Article By Jennifer Parris
So, you’ve seen all the unique ways a remote job can impact your life, and you’re ready to take the plunge. But there’s one little problem—you don’t have any experience outside of a traditional office. Are you worried that recruiters will pass you by before you even have a chance to interview?
If you’ve read that having no remote experience will prevent you from landing a job, think again! After all, everyone had to have a first remote job at some point. It turns out, that there are many ways to position yourself as a qualified remote candidate with only in-office experience in your past.
Landing Your First Remote Role
There are ways to highlight the skills and experience you have in a way that will make you a competitive candidate for remote work. While you may not have years of experience working remotely, by being creative, you can demonstrate that you have what it takes to be a successful remote worker.
◾ Consider Unofficial Remote Experience
Remote work experience isn’t just relegated to full-time, work-from-home jobs. If you’re looking to highlight experience, think outside of the box.
Maybe you haven’t held a traditional full-time, remote role, but have you completed any work outside of an office environment? For example, you can mention how you’ve worked from home on sick days or when a significant storm prevented you and your team from traveling into the office. And don’t forget, freelance gigs count too, so be sure to include those.
What about any educational classes that you participated in? Remember, employers aren’t exclusively looking for full-time job experiences—they’re looking to see if you’re self-driven enough to manage your time when there’s no one in the same room with you.
◾ Highlight In-Demand Remote Skills
Working remotely is not the same as working in an office where you may walk down the aisle to chat with a colleague. Recruiters want to see that you have excellent communication skills that can replace frequent face-to-face conversations. You’ll also have to display your ability to be a self-starter and how you can manage your time efficiently.
Chances are, you may already have some of these skills, even if you’ve never held a remote job before. So, be sure to highlight these coveted soft skills, both in the skills section on your resume and in your cover letter. Use effective bullet points and tailor your application materials, citing examples of when you used them in previous jobs.
Ensure that you’re supporting your resume throughout your entire job hunting profile. Update your LinkedIn profile and focus your networking efforts to ensure recruiters get the same message when they compare it to your resume.
◾ Showcase Your Preparedness
One of the main reasons an employer might be reluctant to hire a remote worker with no previous experience is a concern that they might not be prepared to handle the self-management of the position. Show that you’re ready to dive right into the role (should you be offered the job, that is) by mentioning in your cover letter that you already have your home office ready to roll.
You can state that you have the equipment and programs required to be a successful remote worker. Pointing out that you are taking the steps ahead of time to have your home office up and running shows that you’re serious about the position, which can be a major selling point!
◾ Make a Strong Impression
You may have never had a remote job before, but sometimes, persistence trumps past work experience. You can position yourself ahead of other qualified candidates who might have the desired expertise by being the best job applicant possible. How so?
Write a unique and engaging cover letter and resume tailored to the position. Ensure you’re showcasing your research and your commitment to the company and the position. Then, after submitting your application, be sure to follow up with the hiring manager, stressing your interest in the job and what makes you a strong contender for the position.
This is a great opportunity to highlight some of the skills that make you an excellent candidate. Believe it or not, those minor details can have a significant impact and impress a potential employer—possibly overcoming your lack of remote experience.
◾ Consider Freelancing and Volunteering
If a lack of prior remote work experience stops you from landing a remote job, take the steps toward gaining some during your job search.
You might want to take on a volunteer project, such as offering up some hours for your child’s school or doing a project from home for your community. You might even take on a short-term, freelance project that can give you new skills, plus some fresh remote job experience for your resume.
Adding remote experience to your portfolio gives you further information to add to your resume, giving you the right to say that, yes, you’ve worked remotely—even if it wasn’t in a formal capacity.
Getting Creative to Land Your First Remote Role
Although it can be intimidating to try and land your first remote job, there are ways to highlight your skills and experience without formal job titles. By showcasing your tech abilities and time management skills, as well as any freelance or volunteer work you may have done, you can create a more robust resume that stands out to potential employers.
When you’re ready to launch your remote job search, FlexJobs can help! We have an entire team dedicated to vetting and listing remote jobs so you can have an easy, scam-free job hunt all in one place. Take a tour and discover all of the benefits that a FlexJobs membership offers.