A remote job can blend the best of all worlds for many U.S. workers: The chance to snag the benefits that come with being a full-time employee—such as insurance and vacation time— without having to clock-in to an actual office. Luckily for those workers, more workplaces than ever are offering remote work jobs and flexible schedules. But how can you find those coveted jobs—and more importantly, land them? This guide will help you find remote jobs and walk you through how to convince an employer you can be successful from anywhere in the world.
What Is Remote Work, Exactly?
First things first: Let’s get on the same page about exactly what a remote job is—and isn’t. A lot of people think a remote job is a telecommuting job, but they’re totally different: Remote workers can work from anywhere, with no restrictions on the time zone or even country in which they live—and they’re not generally expected to come into the office for meetings or other in-office functions. A telecommuter, however, might be expected to live within a short drive of the company—and may be expected to be available for in-person meetings as well.
So, before you apply for a remote job, be sure to ask yourself: Do you really want a remote job that gives you the flexibility to work from the comfort of your bedroom—or even the beaches of Thailand—or would you rather find a job that offers you the flexibility to work from home along with the option to come into the office and physically interact with your team? And if it’s the latter, what you may want to look for is a telecommuting job instead.
And if it’s the former—i.e. you want a truly remote job—then be careful when you search for jobs: Some employers label jobs as “remote work” when they’re telecommuting jobs. If a job listing mentions a region at all, that’s a good indication it’s really a telecommuting job.
Are You a Good Candidate for Remote Work?
Even if you don’t mind working from home, alone, you may not be an ideal candidate for remote work. The most successful remote workers possess certain qualities that help them succeed in their unique work situations. According to Catharine Strauss, the infrastructure capacity planning manager at Fastly, those qualities include (and aren’t limited to):
- Self-motivation. When you’re removed from an office—and your boss—you have to be able to motivate yourself to get your work done. Taking initiative is important.
- Communication. “Individuals who are looking to work remotely, especially for the first time, must be able to provide examples of how they are currently successfully communicating with email, video conference, and online chat programs,” she says.
- Visibility. Even though you’re not in the office, Strauss says remote workers still need to be “visible” people. As Strauss explains, “I like to hire people who don’t need an invitation to provide clear visibility into their work and the value it drives for the business—which allows them to become a respected resource for their peers, whether they’re in the same room or collaborating from across the world.”
How to Find a Remote Job
Here’s a bit of bad news: Not all careers support remote work. Professions like information technology, customer service, project management, and recruiting can be done remotely—while jobs in the healthcare and education industries might not be as open to remote work. Here’s a list of 14 remote work jobs to give you an idea of what’s commonly done from afar.
If your field lends itself to remote work, then it’s time to find it by leveraging remote-work keywords. When you search for jobs—by using Glassdoor’s tools—type all of the following terms to make sure you capture all possible remote-work jobs that are available.
- Work from home
- Work at home
- Virtual or virtual job
- Agnostic location
- Online job
- Distance work
- Home-based office
- Off-site work
- Geographically neutral
- Open location
And to boost your chances of finding remote work, leave out location constraints when you search. By default, most job sites use your location to narrow down the available jobs by your city, state and/or zip code. But when you search for remote jobs, you should double check to make sure that this field is either blank or changed to “remote.” This way, you’ll widen your search criteria and receive more relevant results. After all, most companies won’t require you to live in the same state or country as the company’s headquarters.
Lastly, create a job alert, which notifies you of new job openings based on a specific job title, salary or location. This way, you’ll increase your chances of seeing remote work jobs.
How to Interview for Remote Work
Remote work jobs may come with their own set of interview questions. According to Marie Romero, director of talent acquisition for Blue Shield of California, companies may focus on topics that include “the ability to collaborate, drive for results, and self-motivation,” and ask questions such as, “How have you established/maintained collaborative relationships with colleagues despite geographic differences? How did you keep the momentum of the project going? Tell me about a time you handled a difficult interaction in a remote setting?”
In an interview, you should also focus on proving you have the skills needed to be a remote worker, such as being a self-starter, being visible, and having good communication skills.
Be prepared to answer the following questions that speak to your work style, communication skills, ability to remain motivated and your experience.
1. “What’s the most ambitious project you’ve ever dreamed up and pursued?”
2. “Tell me about a time you took a calculated risk and failed. What did you learn?”
3. “If you’re hired, what’s the first thing you want to work on?”
4. “What are 3 things that struck you about…”
5. “What worries you about not being part of an office community?”
6. “What excites you most about this role?”
7. “Are you able to self-manage?”
8. “Why do you want to work remotely?”
9. “What is your communication style?”
10. “Why do you want to work for our company?”
Now that you know how to find a remote job, here are some extra resources you may want: