6 Tips for Looking for a Remote Job

If you'd like your next career opportunity to be a remote job, you're not alone: The number of regular work-at-home opportunities has grown 159 percent since 2005, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, and 40 percent more U.S. companies offer flexible workplace options than did five years ago.

Still, it's not easy to find a remote position, especially if you're seeking full-time employment instead of a freelance role. These six tips can make your hunt for a remote job more successful.

1. Target your job search to companies known for having a remote workforce.

Look for a company that embraces flexibility as part of its culture. Many companies, especially in the tech sector, will openly advertise that their culture includes remote work opportunities. To understand more about what type of remote opportunities a company offers, look for whether the team is described as a partially or a fully distributed remote team. "Fully distributed" means no one is working in an office. "Partially" means only some employees are fully remote, and others work from a central office. (They might have some telecommuting flexibility, but they spend some time in an office.)

2. Add "remote position" to your keyword search for open positions.

No matter which job site you're using, if a remote position is important to you, you need to include that phrase in your search. You might also want to search social media for "remote position"—often companies will post their job openings on Twitter or Facebook pages and indicate whether positions are remote in those postings.

3. Get out there and network.

Sometimes remote positions aren't necessarily advertised as such—or they might go to insiders simply because it's easier to trust a known individual with the flexibility of working from home. If you're looking to make the switch to remote work, alert your professional network. Someone might know of an opening or contact you about a position that could easily be remote.

4. Don't skip your cover letter.

Again, hiring for a remote position carries extra burdens for the hiring manager. Not only do you need to find someone who can meet the job's objectives, but also you need to find someone who can do so largely without supervision and using virtual communication tools. That's not in everyone's wheelhouse. The more information you can provide upfront about your ability to be a self-starter, the better. (A word of warning, though: Don't overemphasize wanting to work from home. Your primary focus should be the available opportunity at the company, not the chance to work in your pajamas.)

5. When interviewing, define what "remote" means.

The devil is always in the details. What constitutes "remote" at one company—a fully flexible work schedule—could be quite different from another (think the option to work from home two days a week while on Slack from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Does your definition of remote match your potential employer's?

It's also critical to iron out details such as whether you'll be the only remote employee on a team, which would have a serious impact on your experience, and whether you'll be expected to collaborate with people in other time zones. Remote work might not be as enjoyable if you're consistently setting alarms for 3 a.m. conference calls.

6. Simply ask if remote work is a possibility.

You will have to gauge when and if it's appropriate to ask this question during the hiring process, but you might just need to ask if it's possible to do the work remotely. Depending on how valuable you are as a candidate, the hiring manager might be willing to make it work. After all, companies are increasingly expanding their views on which positions can be remote.

Seeking a remote position adds another layer of complexity to your job search, but with some strategizing, it's doable and can be highly rewarding.

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market