“Many people don’t want to work unless it’s from home.”
That was the title of a Vox article from June 2021, and it’s something that still holds true today.
The number of people who want to continue working from home, even after the pandemic, has gone up to 78% from 64% in 2020.
Reasons for wanting to work remotely range from the familiar increased productivity and flexibility to more unconventional ones like taking a nap or exercising during the day, or watching TV while working.
Whatever the reason, remote work is here to stay. But if remote work is something you’re interested in, you’ll need to go about your job search the right way.
Here are nine top tips to give you an edge when looking for your first (or next) remote role.
1. Ask yourself if finding a remote position is right for you
The idea of landing a remote role is appealing—chances are that’s why you’re reading this article.
Like anything, remote work isn’t for everyone. You need to draw up an honest and accurate understanding of remote work before taking the plunge. To help you decide whether or not remote working is right for you, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I self-directed? If you’re going to be an effective remote worker, you’ll need to be able to work independently.
- Am I an excellent communicator? The ability to communicate effectively with team members is arguably every remote worker’s most important trait. Since you won’t be able to swing by a colleague’s office to clarify things, you must be clear, direct, and professional when communicating.
- Am I tech savvy? You don’t have to be a tech guru, but as a remote worker, you will need to know how to use some popular remote work tools (more on that later).
If after answering these questions you think that finding a remote position is right for you, it’s time to start your job search.
2. Look for remote roles in the right places
A common mistake that a lot of people make is assuming that remote roles are more difficult to come by.
However, it’s not that there are fewer remote jobs out there, it’s just that landing a remote role requires carrying out the search in a different way. Proof of this idea is the availability of remote-specific job sites that focus on remote roles as opposed to in-person ones.
Consider exploring the following sites when you’re trying to look for a remote position.
- Remotive. With access to a large number of leading companies, this site is a great option, especially if you’re looking for a job in the tech industry. You get to choose between full-time and freelance remote roles, as well as different locations worldwide.
- We Work Remotely (WWR). With over three million visitors, WWR is one of the largest remote working communities in the world. Programming, sales and marketing, customer support, design, and finance are some of the top fields represented on the site.
- AngelList. If you’re specifically looking for a remote role in a startup or tech environment, then this is the site for you. AngelList doesn’t allow third-party recruiters so you can connect directly with company founders.
- JustRemote. This site provides hundreds of remote jobs from all over the world. Jobs on offer include ones in HR, sales, marketing, and project management.
- Oyster. Explore Oyster’s Global Job Board to discover fully remote roles open to international applicants, all in one place.
3. Know what kind of remote work you want
There’s fully remote and then there’s partially remote. You have to know the difference and decide what works best for you.
Although many organizations are planning for a remote future, Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work Report highlighted that only 49% of remote workers are fully remote.
So, getting a remote job doesn’t necessarily mean that your position is completely remote. This will likely have an impact on your overall work experience.
As a potential hire, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the degree to which a company works remotely and to find out how robust their remote working systems are. This way, you’ll know what you’re getting into right from the start.
4. Get familiar with popular remote work tools and applications
As a remote worker, your skill set and work toolkit will likely be a little different from what you’d need in a traditional work environment. One of the most valuable skills you’ll need is the ability to use popular remote work tools.
Remote work tools fall into three broad categories:
- Communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft Teams
- Project management tools such as Asana, Monday, Trello, or Basecamp
- Cloud storage/digital asset management tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Playbook, or Microsoft OneDrive
Knowing how these tools work will improve (or even maximize) your efficiency and help you complete your work without any unnecessary friction. The best part is that improving your knowledge doesn’t have to be complicated. You can sign up for a free course to streamline your understanding and use of remote work digital tools.
Besides honing your knowledge of tools, you’ll also need to work on your soft skills.
5. Build the necessary soft skills for a remote position
It’s crucial to learn how to adapt your communication and presentation to the requirements posed by remote jobs.
The specific skills you focus on will, to some extent, depend on the type of company you’re joining and the degree to which it’s remote, but in general, you are better off learning how to:
- Communicate well over text—often using emojis to express your feelings.
- Appear approachable and professional in remote team meetings conducted via video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Meet.
- Collaborate effectively with people without needing to talk to them in person or even over calls. A lot of your communication with colleagues will likely be over email or instant messaging.
- Follow policies and standard procedures. This is particularly important in a remote setting as it will help prevent miscommunication and make collaboration easier.
Upgrading your skill set for remote work should be at the top of your preparation list before applying for remote jobs.
6. Practice for a remote hiring process
Just like remote job searches, remote hiring processes are quite different from their in-person counterparts.
A remote employee’s hiring process often involves an online application followed by an interview that may or may not be live. You may need to jump on a call (either video or audio-only) with the interviewer. Alternatively, you may be required to take part in a non-live interview that uses asynchronous communication tools such as video or email.
Either way, familiarizing yourself with these steps will go a long way toward gathering the courage to do them successfully.
7. Tailor your application materials to a remote position
When it comes to searching for a remote role, it’s essential that your job application highlights your suitability for the nature of the position.
You’ll need to highlight the specific skills that will help you work remotely, detail any previous experience working as a remote employee (even for a short time), and, where possible, double down on the quantitative difference you made to your previous company’s revenue and performance.
Need practical tips to tailor your resume and cover letter to remote companies? Not sure how to develop an outstanding resume and cover letter? Check out Oyster’s free and quick one-hour course.
Note: On completing the course, you’ll receive a certificate, which you can add to your CV and LinkedIn.
8. Think of your routine as a remote employee
Without getting too ahead of yourself, try imagining what a day in your life as a remote employee would look like, especially if you have never worked remotely before.
Imagine a routine. What time will you wake up? How will you prepare for a work day? Will you dress up for the job even if you’re working from home? On that note, you’ll need to ask yourself if home is the best place to work from, or if you are more suited to a co-working space.
Thinking about these questions, and even going through some of the motions of a remote work day, can boost your confidence and give you the right mindset to become an efficient and reliable remote employee.
If you’re not sure where to start, The Reef Open-Source Employee Guide by Oyster can help you.
9. Empower prospective employers to hire globally
Finally, if you ever come across an awesome position that’s limiting applications to a handful of countries, use this customizable email/cover letter template to show prospective employers just how easy it is to hire anywhere with Oyster.
After all, being able to hire globally comes with many benefits, including getting access to the best talent.
You can also score some rewards for your referrals. Have a look at Oyster’s affiliate program to learn more.
Getting started with these top tips for working remotely
Landing a remote job is unlike getting a regular, in-person job. You’ll need to know where to look, and what to do to stand out and show that you belong in a remote work environment.
Thankfully, having a partner like Oyster makes it easier to work remotely from any part of the world. It’s also simpler for companies to hire and nurture remote talent with Oyster.