Table of contents
- Think about why you really want a remote job.
- Get your remote job application package ready for applying to remote jobs.
- Start your remote or work-from-home job search!
- Use LinkedIn for networking and proactively reach out to connections
- Crush the remote interview process for that dream remote job
- Send thank-you notes to recruiters and interviewers
- Follow up politely if you don’t hear anything
- Accept your remote job offer!
I didn’t always work remotely.
For years, I worked in an office. My first job out of college was very much in person, with very little work ever done outside my office unless I was super bogged-down and short on time.
My second job out of college was a traditional startup-to-corporate job at a company based in Manhattan.
Things very much took place in an office, and asking to work remotely was not something anyone did.
Then, 2018 happened for me, and I took a dive asking to take my full-time job part-time and remote. Due to a team shortage, my employer went for it, and Dan and I traveled the world working remotely for my first time, ever.
I should mention that previous to our figurative jump off a cliff into working remotely around the world, we started working on our remote business, which is this website. This is when I first started seeing that work can be done outside the home.
I am sure I don’t need to persuade you into a love of working remotely. You’re already there.
You’re here because you’ve been asking, “Why is it so hard to find a remote job?”
You’d think that companies would want their employees to work remotely. They’d save on office space! No one would have to spend time and money commuting! We could all wear pajama pants on Zoom calls!
But, working in an office is still apparently more popular than we’d like to think.
Are you looking at getting a remote job, with no previous experience at working remotely?
In this guide, I will take you through a series of steps toward how to get a remote job this year, or even this month.
As with getting any job or starting any job search, there are two main non-negotiable things:
- Start networking.
- Keep your eye on your prize (your dream remote job and how to find it).
Let’s begin with the top tips for how to get a remote job in 2021.
Think about why you really want a remote job.
Why do you want a remote job?
There could be so many reasons. It pays to really think about if working remotely is right for you, your career, your goals and your lifestyle.
Think about these:
- Do you want to avoid commuting?
- Did you move to a suburb where jobs and offices are scarce?
- Do you want to switch industries or lines of work?
- Are you losing interest in going into an office every day?
- Do you currently have colleagues you’d rather avoid, which is putting a bad taste in your mouth about working in an office?
There are so many reasons people choose to work remotely, or conversely, get told to work remotely (i.e. the company closed a physical office, or the company is migrating toward a dispersed teams model while expanding). One of the most important benefits, for me, of working from home is that it saves you money in a few ways.
If you’re seeking a remote job, consider if being physically distant from colleagues is right for you:
- Do you thrive on personal interaction?
- Do you get motivated by being in a room of people working for the same organization?
- Do you like the perks of an office, like the coffee machine, a big desk, two monitors and in-person team meetings?
Once you have your reasons for why you want to work remotely, remember that if you get to the interview phase of interviewing for a remote job, that you remain positive and never reference any of the disadvantages to your current employer negatively.
Get your remote job application package ready for applying to remote jobs.
We’re talking about remote job applications here. Get excited.
Just as with applying for any job, you’ll need a stand-out resume, a few great go-to responses for those open-ended questions on application forms and a few professional references whose names, emails and phone numbers you can provide at the ready if an interviewer asks, in the final stages of your candidacy for a role.
Before jumping into the actual postings for remote jobs online, this part is about you and your skills.
Tailor your remote job application package to the role description
No one said applying to jobs wasn’t hard. It’s really difficult, and time-consuming. People even say if you’re not treating a job search like a part-time job, then you’re doing it wrong.
Okay, okay, the whole process is completely daunting.
By being here reading this advice about how to find a remote job, you’re already arming yourself with confidence and strengths.
Here are some ways to tailor your remote job application to the remote job description:
- Use similar keywords in your resume as you see in the job description online
- Play up relevant experience and play down less-relevant experience (while keeping your resume interesting)
- Always proofread, proofread, proofread, and ask a friend or family member to proofread
- Seek professional resume consultation, from someone like my resume consultation business
Applying to a remote job with no experience working remotely
During my last job search, I did notice that some remote job applications asked if I had experience working remotely. Luckily, I did, and I said so.
Some remote job applications will ask in more detail, such as, “How many months or years have you been working remotely?”
If you would answer ‘zero’ to these questions, it may deter a recruiter. So, think about times when you worked remotely on the go, or did work at home for any reason, or reference a side hustle remote business you freelance for.
If you really have no experience working remotely, pick up a remote side hustle or remote part-time job so that you’ll be able to answer with “yes” when asked how long you’ve had remote experience. See our list of the best remote job sites.
Applying to a remote job and “changing one variable”
If you’re reading into job descriptions for remote job postings online and you realize you’re not qualified at all, this may be the type of job to put on the back burner. What you want to avoid is changing too many variables all at once, rather than one at a time.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you’re a project manager. You’ve been working in an office in a big city for ages, and recently you moved to a suburb to be closer to family. You want to work remotely.
What you also really want is to be in sales, or business development or customer success.
What I’d recommend is jumping the gun on only one of these variables: either the remote vs. office aspects, or the line of work itself.
Think about the competition you’ll be up against. It’s not to say there’s no way in the world you’d land this job, but you’d have a better and potentially easier time changing only one variable at a time.
If you land a project manager role at a remote company, you could potentially do a lateral move into sales in a year or two.
Start your remote or work-from-home job search!
We’re going to pick apart step by step how to start the adventure of finding your first remote job online.
Here’s what to do to find a remote job right now:
- Go on LinkedIn to search for remote jobs at companies that interest you.
- Or, search by keyword within remote job listings.
- If LinkedIn overwhelms you, look at this list of the remote job boards for job postings
- Start a spreadsheet of jobs you plan to apply to, so that you get organized.
- Use a site like HUNTR to track your remote job applications.
- Start mentioning to friends and family that you’re looking for work, and ask if you may contact individuals in their networks.
- Seriously, go back on LinkedIn and make it your friend. I’ll detail this in the networking & connections tips below.
Our friends at Huntr provided us with a discount code. Use HALFHALFTRAVEL20 to receive 20% off.
Use a remote job board to find remote job listings
Like I mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to find a remote job nowadays.
The best way is to use some of the best remote job boards out there (yes, LinkedIn is one of them, but did you know that I found my remote job on Angel List)?
Using job boards, like ones you’ve probably heard of ranging from ZipRecruiter to Monster to Indeed, are ways to directly send in your remote job application to a recruiter for the position. You’ll want to apply this way!
A few of our favorites are the following:
- Flexjobs, a site that (with a small membership fee) gets you access to hand-vetted remote job postings.
- JustRemote will give you a powerful job search with the main idea of discovering remote and virtual jobs online that aren’t listed on other websites.
- Remote Woman, which lists mostly tech jobs for women (remote).
- Angel List, which lists startup jobs, with many as remote or remote-friendly, easily findable by a search filter.
- We list the full selection of the best remote job boards, here.
Use LinkedIn for networking and proactively reach out to connections
Networking, especially even networking when you work from home is possible for anyone.
And, networking is known as the most powerful way to land a job, or a remote job, in today’s world.
When you network with professionals who have a relationship with a recruiter, a company or the job itself, you’ll shorten your wait time or your virtual ‘distance’ from getting a foot in the door with a company or talent sourcer.
The best way to go about using LinkedIn as a network for applying to a remote job is:
- Locate a job you’d like to apply to.
- Click the company on Linkedin, and you’ll see the company page. It will look like this, with Apple as an example.
- Next, go to “People.” With Apple as our example, it looks like this.
- Peruse the “people” who work for Apple, and determine if you have “connections in common” with any of them.
- If the answer is yes, see who that “connection” is (the “connection” will be one of your “friends” in your network), and send a direct message.
- I like to send a message like this: “Hi [PERSON], I saw you are connected to [Person who works at the company] on LinkedIn. I just found a role that I am interested in and would love to be connected for an intro with [him/her]. Are you friendly enough with this person to either put me in touch or introduce us, with this in mind? Thanks!”
- Once you get an intro, some people will be happy to send you a direct referral link for applying to the remote job you found.
- However, some might want to have a conversation with you (phone, email, text or video) to vet you and make sure that if they refer you onward, they can vouch for your character and skills.
- Apply to the job via an internal referral, and you’re on your way to finding a remote job.
And THAT is how to find your remote job on LinkedIn!
Crush the remote interview process for that dream remote job
For a remote job interview, you will probably interview virtually, by video, as that’s the whole point of working remotely or working from home, right? I would be surprised if the interview for a remote job were in person. :-)
For crushing the video interview for the role, see our guide to preparing for a video interview. We wrote this guide because it’ll help you both technically and professionally, in finding that dream remote job in this process.
Send thank-you notes to recruiters and interviewers
Always send thank you notes to the recruiters who interviewed you for the remote job you applied to.
Here’s my template:
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me this afternoon about the [NAME OF POSITION] at [COMPANY].
It was great to hear from you about the [THINGS ABOUT THE POSITION]. That being said, this is one of the aspects about the role that excites me the most -- having the ability to [XYZ] and bringing my experience of [ABC] to the table.
I look forward to hearing from you about next steps in hiring for this role. Thanks so much once again & enjoy the rest of your week.
Follow up politely if you don’t hear anything
If you don’t hear anything from the recruiter in two weeks, it’s standard to write a very polite follow up letter, saying you’re still interested in the role and you’d love to know if there have been any updates regarding the hiring for this remote role.
Accept your remote job offer!
Yay, you did it! You succeeded in finding a remote job.
Remember to negotiate your offer and make sure it is a good fit for you, before you accept and give notice to your current employer.
Remember: so much of landing a job comes from interviewing! For this, you’ll want to bookmark our guide to preparing for a virtual interview. Good luck!
Last updated on September 24th, 2021