What Are the Best Careers for Remote Work?

The “best careers” for remote work are obviously careers that don’t require your physical presence. That could be anything, though: from data entry to customer service. When it comes to a job, we also want to see the money. There are plenty of low-paid remote and telecommute jobs around. Some of them really don’t pay well – unless you’re a digital nomad living in a dirt-cheap country. So when looking for the “best” remote jobs, there are a few other factors to consider.

Beyond allowing for a remote work environment, the best telecommute positions also have the following points in common:

  • The job is interesting, stimulating and challenging. Which is important for many people, especially those who want to learn new skills and advance in their careers.
  • The job offers a fair wage. Just like any other job. In fact, remote employees actually cost their employers less money. There is NO excuse why a telecommuter should be paid less than someone who suits in the office.
  • Career advancement is still very important.
  • A healthy work/life balance, like having flexible hours. It may surprise you, but not all remote jobs are flexible. Many are flexible by nature, but there are definitions positions that require employees to work in shifts.

So, what do these jobs actually look like, then? Well, I’ve created a list of the “best” careers for working remotely.

Best Careers for Remote Work – Anything digital or tech-related

1. Programming and tech of all kinds

More specifically, web and software developers are one of the best careers for remote work. Why? Because a lot of the job involve working on an actual computer – much of the communication can be done over Skype, Slack, IRC… A whole range of tools. In addition, programming and tech jobs often require a lot of concentration and therefore it’s usually necessary to be separate from other people.

Of course, “programming” and “tech” are incredibly broad fields.  They’re also pretty in-demand. That’s why companies are often willing to hire people in far-flung places to due the specialist skills they offer.

And programmers, generally speaking, need a lot of time to concentrate. Some companies do prefer to lock their employers in a dark room and leave them alone. Others though don’t really care where they are.

2. Digital marketing and most things “online media”

Again, two very broad fields. However just like tech, IT or anything related to development, digital marketing skills are in high demand. They also don’t necessarily require you to have such a high level of technical skills (though a certain amount of technical literacy is highly recommended).

So, let’s get more specific. Just what’s included in “digital marketing/online media”? well…

  • Any job related to digital media buying, SEO (search engine optimization), SEA/SEM, digital PR, content marketing or social media.
  • The masterminds behind the scenes: the copywriters, graphic designers, translators, project managers, account managers, strategists.

Other careers suited to remote work

1. Administration

Yet again another broad field – but thanks to telecommunications, plenty of admin jobs have joined the list. Technically, many of these positions have little to do with any “online” industry. But these days, countless administrative tasks are performed on a computer. Fewer and fewer companies are using filing cabinets as their main form of information storage.

So often, this means that those in administrative positions don’t always have to be present. Of course, the older or more “traditional” an organization is, the more rigid they’ll be about allowing you to work from home. Or from another country.

Quick tip: If you’re in admin and looking to switch to a remote career, it’s best to go with more “forward thinking” or progressive companies. Often this can mean tech startups – but these positions aren’t restricted to that industry only.

2. Human Resources

A surprising number of people in HR have a huge amount of flexibility in their jobs. Organizing holidays, calendars, taking care of internal company matters… They don’t always require a HR person to be sitting in the same building all the time. Admittedly though, you may be required to go to meetings with various departments and be physically present.  However, this field does offer a comfortable degree of flexibility for many people.

3. A whole bunch of creative jobs

Traditional agencies often have their creatives locked up in a specific department. With advanced technology nowadays, meetings and brainstorming can be done flexibility and remotely. In terms of gaining inspiration and new perspectives (which is the challenge of creative work), these jobs may be among some of the best careers for remote work.

Why? Because artists, writers and other creatives often have their own “process”. Some prefer to work alone in their studios, or wherever they get the most inspiration. Careers like…

  • …art directors
  • Video editors
  • Copywriters
  • Design professionals…

…and many more often thrive by being able to choose their own specific work environment.

Conclusion

When considering the best careers for remote work and telecommuting, it’s important to consider what’s actually done in the job. As a prospective digital nomad or avid remote worker, you should still consider the company you’re working for. Many organizations are still uncertain about remote teams and simply don’t trust the setup.

The challenge here is then not only carving a career where most of your work can be done from anywhere. You’ve also got to sharpen your negotiation skills for when you land that perfect job. You need to know where you can realistically convince your employer to give you the freedom you need.

 

FlexJobs.com – A Jobseeker’s Review

When I looked at FlexJobs.com, I got excited.

There were tonnes of remote jobs advertised. Literally thousands. From all over the world. It also didn’t appear to be a scam: since this platform’s been around for a REALLY long time. So I decided to give FlexJobs a good, old-fashioned review from a jobseeker’s perspective.

When I put this site through the Wayback Machine, it told me they’ve been around since 2007. I remember them from when I started freelancing in 2011 (along with something called “All Stay At Home”… which doesn’t seem to exist anymore).

So…

It’s a good sign Flex Jobs has lasted this long.

So let’s get down it, asking the most important questions first.

Is FlexJobs legit?

Lots of people are asking this. It’s understandable why you’d think they’re a scam. Especially since there are so many work from home scams at the moment. Of course, the telecommute job industry is a little savvier nowadays (though you still ought to be careful). But after reviewing them, I’ll say this: FlexJobs is definitely legit.

They’re no different to Indeed.com or Monster. In fact, if you do a quick search you’ll find many of the jobs posted elsewhere. That does take a bit of work, though.

So then, what’s on offer for remote job seekers?

Quite simply: job leads. However, applying for a work at home position through FlexJobs comes at a cost. Literally. The price is usually USD$15.00 per month. Jobs are divided into a rich range of different categories. Here you’ll likely find a remote position for almost every kind of job that you can do from home.

This is the stickler, though.

It’s often the cost that keeps people from using the platform. Which is totally understandable. There are a lot of pros to paying for and using their service, though. First and foremost, you have one, single place from which can apply to all relevant positions.

Seriously, it cuts out a lot of time from your job search. Secondly…

They filter out the work from home scammers.

In fairness, job boards like Remotive and Working Nomads do the same thing (for no subscription fee). But with this particular platform, you know you’re safe.

If you’re still humming and hawing about the cost, here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of FlexJobs:

Pros:

  • Work at home scams are screened out!
  • The categories and number of telecommute positions here is… Amazing. Really, up until this point I haven’t seen a wider selection on any remote job board.
  • Links are posted to the original job advertisement: though, to be fair, a lot of job boards do that.
  • Accredited by the US Better Business Bureau (if that means anything to you… I’m not American so I have no experience of what it’s worth).

Cons

  • The cost! They’re not expensive, really. A lot of people don’t like having to pay for a job board, though. Myself included.
  • Most positions advertised are published elsewhere. Which means you just have to spare a little more time to find them yourself.

Should I use FlexJobs?

Truth be told… That’s completely up to you. If you’re willing to shell out around US$15.00 a month, then go for it. You could consider it an investment. However, more people are willing to pay with time rather than money. Since its free to search for open positions on Flex Jobs, all you have to do is go through their listing. Then, search online to see if there’s another platform you can apply through.

How to Get a Job Online: Not Easy, But Not Impossible

If you’re looking to get a job online then “easy” isn’t exactly how I’d describe the process. That’s not to discourage you: “online jobs” are a dime a dozen. You can find remote jobs on different career platforms. Certain professions are more difficult, requiring a lot of experience and/or qualifications. Other remote careers are easier to break into – but the competition is massive.

Don’t let that get you down, though. There are just a few things you ought to keep in mind when applying for a telecommute position.

I am by no means saying that it’s impossible to get a job online or start working remotely.

Work from home opportunities are everywhere. They’re even to be found in places you wouldn’t expect. “Traditional” job sites (like Indeed.com, Monster etc.) also have a significant number of remote positions.

However, there is a huge demand for remote jobs. Despite the number of flexible and semi-flexible positions you can find, you’ll still face massive competition. That’s not just restricted to the “online” world either. Even “normal” jobs get tons of applicants. It’s just a reality of the world we live in.

girl crying
Briefly spare a moment for the HR people who are overwhelmed with emails…

There’s no need to despair, though. For those who’re looking for a remote job (any remote job!), “easier” positions (simple content writing, VA work) offer a greater opportunity to get your foot in the door.

In fact…

…simple, low-paid remote jobs are the easiest to find. But just like anything else, you’ve got work just as hard to get yourself noticed.

Regardless of the position you’re looking for, you need to think of it as a project. Even if you’re looking for full-time employment, you must think of yourself as a freelancer. You have services to offer… And must convince companies that they want to snap you up!

The “easiest” ways to get a job online

By easiest we mean “least hassle” or “most likely to land you a job”. You still have to pull out all the stops – but you don’t have to be on your laptop 24/7 scrolling through job ads. In fact, much of your job search comes down to organization. At most, you have to be a bit strategic.

You’ll definitely need to put a few hours’ work into your CV/resume.  And of course, changing a few things to tailor it to each, individual application. And adding that you’re looking for something remote, the following points are vital:

  • You NEED some sort of online presence

Afraid of social media? Well, tough luck. It’s a huge asset when it comes to expanding your reach and getting people to notice you. It doesn’t matter what you use: Facebook, Google+, even Twitter… You need to get out there where people can read your posts and notice your work. Or even just your damn name.

LinkedIn and other professional social networking tools are a must. You may not use them much, but recruiters often scour them to look for new candidates. This is a passive way to get a job online… And it can work wonders. Plus, you can also just apply for jobs directly through these sites.

  • Have a portfolio, a professional website, a blog…

Professional websites are basically online business cards. They’re much like your social media profile, but they tell far more. Now, I’m aware that not every profession can display their work in a “portfolio”. But even having a blog where you occasionally muse about topics in your industry or have a list of successful projects you’ve worked on, can help.

Even a small blog updated once a month is great. Along with contact details, qualifications etc.

Only do VA work? Administration? Or are in a more “traditional” industry like HR? Professional websites don’t have to be fancy. They have to be to the point.

  • Network!

Most of us hate networking… Don’t we? Well, tough luck.

We’re not talking about going to every industry meet up and sucking up to every single person there. But it does help to be part of one or two groups. And don’t forget online communities… Participating in forums can also help you get leads to positions you might be interested in.

  • Job platforms… Of all kinds

There are freelance job sites where you can find gigs and steady clients. There are remote job boards for those pursuing full-time careers with companies, major and minor.

But DON’T restrict yourself to these. Ever considered “standard” job sites like Monster and Indeed? Most ads don’t automatically ask for remote employees, but we’ll bet there are a ton of companies willing compromise. Especially if you have an impressive skillset.