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If you're looking for a remote job, we've got good news. Remote work has never been more accessible, and it's possible to get hired for remote roles with no previous experience telecommuting or working from home.
Increased accessibility doesn't mean it'll always be easy. The competition for the best remote jobs has never been higher–and remote work does have its challenges–but if you're excited to join the growing community of remote workers, keep reading.
Step 1: Use remote job boards to find relevant positions
While most job boards now list remote positions, you're going to have a better time using job boards that specialize in remote work.
Many of these job boards have dedicated features that do a lot of the heavy lifting for remote job seekers, such as time zone and visa requirement filters. We've extensively searched for the best remote job boards and compiled them into a list. Below are a few to get you started:
- Himalayas: The best place for remote job seekers to find a job. We provide a fast, free, and efficient job search experience with great UX. There are no third-party recruiters, and we've got in-depth remote company profiles that you can use to find companies whose culture, tech stack, mission, and remote employee benefits match your needs and values. Find a remote job on Himalayas today.
- FlexJobs: A popular job site to find remote, work from home, and telecommuting job opportunities that have been around since 2007. The downside of FlexJobs is that it costs money for job seekers to use.
- WeWorkRemotely: One of the oldest and largest remote work job boards. You might even find a role at a large company like Google or Amazon listed on the site.
- RemoteOK: Another popular alternative that is free for job seekers with filters to hone your search.
And, if an online job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unlike in-person jobs where you can visit the office and get a feel for the company, work-from-home jobs can make it harder to get a clear picture of the company and work environment.
Keep an eye out for these red flags in job postings:
- Overpromising: Jobs that say "unlimited earning potential," "investment opportunities and seminars," or "quick money" are likely scams.
- Requests for personal information during the application process: Don't provide companies with your social security number, birth date, credit card number, or anything else early in the interview process or part of your application.
- A cost to apply: Real companies are hungry for talented people. They won't ask you to pay to apply.
- An instant job offer: If you're offered a job without an interview or reference checks, be wary.
- Micromanagement and employee tracking software: Fully remote companies that rely on these tactics aren't places you want to work. Look for companies based on asynchronous communication with great remote employee benefits.
Step 2: Identify the experience you have and what you're missing
Once you find your dream remote job, it can be disheartening to see a wall of must-have skills, qualifications, and experience.
You should know many of these requirements are nice-to-haves. Hiring managers know most candidates won't tick every box. Your job is to show that you're the candidate who ticks the most.
You should always apply if you're missing a few must-haves. If you do an excellent job of highlighting the skills you do have and emphasizing that you're capable of learning the ones you don't, you'll be in good shape.
To do this, you need to read the job description carefully and note all the skills and relevant prior experience you have. Then ask yourself:
- What am I missing?
- Do I have other complementary or supplementary skills that could fill the gaps? For example, maybe you're applying for a remote social media manager job but only have experience as a content writer. Chances are, your writing skills will be advantageous in the role.
- Can I learn the skills needed to succeed in the new job?
Even if you have no remote work experience, you probably still have relevant in-person experience, education, or qualifications that can transfer across. You can learn a lot of the essential remote work skills on the job. Be sure to get familiar with the terms outlined in our remote work glossary so you can communicate with your fellow remote workers.
Related: What is remote work?
Step 3: Write a remote job resume
A great resume will help you stand out and display critical remote work skills. Remote jobs get a ton of applicants, and employers tend to prefer employees with remote work experience because they have the skills needed to succeed.
If you don't have any remote work experience, don't worry. Your resume can have a massive impact on whether you land an interview. The more time you invest upfront, the easier time you'll have during your job search, as you'll show potential employers that you're ready to work from home.
A prominent place to start is with the skills section of your resume, but don't forget to sprinkle hints through your work experience section. Lean on any relevant experience you have.
Even if you've always worked in an office, chances are you've had to collaborate with colleagues or vendors in different time zones or geographies. For example, if you worked in an office based in Australia but frequently worked with colleagues based in San Francisco, make it clear. Or perhaps you worked in customer service and used live chat to communicate with overseas customers.
The good thing is that there are many different ways to demonstrate remote work readiness and communication skills without experience.
Don't forget to tailor the resume to fit the specific role. Many remote companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automatically filter out resumes that don't match the job description. Make sure you use the same language as the job description, so your resume gets reviewed!
For example, suppose you're applying for entry-level remote jobs such as virtual assistant or data entry jobs. In that case, you probably need to include keywords like attention to detail, NetSuite, Excel, multitasking, calendar management, etc.
You'll also want to identify the tone they use. Some company cultures are more serious, while others are more playful. Your resume should match the style of the company.
By tailoring your resume to include a mix of critical soft skills and the technical skills outlined in the job description, you'll indicate to the hiring manager that you're a great candidate.
For more tips, be sure to read our complete guide on how to write a remote job resume. It includes remote work resume templates and samples.
Step 4: Write a remote job cover letter
A cover letter can provide additional information missing from your resume and allow you to dive deeper into why your background, skills, and expertise are perfect for remote work.
Your goal is to help the hiring manager understand why you are applying for the job at their company. Most importantly, why they should interview you over other candidates who may have remote work experience.
Think about it this way: Your resume focuses on your qualifications and achievements, then your cover letter expands on those achievements, showcases personality, and explains why your experience makes you an excellent fit for the company and role.
Even if you don't have remote work experience, you can use your cover letter to differentiate yourself from other candidates by highlighting your soft skills.
Include these details in your cover letter for a remote job:
- Your experience working remotely: Like any job application, your experience carries a lot of weight. If you have remote work experience, call attention to it in your cover letter. Employers hire people who understand how to collaborate in a remote environment and the challenges associated with remote work.
- Soft skills relevant to remote work: Even if you haven't worked remotely before, you can show the hiring managers that you have the essential soft skills needed to be successful as a remote employee. These skills include working independently, async communication, time management, cross-cultural literacy, and timezone conscientiousness.
- Hard skills optimized mentioned in the job description: When writing your cover letter, the job description is your best friend. If it mentions specific hard skills like Tableau or Python and you have the expertise, say it! Drawing a direct link from the job description to your experience will show the hiring manager that you've carefully read the job ad and have invested the time to craft a personalized cover letter.
- What you can bring to the table: Employers are looking for someone who can do the job and do it well. The most important thing you can outline in your cover letter is your value to the company. It's OK to outline the benefits that remote work brings, but always anchor on what you can bring to the table.
- Your research: You must research the company before applying for the job. The good news is this doesn't take a whole lot of effort. Start with the company's website and familiarize yourself with its products and mission. From there, you can listen to or watch interviews with the CEO or leadership team members. You can also use our remote company profiles to learn about thousands of companies, their tech stacks, and company cultures.
- Your passion: Two of the most common remote job interview questions are "Why are you interested in this position?" and "Why do you want to work here?" Both help hiring managers understand why you are applying for a remote position at their company. Passion can come as an anecdote about the company or that you've been a customer for years. There are many different ways you can inject passion into your cover letter, and it's a great way to stand out.
- A clear call to action: Always end your cover letter with a clear call to action. Reiterate how excited you are about the company and the position, then ask for an interview.
If you'd like to learn more, read our guide on how to write a cover letter for remote jobs.
Step 5: Get familiar with remote work tools
Chances are, the job will call for specific experience using remote work tools.
The good news is most fall under two categories: communication tools and project management apps.
Because fully remote companies don't work face-to-face, they need to use software to stay in sync. Communication tools like Slack, Zoom and Gather Town make this easy.
The good news is if you've worked in an office, there's a good chance you've used a few different communication tools anyway! Even if you haven't, most of these tools have freemium or free trial models that allow you to test them out and get used to them before your interview.
It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with project management tools like Notion, Trello, Asana, Basecamp, or Linear. You don't have to know all of them. Once you've used one, it isn't too hard to learn another.
If the job description calls out a specific tool and you don't have experience with it, Google it and see if they have a free trial you can use. Even a general understanding of the tool will give you a leg up against other job candidates. Hiring managers love to see people taking the initiative and learning new software themselves.
Find a remote job on Himalayas
Apply privately to 2,000+ remote jobs and discover 1,400+ remote companies. We make it easy to filter by time zone, visa restrictions, and roles so you can easily find remote companies that want to hire you based on your skills and where you live.
We'd also love for you to join our free remote work community.
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