Hiring Managers' Advice for Landing a Work-From-Home Job

Father Working From Home


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Father Working From Home

Home Is Where the Work Is

Working from home is the future … and the present, since we have the technology now to connect and communicate from wherever we are. There was already a shift toward remote work as the digital age dawned, but the coronavirus pandemic hastened it, forcing many companies to realize they could continue business without office hours. Cheapism spoke with career experts to find out how people looking to work from home could pivot to remote work.

Related: 23 Entry-Level Jobs You Can Do From Home With No Experience

puzzled look at computer

Decide If Working From Home Is the Best Move For You

Before you proceed, make sure this is really what you want. Working from home takes a different skill set. "You have to take a personal inventory of your skills and level of independence to be successful," said Kristen Gilbert, president of Evolution Coaching. "Don't just frantically start applying to positions because they are remote. Look at the qualifications listed for each job. Will you have to go into the office for training, or appear once a week, twice a week …"

Related: Working From Home: 25 Things You Don't Miss About Going to the Office 

Remote search term

Use the Correct Search Terms

Fortunately, working at home is so common now that you'll find it in job descriptions under keywords such as "remote" or "virtual." "As simple as it sounds, using the word 'remote' in your LinkedIn search can be very helpful," said Branden Grimmett, associate provost at Loyola Marymount University. "'Virtual' tends to mean something pretty similar. Currently when you search 'remote,' it looks like about 250,000 searches result from that."

Related: Top 25 Companies Offering Part-Time Work-From-Home Jobs 

Flex Jobs
Flex Jobs

Consider Paying for Access to Legitimate Jobs

Money may be tight when you're looking for work, but subscribing to remote work sites such as Flexjobs can pay off with a dream job and weed out the shady ones. "In today's digital age, it is easy to fall for a scam," Gilbert said. "Paying a small monthly membership fee to see legitimate opportunities could save you hours of research, and in my opinion that's totally worth it."


Create Your Own Job Opportunities

Some of the best work-at-home jobs are the ones that don't exist yet. Find a company and figure out how you can fulfill their needs from home. "It's getting more entrepreneurial," said career and executive coach Daisy Swan."Targeting companies and individuals, coming up with ways that you can help a company from your home, coming up with basically what you want to propose to them: Through reaching out, which is basically like doing a targeted job search, you're creating opportunities for yourself."

Related: 35 Hobbies That Pay Off in Jobs

international jobs online

Expand Your Search Beyond Your Area ...

When you are looking for work-at-home jobs, remember, they don't have to be in your home city, or even the same state. "Oftentimes remote work doesn't require you to be physically located in any particular place," Grimmett said. "There might be restrictions on whether you're based in the U.S. or not. Remote work positions really open up the possibility to be located anywhere."

Related: 12 Countries Where It's Easy to Work Abroad 

saying hi on video call

... But Pay Attention to Time Zones

Theoretically, someone in Wisconsin can take a remote job with a company based in China or Australia. There will still be business hours, though, so you'll have to consider what times of day you're expected to be available. East Coast/West Coast may be feasible, but do you want to be on call in the middle of the night? "Obviously, a lot of your check-ins and appointments are going to be done with a phone or Zoom," Grimmett said. "Just from a work-life balance it's important to think about time zone differences."

Related: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Working Remotely 

Freshen Up Your Resume
Tero Vesalainen/istockphoto

Add 'Remote' to Your Resume

Make a resume stand out to companies hiring people to work from home by adding the right keywords. "Underneath your name on the resume, where it says location, you can say, 'willing to work remotely,'" Swan said. "Or, in your professional summary on your resume, you can say 'available to work remotely.' The professional summary or professional profile is really important to tailor for each particular job so that you're showing off the skills you most want to be able to provide."

Learning with Trello
Learning with Trello by Bernard Goldbach (CC BY)

Highlight and Develop Your Remote Work Skills

Work-at-home jobs organize differently from jobs in which every employee works in the same office. If you know how to use Trello, Asana, or Salesforce, that is an asset to remote companies. "I would say that some of the skills that are necessary for remote work that stand out more to employers would be time management, being able to focus on productivity, fluency in different remote work platforms, and also video conferencing," Grimmett said.

Related: 20 Hacks and Tips for Video Chatting on Zoom, Hangouts, and More 

Make Multiple Resumes and Cover Letters

Revise Your Resume For Each Application

You should revise your resume for each job you apply for, highlighting the skills that match each one. When applying for remote jobs, highlight skills that show you don't need to be in the office to be valuable. "It could be organization skills that can be parlayed into being a virtual assistant," Swan said. "It could be using your people skills, meaning can you establish pretty quickly a rapport with people."

Customer Service

Convert Your Office Skills to Remote Skills

You could parlay skills you developed at your last office job into something you do from home. "It might be being a lead generator," Swan said. "If people have been a salesperson in a retail environment and they can show that they've been successful at that, that can be translated into more of a corporate sales environment that is not retail. There may be some hurdles to get over for sure, because it is a different kind of environment, but sales skills are transferable."

Related: How to Create a Home Office From Ikea Under $200 

Take-Home Work Projects

Consider How Your Current Job Could Be Done Remotely

If you're currently working on location, think about whether you really need to be there. "Of course, industries such as construction will always need to be in-person," Gilbert said. "If you sit back and think to yourself, 'If I had the software on my personal computer, I could perform my job duties at home every day,' then odds are you'll likely be able to sooner than later. Insurance, finance, sales and marketing, HR, and administration are a few that come to mind that will open more remote work opportunities."

Related: Pajamas, Sweats, and Leisure Wear Perfect for Working at Home 

Social Media Management

Transition to the Virtual World as a Professional Assistant

If you have experience being an office assistant, you can transfer those skills to work for someone who might not have an office, such as "small businesspeople or other people who just need somebody to take care of their appointments or keep track of email," Swan said. "The best thing is if you have some knowledge of social media marketing and scheduling, even from writing skills that you can offer people, this can all be done remotely."

Teach Online Courses

Explore Industries That Don't Require a Physical Presence

There will be some industries that just can't switch to remote work. Think of the ones that don't deal with physical products. "Target your search on the industries whose products don't require physical aspects," Grimmett said. "Education, professional services, financial services, IT, things that can be delivered virtually tend to be those industries where remote work can happen."

Remote Collaboration
Westend61 / Getty Images CC

Utilize Existing Skills to Become an Online Instructor

If you're an expert in a subject, there may be an online class looking for instructors. Look for opportunities with technology companies that support remote learning. "There's lots of technology partners and vendors out there that specialize in the online learning platforms, career services that are done remotely, those kinds of things," Grimmett said.

online education
sam thomas/istockphoto

Help Schools Transition to the Virtual World

Schools switched to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, using primarily teachers already on staff — which creates opportunities. "I get a lot of emails from technology companies that are trying to assist universities with remote instruction and online learning," Grimmett said. "For those institutions who don't have the infrastructure to do it on their own, they are pretty reliant on those companies, so that's where some of the opportunities may exist."

Woman Working at a Call Center
Marco VDM/istockphoto

Consider Remote Call Center Jobs for Sales and Customer Service

Telemarketing and customer service used to come from call centers. Now telephone work can be conducted anywhere. "There are lots of call center jobs available," Swan said. "There are plenty of sales jobs if you've been in retail sales and you want to transition" to online or phone sales. Also, "sales support can be done remotely. It's pretty endless how much can be done remotely."

online food shopping

Explore Jobs That Provide Online Support to Delivery Services

Stay-at-home orders caused more people to rely on delivery services. As delivery services keep growing, they'll need more people to process those orders. Drivers will still have to make deliveries, but a lot of infrastructure is operated remotely. "Online services, anything delivered online, food and beverage, grocery, food delivery services and supply chain," Grimmett said. "The supply chain has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, so those are the industries that are tending to be resilient … and in some cases are even growing because the population's relying even more on those industries."

Related: 15 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Americans' Daily Lives 

work from home

Look to Companies That Are Expanding Their Remote Workforce

There are more remote jobs than ever because many previously on-site jobs became remote as executives discovered it's more efficient. Especially if it saves money, they are going to want to keep hiring remote workers. Look in those fields. "I wouldn't be surprised to see the number of people working from home doubling in a year as a result of this pandemic," Gilbert said. "Companies are going to create game plans to protect their bottom line. There will be more offers to work from home to provide flexibility in the event another pandemic occurs one or 10 years from now."

Related: 25 Expert Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance While Working from Home 

young businessman wearing headsets
Marco VDM/istockphoto

Explore Industries That Suddenly Need More Tech Support

Information technology previously offered remote opportunities, and could see higher demand to service all the newly remote industries. "If everyone's working from home, they would need help setting up a lot of that equipment," Grimmett said. "A lot more self-sufficiency is required to work from home. Some of the expertise that was previously delivered in person will now need to be shared with the actual employees so they can help themselves."

Related: 22 Essential Remote-Work Tools for Your Business 

The Doctor Will See You Now — Online
Courtney Hale/istockphoto

Look for Opportunities in the Expanding World of Remote Health Care

Telehealth was emerging before the coronavirus pandemic. Now more practices are realizing they can diagnose many simple ailments virtually and keep their physical offices open for more serious patients. "Companies that are already doing that I think are doing really well," Grimmett said. "Also, companies that were just investing in this recently that are seeing a big boom in what their customer base might be, or even investment in the technology as well. Certainly, I would not be surprised if the majority of growth where it comes to job postings in health care are focused on telemedicine."