Perhaps you have a family you want to spend more time with, or an elderly parent who needs more of your time and attention. Maybe you just can’t stand commuting, or prefer to work in an environment with fewer distractions. Whatever your reason for wanting to leave your traditional 9-to-5 office job, we’ve got some good news: you don’t have to stick it out! There are other options out there—like a flexible or remote job—that may better suit your needs.
If you’re new to the concept of flexible work and just starting your search to find a remote job, we’re here to help.
Here are seven simple steps to take to help you not only find a remote job, but to find the right remote job for you:
1. Figure out the type of flex you want or need.
You might not know a whole lot about workplace flexibility, but any job that allows you to work from home (and never have to commute into an office) sure sounds good to you! Thing is, there are many flexible work options, from full-time and part-time telecommuting jobs (i.e., the work-from-home jobs), freelance or contract jobs, job sharing (where you split a full-time job with another employee and you both work part-time), and compressed workweeks (in which you work longer hours Monday through Thursday, typically, to have Fridays free).
If you’re looking to work remotely, you might have a few of these options to choose from. So first decide how much time you want/need to devote to your new remote job, and look for positions that offer that specific type of flex.
2. Look locally.
It might be surprising to find out that many remote jobs do have a location requirement. This can be due to tax reasons; a company wanting to have employees close by in case of all-staff meetings; or even wanting their staff to work within the same time zone. So if you’re looking for a remote job, you might want to start with companies that are close by to ensure a better chance of getting hired.
3. Know what field you want to work in.
When you start your search, you have to have a good sense of what you want. If you don’t, you’ll not only be overwhelmed by options, but your uncertainty or lack of focus or direction may also come across in your resume or job interview (if you get one!), which will be a huge turn-off to employers.
Before you begin your remote job search, think about what type of position you’d like to have; you might want to dip your toes into a totally new industry, or stay in your present one for now. Ultimately, in order to be successful as a remote worker, you’ll have to love what you do in order to maintain your professional mojo as you work independently from your home office.
4. Use reputable sources.
Job scams abound when it comes to working from home, and so you’ll need to use some serious savvy when you’re job searching. Better yet, use reputable job search boards, like Remote.co or FlexJobs, which do all the research and vetting for you to ensure legitimate flexible jobs!
5. Research companies you’re interested in.
If you have your heart set on working for a specific company, you should take the time to see if they’re flex-friendly. Approximately 80 percent of U.S. companies offer some type of flexible work, so chances are good that the company you’d like to work for will have a flexible work policy in place. But to be sure, you can do your due diligence by researching the company online (the business’ About Us or Careers pages are a good place to start) to see if the company is a proponent of flex. You can also contact the company’s HR department to find out if they offer flex in their job listings.
6. Expand your network.
Yes, you have a solid number of professional contacts that you’ve used in the past to find jobs. Looking for a remote job is a different animal, though, and as such, you might need to expand your network to include companies and connections that are remote-friendly. You can follow these businesses, thought leaders, and potential mentors on social media to get an idea of what remote work options are out there and to create new connections that can hopefully result in a job interview.
7. Be prepared to work remotely…before you get the job!
Imagine that you land a remote job interview with an awesome company. The hiring manager wants to conference call the interview, so you have to scramble to not only get your interview suit ready, but to clear the clutter from your home office (or set one up if you don’t have one), ensure you have the latest version of Skype, test your Internet connection to make sure it’s fast, and so on, all while the clock is ticking.
Working remotely is going to require all of these factors, so it’s in your best interest to set the stage for working remotely—even before you get a remote job. Make sure that you have a functioning home office with the best computer and office equipment you can afford. Call your Internet provider and upgrade your account to get the absolute fastest Internet possible (a slow or spotty connection is a remote work killer), and get a grasp on some of the potential programs and communications tools you might need in the new position. Having all of this prepared ahead of time will help you once you land a remote job, since you’ll already have set yourself up for remote work success!
Your remote job is out there, waiting for you. Follow these tips to start working remotely, and welcome the flexibility, freedom, and happiness that come with finally achieving work-life balance.