a no-brainer. Slow and inefficient Internet isn’t just a pain during work hours, but can seriously disrupt leisure time as well. So naturally, it is important to make sure your home is kitted out with a decent connection.

However, for the more mobile among us, a good data plan is also necessary. Even if you just pop out to work in a café for a few hours, you cannot run the risk of there being no public wifi. Having a good data plan will allow you to hotspot on your phone and continue working as normal. This of course may be tricky depending on where you live and what kind of data plans are available.

VPNs, or virtual private networks

vpn review network

Unfortunately, VPNs have become a necessity in order to protect one’s privacy online. Additionally, they grant you a greater level of access to the Internet by allowing you to bypass geographical restrictions. This may be more important for some professionals than others. As a digital marketer, certain aspects of my job would have been very difficult without one.

And again, digital nomads will find them particularly useful if they end up in a country that restricts certain websites.

For everyone else… It just makes sense to encrypt your data as much as possible.

Invest time and money into your search

Take the time to consider what hardware you need. Make a list of specs and do a bit of comparison shopping. As a professional, you should ensure that your equipment gets a good run – hopefully for a few years, at least. Freelancers in particular should also look into insuring their devices if anything happens. For digital nomads, travel insurance usually helps to cover the loss and/or damage of their devices.

 

The Challenge of Finding Legitimate Work from Home Jobs

For the longest time, finding legitimate work from home jobs was a genuine drag.

If anything, the term “work from home” sounds a lot like a scam from the early days of the Internet. After all, it really does sound too good to be true. Not only do you get a job (with a salary, believe it or not!) – but you can do everything from the comfort of your own home! It hits the nail on the head in terms of flexibility and work-life balance. Furthermore, it means you can more or less live where you want without having to give up your current job or suffer an insane commute…

cars traffic
I’m sure there are some masochists among us who love traffic, though.

Naturally, scammers have learned that they can prey on this basic need/desire. In fact, if you do a quick search, you’ll find plenty of information on these “remote job scams”. While remote working is exploding in popularity at the moment and there are more telecommute positions available than ever, many scammers still persist.

PSST: Get the low-down on how to avoid work from home scams!

When you think of the number of scams out there, it can be very easy to throw in the towel and call it a day. However, here’s a little nugget of information…

When you think of the number of scams out there, it can be very easy to throw in the towel and call it a day. However, here’s a little nugget of information…

Actual, legitimate remote jobs require just as much work to land as regular, in-office positions.

Let’s be real here: finding a job, any job, is hard. I can vividly remember the days I used to work in bars and restaurants. Even finding basic, minimum-wage jobs was a bit of a struggle. If anything, I got most of my jobs through contacts. The same can be said for trade jobs and office jobs. Finding work is a job in and of itself. It requires not only a lot of searching and applying, but a good bit of networking.

So now that I’ve eased your mind, let’s focus on actually finding that remote job you want! Remember, this isn’t an easy task: then again, nothing in life worth doing is easy!

But it is so worth it.

Know Your Industry: The first step to finding a legitimate work from home job

Whether you’re looking to telecommute or not, knowing your industry well is paramount. If you’re a digital marketer, you should be aware of just how diverse and fast-paced the industry is. If you’re an accountant, you should understand how most accounting jobs are found and network with other professionals in the field. Depending on where you live, you may also need certain (official!) certifications.

Let’s go back to digital marketing for a moment. Due to the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of the industry, there’s a lot of potential for creativity. Essentially, marketers are prime candidates when it comes to creating a personal brand. How would you market you, yourself, as a professional? Which social networks would you use? Do you have a basic content/digital strategy that you want to implement in order to see conversions (i.e., job offers!).

If you’re a techie, contributing to open source projects can also help you get your “brand” out there. It may very well equip you with new skills you need for the new job you get.

Job boards of all kinds are your friend, but…

Countless remote (and regular!) job boards exist nowadays. Jobseekers constantly find remote and telecommute jobs through these platforms. Hell, some even go further and get jobs through social media and sites like Craigslist (although personally I’m a bit iffy about that one).

However, you still need to be cautious. The good news is that a lot of job sites, whether they cater specifically to remote jobseekers or not, take a hard line against scammers. By doing a little bit of research, you can see whether or not a job board really is legitimate.

Scams can get through on every type of job site, even Indeed and Monster. When you see a job listing, look closely and see if it provides the following information:

  • A telephone number
  • A physical address
  • A (real, legitimate) website
  • A contact person
  • An email address

Generally speaking, all of these points should be consistent across the board. Check for any strange-looking URLs. Try ringing the phone number, see if you can get through. Look at their actual website, does it seem professional?

This, of course, brings me to my next point…

If you’re really unsure, do the research

If you want to be doubly sure that a company is legitimate, feel free to do some Google and/or social media stalking. Check out customer reviews. Have a look at Glassdoor and see if there are any employee reviews. Some con artists are great at pulling very elaborate scams but they usually fall short somewhere along the line.

Conclusion

Getting a legitimate work from home job takes work… Lot of work. That’s not to say you won’t easily land one: sometimes people are just lucky. Unfortunately the online world has allowed a lot of people to come up with news ways of tricking others out of money. One final piece of advice I will repeat is this: Never, ever, EVER send someone money. They should be paying you, not the other way around!