According to more than 2,100 people who worked remotely during the pandemic, 58 percent say they would absolutely look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working from home in their current position. 65 percent want to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, and another 33% prefer a hybrid work arrangement. In order to share information that can be helpful to people looking specifically for remote work, the FlexJobs Career Coaching Team has compiled ten of the most common remote job search-related questions that they receive from job seekers.
“Job searching is an incredibly stressful process, and it’s even more challenging if you’re looking for a remote job but are unfamiliar with how that might be different than searching for a traditional in-office job,” said Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs. “The career coaches at FlexJobs hope that sharing this information will give job seekers more confidence in their remote job search, and ultimately help them find a great work-from-home job,” Reynolds concluded.
Below are ten common questions the career coaches at FlexJobs hear from job seekers, and their responses.
1. What are the current trends in the remote job market?
The landscape of remote work has been permanently altered as a result of COVID-19, with many reports that companies are implementing remote work as a long-term strategy. About 80% of CEOs say they expect a more widespread remote workforce as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and 69% of large-company CEOs plan to downsize their office space.
2. What kinds of remote jobs are there?
While we see a huge variety of remote work being done across dozens of career fields and industries, there are fields consistently high in open remote job listings. The top career fields for remote jobs are:
- Computer & IT
- Medical & Health
- Project Management
- Accounting & Finance
- Customer Service
Some of the most common and popular remote job titles are accountant, engineer, writer, customer service representative, recruiter, and developer. There are plenty of surprising remote jobs as well! Jobs like home stylist, senior traffic engineer, and teleradiologist are examples of recent remote job listings. Remote jobs also span career levels. Common entry level remote career categories include finance, bilingual, and sales but C-level remote jobs like CMO, CFO, and CTO can also be found.
3. Are there certain companies that are known for hiring remote workers?
In the eight years since FlexJobs began ranking the Top 100 Companies With Remote Jobs, there’ve been countless changes in how companies approach remote work. During the last year, remote work has obviously become an absolute necessity for people and companies everywhere, with many committing to remote work for the long-term. While companies all over the world transitioned to remote work in 2020, there’s been a consistent cohort of remote-friendly companies like ADP, Dell, and UnitedHealth Group that have made our Top 100 list since 2014 — you can check out those companies here.
4. Why do some jobs have a specific location listed if it’s 100% remote?
People tend to think of remote positions as being the same as “work from anywhere” jobs. Although these types of jobs do exist, the reality is that 95% of the remote jobs our researchers find actually have geographic requirements, whether it’s a specific state, city, country, or even region of the country. State and federal regulations may dictate where companies can do business, which determines the locations where employees can work from. Similarly, tax law may determine which states companies can conduct business and hire employees in.
The role may also have state-regulated licenses and certifications, or specific sales regions. The employer might want you to be close to the office for occasional in-person activities or to meet with clients.
5. What kind of technology and tools do I need to know to be a remote worker?
Remote employers differ slightly in the types of technology skills they’d like to see and they actively look for and pursue candidates with remote-friendly skills and experience. Tools can support communication, project management, conferencing, and collaboration efforts. Some of the most popular include Slack, Google Drive Suite, HipChat, Trello, Teamwork, Asana, Jira, monday.com, Zoom, Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, Skype, DropBox, and Calendly.
When reading job descriptions, you should note the remote technologies and collaboration programs and proactively develop your knowledge and understanding of these systems through online tutorials, if necessary.
6. What do I need to know about virtual hiring and video interviews?
Remote hiring practices are similar to in-office hiring practices in that employers want to hire people that are a good fit with the company culture and have experience, skills, and requirements noted in the job posting. In order to do this, the interview process for remote jobs is largely done over phone or video calls. We recommend a number of tips to make a video interview a success, such as doing a dry run with the same platform that will be used on the day of the interview, checking that you have an appropriate and non-distracting virtual background, observing body language, and practicing your interview skills in these mediums to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best possible way.
7. Do you need to write a cover letter for remote job applications?
We definitely recommend you write a cover letter for every job you apply for, remote or not, even if the job posting doesn’t require it. Most people don’t write cover letters, especially if they’re not required, so crafting one can set you apart from the crowd. This is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplishments as they relate to what the company is seeking. Cover letters don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) lengthy, so taking a little bit of time to create one can really give you a leg up in the job search. Worst case scenario? The employer doesn’t read it, but by writing the cover letter, you’ve already started preparing your best arguments as to why you’re the right person for the job and you can use those during the interview process, or when applying to similar jobs down the road.
8. Do employers want me to have my own equipment as a remote worker, or will they provide things like laptops?
It depends on the job and the employer. Usually, if specific equipment is required, it will be listed in the job description. If not, this is a great question to ask in an interview! Some employers will provide you with equipment while others expect you to have the equipment already. Another possibility is that the employer will provide a stipend for you to purchase home office equipment or reimbursement up to a certain amount where you purchase the equipment on your own and they will cover some or all of it. This is also something that you could ask for in the job offer negotiation process.
9. Why am I not hearing back from employers when I apply to remote jobs?
Remote job applications follow the same process as in-office job applications. At the application stage, there may be something going on with the resume or cover letter that isn’t resonating with employers. Are you tailoring your resume for each application? Is the formatting of your resume readable by applicant tracking systems? Are you following all the requests in the job description – including required information, answering any specific questions posed by the employer? These are the most common places people get tripped up if they’re not hearing back from employers after submitting applications.
10. Is my age a problem when I apply to a remote job?
While your age specifically isn’t a problem, the assumptions people make about your age, referred to as “ageism,” can be a problem. It’s unfortunate, but it can be a part of the job search process and sometimes it’s out of our control. Here are some recommendations to help employers focus their attention on your most recent and most relevant experience, rather than your age:
– Cut down any long career histories on your resume, more than 10 to 15 years in the past. Remove graduation dates.
– Use a current resume format (no objectives, no “references available upon request”).
– Keep your tech skills current. Include current communication platforms on your resume in a Technology section, like Slack, Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Drive, etc.
– Use a current email provider, like Gmail. AOL, Hotmail, and internet service provider email addresses are the more outdated providers we recommend shifting away from.
Job seekers can also now access a robust database of Q&As from the FlexJobs Career Coaching Team, who offer resume reviews, 1:1 coaching sessions, mock interviews, and other support.