So, You Want to Work Remotely?
You’ve decided that you want to work remotely. You know that many careers cater to a flexible working environment, but you are not too sure how to snag the coveted work-from-home setup. You may even be wondering what careers would fit your personality as well as your previous experience that you’ve gained over the years. You may also wonder where you should begin to search for remote careers that provide growth, development, and leadership opportunities. With all questions swarming the one concern that you may need clarity before all the above is how to successfully interview for a remote job. Knowing where to look for resources to address these topics can initially feel like a challenge. However, being armed with insights into job growth sectors in the remote workspace while understanding highly sought after skills and remote work best practices will provide you the jobseeker with knowledge to make informed decisions that can ultimately help craft your very own remote career plan.
Practicing a technique researchers and attorneys call discovery can help you better understand what it takes to be a successful remote worker regardless of where your previous career started. A question that should be top of mind to seek further clarity is this: what skills do remote workers possess? How can I be successful working away from a corporate center? Am I comfortable working with little to no direct supervision or would I prefer to work in person surrounded by management and fellow team members? To gain additional clarity with questions like these and more, seek out people in your network and conduct informational (discovery) interviews where you can ask them questions on their experience working remotely, find out the pros, cons, and what advice they can offer to you as you continue your journey. You may also do a personal skills review of yourself to better understand the types of remote careers that would be suitable for your personality. Do you like working with employees within companies and supporting personnel issues and human resources like an HR specialist? Would you prefer to work with reports and analyze trends like an analyst? Do you like instructing learners or training others on how to do certain tasks? Do you like troubleshooting technical issues with hardware and software like an IT specialist? Would you like to work with numbers, insurance, or banking customers through remote customer servicing departments and call centers? Once you have an idea on what type of remote work you want you can then craft your approach to landing an entry level role to get you moving in the right direction.
Interviewing for a Remote Job
Preparing for an interview for a remote job is crucial. Remember, your future leaders need to feel confident that you can handle all work output from the comfort of your home office. You will need to know how to operate teleconferencing software like Zoom, be able to provide a quiet place to interview and work (if selected for the job) as well as a place that can be reserved for any potentially sensitive information that needs to be secured from others (think customer files, reports and other personally identifiable information, etc.) Learning basic Zoom skills, teleconferencing dos and don’ts, possessing basic technology familiarity, a place to work uninterrupted, and the right equipment if required to furnish will help you get off the ground and running when you do land that remote job!
How Do I Remotely Work?
How does remote work actually work? What are the mechanics of performing work from home and how to be successful in working from home? These are also questions you will want to address as you navigate best work from home practices. Communication skills will be paramount to your success. Because you are not in an office where watercooler chat can happen organically with your coworkers and boss, building intentional communication cadences will help you stay up to speed on important topics that affect your work. Building camaraderie with coworkers can also be a bit of a challenge but not at all impossible. Set time aside to meet for coffee chats with peers or lunch over Zoom where you can enjoy a bite to eat while building relationships that will have an impact on your career. Punctuality will be key for all meetings, and equally if not more important – having a stable internet connection and being able to do basic computer troubleshooting will also help you to be successful.
Continuous Career Development Please!
Mastering the art of continuous learning not only has positive psychological impacts, but continuous learning can also heavily impact your career opportunities in the remote work landscape. There are many skills that remote workers use to stay relevant that perhaps when in-person, may not be as obvious. Let’s look at project management to solve customer issues as an example. When working remote it may be more difficult to assess customer issues and potential projects that need resolving; however, combined with your superb communication skills as well as the ability to review data and communicate with peers throughout various departments in your company, you may be able to easily identify underlying issues that others who work in person may not see. This may be because working remotely removes you from the in-office chatter and the potential for constant interruptions that may impact the ability to do deep-work regularly. Working from home can afford you the opportunity to truly dial-in and study trends and create potential workarounds or solutions to address the issues that have been uncovered. Learning how to manage those issues in a project management format can prove to be extremely beneficial and may just improve your chances of additional promotional opportunities. Keep the momentum of building your career skill set, stay up to date on the best skills to learn and master in your chosen field, embrace universal skills such as project management and a willingness to learn and stay current with industry best practices.
Over the Horizon
Beyond the job and beyond the horizon of your immediate career you may be inspired to lead remote teams in the future. While being a leader comes with great responsibility, leading in a remote environment has its own set of challenges. However, by taking the initiative to learn how to build team camaraderie, build remote relationships externally, how to nurture remote relationships and maintain remote career development you will succeed and continue to grow.
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