Getting a work from home job is seen as the ultimate work arrangement these days, right? It’s flexible, comfortable (yay for working in pjs on a cold day!), and you can usually structure it around your family’s needs.
But a long-term, well-paid remote job won’t just fall into your lap.
Reality check: you need to work on yourself if you want to be considered for remote work. Because so many people want to work from home, there can be a lot of competition, with sometimes hundreds of people applying for a single role. If you want the job, you’ll need to present yourself as a stand-out candidate. And more than that, if you want to stay in a role long-term, you’ll need to prove yourself as a skilled and trusted employee.
We’ve hired and managed hundreds of remote staff, so it’s safe to say we know what makes a good candidate and employee for remote work.
We’ve put together five main areas you should work on if you want to get a job working from home.
When you want to work from home, it can be tempting to apply for any job that might offer remote work. But you’ll be much more successful in getting a role if you can prove that your skills and experience are an exact match for that role. This means you should focus on what you do best, whether it’s customer service, website design, website development, accounting, bookkeeping, data entry, digital marketing, content writing, or something else. And keep building those skills over time. Presenting yourself as a specialist will help you attract better rates, too.
2. Pitching yourself
As a remote worker, it’s time to stop seeing yourself as just an employee, and think of yourself as a business. This means you need to be able to sell yourself. Pitching yourself might feel a bit awkward at first, especially if you don’t have a background in sales or marketing. But it’s really just showing people how you’re a good fit for their team, how you can help them, and what skills you can bring to their business.
To start with, here are some things you can work on:
- Tweak your resume and refine it - get someone else to proof it for you as well
- Tailor your LinkedIn profile to the type of roles and businesses you want to work with
- Tailor your job pitch or cover letter to specifically address what unique skills and attributes you can bring to an employer
3. Written communication
When you work remotely, your employer will rely heavily on written communication to get to know you, give you tasks, and provide feedback. This includes emails, project management tools, team chat (like Slack), social media, and other platforms. So, spending time getting better at writing will really help you get (and keep) the best remote roles. If you need to communicate in English but it’s not your first language, you can improve your written English by interacting with others in online forums and groups everyday.
4. Focused work
Working from home is amazing, but it does come with potential downsides. You’ll need to make sure your work environment is professional and distraction-free. If your kids are at home while you work, it’s a good idea to see if someone can help you look after them while you focus on projects. And let’s not forget the kitchen fridge, which can be just as distracting some days! Some strategies to focus on your work from home might be:
- Music that helps you focus
- Scheduling other times to hang out with family/friends
- Getting a neighbour, family member, friend, or childcare service to help with young kids
- Setting aside a space that’s just for work (your own office is ideal)
The absolute key to getting an amazing work-from-home role is your portfolio. If you can prove that you can do what you say you can do, it’ll make it much easier to land a job. If your work isn’t the kind that you can put in a portfolio, the next best thing is some testimonials or recommendations from previous clients and employers. You can request these via LinkedIn or just send them a friendly email that says something like:
“Hey [name], I loved working with you on [project or job]. I was just wondering if you’d write me a super quick recommendation? Just one or two sentences that say what you liked about working with me. I’m putting my name down for an exciting new role and I think your words would really help. Thank you so much, [your name].”
To get work, you need to work on yourself
If you’re keen to work remotely, you’ll need to start by working on yourself. The areas we’ve listed above are a great start, but don’t limit yourself. Think about how you can add value and present yourself as a skilled, low-risk option to future employers.
But don’t feel overwhelmed - it sounds like a lot, but these are areas you’ll naturally work on if you just start somewhere. You can work on your skills while you’re still in your current role, even if you dedicate just one or two nights a week. The perfect place to start is our previous article on getting your first gig. You can start putting those skills into practice and see what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what areas you need to work on.
Finally, if you’re ready to get remote work, just put yourself out there. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest with us, even if you’re not 100% ready. If you’re a good match, you’ll get hired. If not, you can keep working on yourself and get ready for future opportunities. And as remote work becomes even more common, there will always be more opportunities.