The future of work was undoubtedly already trending towards remote work. Coronavirus accelerated that trend significantly. I thought that it would be the standard in some point over the next 5-10 years, but it’s looking more like the next 2-3 years. With shelter in place and the surge in unemployment, more people than ever will be trying to figure out how to find a remote job.
Even when the pandemic is over, the remote work is going to stick for one simple reason: all those companies and people who didn’t think it wouldn’t work were thrusted into a situation where they had to make it work, and guess what?….it worked. The fears and doubts of upholding a high level of productivity were squashed.
Companies Who Declared a Remote First Culture
Over the last few months, we’ve already seen a good number of the world’s top companies and startups declare themselves as remote first, such as:
Companies Who Have Been Remote Work For a Long Time
These companies join the following companies who were already remote first:
The current 9-5, in-office work environment was designed long before the internet and is quickly becoming obsolete. The tools available in today’s world such as Slack, Zoom, Google Docs, enable a professional infrastructure that can be extremely productive – so long as the right people are hired.
The Advantages of Remote First
As a company, it’s now a competitive advantage in the increasingly fierce global talent war. The best companies know that talent drives success and talent is not limited to any geographical boundaries – great talent can be anywhere. Sure, there is usually a dense mix of young, smart, and talented people in big cities, but there’s just as many of those people spread out in other areas – and for less money.
As a worker, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages when you list it all out. To me, it’s a landslide, and after a decade of working in a remote environment, I will say with confidence that not only is work better, my life is better. Work-life balance is actually a real thing and you can be even more productive than in the office with the right set-up.
- No commute
- Less distractions (with the right environment)
- Save time
- More time with family
- No coworkers nearby
- Can feel repetitive
- Not a lot of serendipity
- More distractions (with the wrong environment)
Why Should You Get a Remote Job?
It really comes down what do you value more. As much as I miss the interaction with co-workers in person, the flexibility that I have to afford a legitimate work / life balance is so much more important to me. Flexibility means different things for different people, so it’s really a personal decision at the heart of it all.
The way I see it, you can still have lunch with friends, family and colleagues. You can still switch it up and work at a coffee shop, friend’s office, or any place on the planet with wifi.
If the future of work is rapidly becoming a remote one, why not position yourself sooner than later? The sooner you can excel as a remote worker, the sooner you’ll be exposed to the tools, processes, systems, and environments that allow for a high level of productivity.
Having remote work experience will be an additional competitive advantage as the rest of the world catches up. Companies will soon be targeting those who have remote work and remote management experience because it really is a different type of working environment.
Is Remote Work Work Right For You?
To some people, when they hear about a “work from home” job, it sounds like a dream and consequently, there’s going to be a lot of competition for these jobs. This post is your competitive edge. However, before we get into how you can go about landing a work from home job, let’s make sure that a work from home job is what you really want.
In my opinion, once you understand the pros and cons about a remote job and the subtleties that will help you thrive, everyone is work from home material. Above all else, if there’s one thing to understand, it’s this:
Work from home does not mean time to play.
If you’re reading this post because you’re looking for a chill job where you can sit in your pjs at home, do nothing, and get paid, it’s time to be real with yourself. You’re going to need to work hard no matter what if you want to get ahead in this world. I’ve met a lot of people who think that a remote job is going to be easy, less work, and have more time to play. Those same people found themselves out of a job in a matter of months.
If you’re looking for a job where you can sit in your pjs at home, work your ass off, and accelerate your career, consider the following plan of attack.
How to Find a Remote Job?
While it can still be a challenge to find the right remote job that fits your skills, experience, and passion, there are now more remote jobs than ever before. As more companies realize how a remote work force can benefit their business more job openings are sprouting up globally.
To find a remote job, it comes down to the same four things as finding another other job:
- Prepare Yourself
- Know Where to Look
- Stand Out
- Ace the Interview
The key, however, is to understand how the dynamics of a remote job will impact those four strategies:
1. Prepare Yourself
Before you even start looking at the jobs that are out there, you should prepare yourself properly for the hunt.
Mentally and Physically
Ask anyone who has looked for a job successfully and they’ll tell you that it’s just like having another part time job. It’s 100% true. It’s going to take a lot of time and energy to go through the entire process, give it your best shot, all while handling the things that you need to be handling in life.
Prepare yourself mentally and physically so that you can perform at a high level. Landing the right job can change the trajectory of your life forever. Try to engage with a clear mind and a healthy body. Meditate for 10 minutes every day and squeeze in a few extra workouts if you can.
LinkedIn is likely one of the first places a company will look when they want to learn more about you. It’s an essential part of the recruiting process and gives a perspective that they can’t get from your resume.
Be sure to update your profile with your latest experiences, project, and skills. While it’s debatable if recommendations and endorsements are diluted now, it surely can’t hurt so try to get more of those if you can.
One good way to get your Linkedin beefed up is by looking at other profiles from professionals that you respect, work at the company you’re trying to join, or have an impressive job background.
Now that you’ve gotten your mind and body right, and your Linkedin profile ready to go, you need to focus one of the time-tested essentials, the resume. It’s always surprising to me when I hear some say that resumes are dead when a lot of companies still ask for it. Let’s put it this way, it’d be embarrassing if you told the recruiter or hiring manager that didn’t have one. Consider your application dead on the spot.
To quickly get a solid resume for yourself, start with a great template to use. There’s a lot of good stuff you can leverage:
- Canva Resume Maker
- Google Docs Templates
Social Media Clean Up
In case you have been living under a rock, we live in a different world now. What you post on Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat and Facebook could impact your chances of getting a job. If you use it correctly, it can actually improve your chances, but unfortunately there’s a lot of people out there who post things that impact that them negatively.
While I’m all for freedom of expression, you need to be smart and not shoot yourself in the foot. If you really want the job, you need to embrace the reality that we live in, and always ask yourself how a hiring manager or recruiter would feel if they came across your post.
2. Know Where to Look
Remote jobs used to be like finding a needle in the haystack. It’s easier than ever, but also more competitive than ever. The allure of being able to work anywhere you want and have the flexibility to handle the things you need to handle in your own day to day life is a strong one.
To find a remote job, you need to know all the best places to look so that you can cast a wide net. A remote job hunt, much like any other job hunt, is a numbers game.
Remote Job Boards
There are a lot of job boards that are solely dedicated to remote job opportunities. This is one of the first places you should start. Here are the top remote job boards out there:
- We Work Remotely
- Virtual Vocations
- Angel.co (Filter by remote jobs only)
- StackOverflow (Filter by remote jobs only)
- Github Jobs
If you’re open to freelance and consulting jobs, check out the following sites:
Despite the endless number of job boards out there, there are lots of jobs that either don’t make it to a job board or get posted to company websites first. I highly recommend that you check out the website of some of your favorite companies and see if they have any remote opportunities.
To help your process, check out these useful lists:
- Top Remote Companies on We Work Remotely
- List of Remote Companies on Remotive
- Established Remote Companies
- Google Sheets Curation
- Top Remote Friendly Companies on Angelist
Your Current Job
You don’t get what you don’t ask for. That goes for anything in life, especially when it comes to your job. You’re not going to get a raise if you don’t ask and often times, that’s all you really had to do – ask.
If you are aware of other employees who are able to work from home full time or even part time, that means there’s a chance that you could get some more flexibility for your own job too.
Tap Into Your Network
If you are currently on the hunt and specifically looking for a remote job, it helps to let your network know. Close friends and family are often the best channels to land a great gig since referrals carry a lot more weight than a cold application. If you don’t have a big professional network, sometimes posting via social media could lead to potential opportunities as well.
3. Stand Out
There’s no question that remote jobs are in high demand these days. That means there’s a ton of competition for your dream remote job. Finding and applying for the role just simply enough anymore. For some people, it could be enough, but there are legitimate ways for you to increase your chances of success. It begins with standing out and here are some ways in which you can do that.
Writing is probably one of the most underappreciated skills out there. If you can write well, you can think well, and having your own personal blog is the perfect way to showcase your ideas, thought process, creativity, attention to detail, passions, and interests.
Writing is hard and it takes time, which most people either just don’t have or don’t prioritize in their life.
You can also just simply write on Medium or another platform of your choice, but if you really want to stand out, having your own personal domain name with a collection of great blog posts will set you apart from the majority of candidates. If you want to get started, I highly recommend reading this post by David Perell, called The Ultimate Guide to Writing Online.
If setting up your own personal blog and writing relevant blog posts seems like a daunting task, it should because it’s hard. And because it’s hard, it will help you stand out.
Career Related Tweets
Twitter is probably the most important social network for your career, if you use it correctly – even more than Linkedin. While most people will use it to blast out random thoughts and rants about the latest news, sports, politics (which is all perfectly fine if you want to do so), consider using it to express your thoughts and ideas that are relevant to your career, role, or industry. These tweets can be things like:
- Things you’ve learned
- A project you’ve worked on
- A good book you’ve read
- Key takeaways from a podcast
- A quick review on a product
- Some cool new productivity tool
- A useful app
- The best advice you’ve received
The 280 character limit imposes a creative constraint that forces you to be methodical about what you say and how you want to say it. As a result, it can say a lot about you as a professional, the value you can provide, your creative abilities, and most importantly whether or not you’d be someone they’d like to work with.
Use DMs Respectfully
After you apply for a job, it can sometimes be a good idea to reach out to the VP or Director of that department via LinkedIn or Twitter to respectfully say hello. Kindly let them know that you applied for a position under their org and believe that you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
I’ve personally had a lot of success with this technique and it almost always at least got my application extra attention and bumped it up higher in the queue. Some people may not like it and some may not even respond, but if you craft the message carefully, it could really help you out. some tips on how to approach this:
- Compliment the person
- Be concise
- Be respectful
- Make sure you state which role
- Tell them you already applied
- Express why you are the perfect candidate
- Make sure that your LinkedIn or Twitter profile is updated (depending on which DM channel you chose)
Go Above and Beyond What They’re Asking For
A lot of tech jobs will ask you to do a quick homework assignment as a way to assess your skills and abilities. Treat this is a great opportunity to truly set yourself apart from everyone else.
I personally love it when companies do this because a lot of people just don’t have a lot of time to do a great job. If you want the job, make time. It could mean the difference between rejection and the next round.
You’ve already made it this far, why not go in for the kill? Be sure to follow the instructions, but also try to go above and beyond what they asked for.
If you didn’t get a homework assignment, then create it yourself. Make a powerpoint deck that outlines how you could help, your ideas for improving their products/company, how you’d approach the first 30 days, and the reasons why you would excel there.
4. Crush the Interview
Write Out Responses to Interview Questions
You can pretty much find sample interview questions for any role and even specific questions asked by companies to prepare for. Don’t just look them up, write out your answers exactly how you would respond.
This will help you properly prepare for almost any question that could come your way. Proper preparation leads to more confidence, because subconsciously you know you’re prepared, and confidence leads to clearer thoughts, better execution, and positive energy.
Once you write out your answers, go back and keep refining them. Try to craft the perfect answer.
It’s easier than ever to find information about anyone online. Use it to your advantage if you know who will interview you in advance. Check their social media profiles. You’d be surprised at what you can find about someone via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and their personal websites too.
The more you know about someone, the more you can connect with them through a common interest or train of thought. You never know how the conversation can go, but you can try to steer it in directions that could lead to a good discussion.
You might also be able to glean insights into their personality, their potential interview style, and possibly even the types of questions they would ask.
Research Company and Products
It’s also very important to know the company and its products well. The mission, values, latest news, product releases, and leadership team should be clear to you.
Make sure you spend some time on the company website and search for the latest news stories about the company. It will not only help you during the interview process, it will also give you another opportunity to really think about whether or not this is a company you want to work for. After all, this is a big commitment both ways.
Video Interview Set-up
With remote work trending upwards, video-based interviews is becoming extremely common these days. Spend some time making sure that your entire set-up is good to go. This involves:
- Video conferencing software
- Making sure your physical background is appropriate
- Double checking your internet connection
- Wearing professional attire
- Presenting yourself well
A Remote Job Can Change Your Life
Landing a remote job can really change your life for the better, especially if you haven’t been able to work remotely before. While some professionals just simply need an office to thrive and be productive, if you’re someone who thrives off flexibility and freedom so you can work hard, while spending more time on the things that matter to you, then a remote job is perfect for you.
More freedom and flexibility can lead to more happiness, and being happy in life means you’ll be happier at work. Happy employees are more productive so it’s a win-win. It won’t be easy to land one, but you can significantly increase your chances if you approach it with the right strategy.