You’ve decided that you want to find a remote job. But…now what?

Beginning any sort of job search can be daunting, but things feel even more intimidating when you’re specifically looking for a role that lets you work from wherever.

How do you find the types of positions you’re looking for? How should you express your desire to work remotely in a way that’s professional? How do you stand out—especially if you never actually get a chance to meet these people in person?

Rest assured, these questions are totally normal. What you need is a plan to begin your hunt for a new gig.

Here are six steps to starting your remote job search:

1. Confirm that remote work is even an option for you.

Remote work is definitely on the rise (Gallup reports that the amount of people working remotely at least some of the time rose from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016), but it’s still more prevalent in certain industries or occupations than in others. An important first step before jumping into your search for a remote position is to determine whether or not working remotely is even a realistic option for you. There’s a huge variety of roles where you don’t need to be tied to an office or a singular location (ranging from web developer to customer service representative). However, if you work in a field (like healthcare, for example) where remote work is still way more the exception than the rule, expecting to find a remote position at this point might only mean setting yourself up for disappointment.

Understand the norms and requirements of your industry so you can decide whether or not you need to change gears—whether that means adjusting your expectations or pursuing a slightly different career path.

2. Understand your reasons for going remote.

When you’re actively pursuing a remote role, you can expect to be asked this question during various interviews: Why do you want to work remotely? You need to have a solid answer here—and, ideally, something that doesn’t revolve around your desire to not wear real pants or that you think remote work will be easier. Do you want more ownership over your schedule? Are you more productive when you aren’t surrounded by co-workers and distractions? Do you need more flexibility?

Take a step back and confirm your reasoning. That not only helps you double-check your own motivations and expectations, but it also means you’ll be prepared to whip out an impressive answer when you’re asked—because, yes, you will be.

3. Polish your career documents.

Your resume and cover letter are staples of your job search—whether you’re looking for a remote role or a more traditional position. So before you start tossing your hat into the ring for the jobs you want, you need to get those documents polished up and ready to go. Of course, you need to confirm that the basics—your contact information and the details of your previous employment, for example—are updated and accurate.

Beyond that, you’re going to want to make some tweaks to these career documents to portray your relevance for remote positions. This means emphasizing a few soft skills that would make you a skilled remote worker, including things like:

  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Self-motivation
  • Verbal and written communication

Those are all highly important when working in a remote environment, and hiring managers will want to see those types of competencies on your resume (provided you honestly possess them).

4. Know what type of role you’re looking for.

Alright, yes, you know that you’re looking for a remote role. But that can mean a number of different things. Do you want to work remotely for a local organization—meaning there’s an office that you might stop into for meetings and other get-togethers from time to time? Or do you want to work for a fully distributed team where your co-workers are all over the globe?

As with anything, there are pros and cons related to all types of arrangements. Know what you want (or whether or not the type of team matters to you) so you can use that information to further target your job search.

5. Look in the right places.

You’ve done the necessary self-reflection and you’ve made sure your resume and cover letter are ready to impress. What next? It’s time to actually start looking for jobs.

Remote positions do get posted on standard job boards and on platforms like LinkedIn. But separating the wheat from the chaff and finding them there is going to slow you down—and likely inspire quite a bit of frustration. Instead, if you’re truly set on a remote position, turn your attention to sites (ahem, like Remote.co) that focus exclusively on remote work. Doing so makes it that much easier to find open roles that are actually a good fit with what you’re looking for.

6. Build a remote community.

You know that networking is important when you’re job searching, but it’s tempting to think that only applies to traditional, in-office positions.

Make no mistake, building and leaning on a network is equally important when you’re looking for a remote role—arguably even more so. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and groups online (like on LinkedIn and even Facebook) where you can connect with other remote workers to pick up tips and tricks, and perhaps even get referred to jobs or companies. Even though your goal is to work alone, it’s undeniably helpful to have that community that can support and encourage you.

Starting a remote job search can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these six steps, and you’ll be that much closer to landing the remote role of your dreams.

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