Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Recently, I was sent a press release that listed the top seven career categories that post the most remote work. They include marketing, finance, customer service, and human resources. It got me thinking about remote work and finding a remote opportunity.
While many organizations are asking employees to return to onsite work, even if it’s just a few days a week, many employees are looking to make remote work their norm. In a survey from the SHRM Research Institute, 48% of employees said they would “definitely” seek a remote position for their next job. There are lots of reasons for desiring remote work including a reduced commute, better work/life balance, increased productivity, and just overall happiness.
But looking for a remote job opportunity could be different than searching for an onsite job, so I asked Hannah Morgan if she would share her expertise with us. Hannah is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and job search strategist. She’s the author of the Career Sherpa blog, which is considered a top resource for job search. And if her name sounds familiar, it might be because we chatted during the first season of The HR Bartender show about managing your career during uncertain times.
Hannah, thanks so much for being here. Let’s start with the question that I think everyone wants to know, “Is searching for a ‘remote job’ different from just searching for ‘a job’?” If so, how?
[Morgan] As with any job search, it’s helpful to know specifically which skills you want to use, which job titles are the best matches, and what types of companies or industries you want to work in.
Most job boards (i.e., Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor) offer the option to filter a job search by remote only, hybrid or in-person only. Experiment with different filters to help find appropriate jobs.
More companies are testing the idea of bringing workers back to the office, so it’s important to do some research on the company before relying solely on job posting.
Are there things that I should highlight in my resume to show an employer that I would be a good remote employee?
[Morgan] Employers/recruiters would prefer to hire someone who has proven they can effectively work remotely. If the job seeker has remote experience, they can and should note that on the resume – either next to the job title or in the description of the work they did.
Those who have success working remotely tend to possess and emphasize these skills: independent problem-solving, motivation, communication, emotional intelligence, and learn new technology easily, just to name a few. The accomplishment bullets on your resume should address as many of these skills as possible.
And on the flip side, are there things that I might not want to emphasize if I’m focused on a remote opportunity?
[Morgan] It’s probably more important to highlight how your work adapted to being virtual or remote. If you previously only met with people in person, it would be beneficial to include language that shows you met ‘in person and virtually via video’.
In your experience, if the job posting doesn’t mention remote or hybrid work, should someone just assume that it’s onsite? Or is it acceptable to contact the company prior to applying?
[Morgan] I don’t think job seekers should assume anything, ever. If the job posting doesn’t specify virtual or in person, it could be an oversight. The company’s career page may have more information about their work policies, so I would suggest checking there first. You could also look at the LinkedIn profiles of people who hold similar jobs to see where they say they work from. If you see employees with different geographic locations, that may be a good indicator that they are working remotely.
If it’s a really great job, and the job seeker is interested and qualified, I would suggest applying anyway and learn what the work policies are during the initial screen and interview.
Let’s say (hypothetically) that the company doesn’t answer my remote work question. And I decide to apply anyway. If I get an interview, when is a good time to bring it up?
[Morgan] My guess is that if location is really important, meaning that the company wants you to work onsite or hybrid, then the recruiter will ask the job seeker about their ability to work onsite early in the interview process. If the recruiter does not bring it up, I would consider work location a negotiable and would not bring it up until an offer has been received.
Here’s the logic. If you really love the job and the people wait until you get an offer and negotiate the working conditions. When the company is ready to hire you, they are more likely to entertain the idea of you working remotely or some other negotiated term… perhaps being onsite monthly for important meetings.
Last question. I’m hearing a lot of people say that what they discussed in the interview isn’t what they’re offered. I know you’re not a lawyer, and I’m not sure we’re even escalating the conversation to that level. But in your experience, is there anything job seekers can do to make sure they don’t accept a position – thinking it is remote – and then find out differently?
[Morgan] You’re correct, I am not offering legal advice. But what I do know is that the offer letter should state the terms of the work, including clarification of where the employee reports to work. If this isn’t in the offer letter, I would advise the job seeker to ask that this detail be added to the offer letter. Having said this, I am hearing stories of employers changing their policies from remote to in person. Unfortunately, there isn’t much an employee can do, even if it is in the offer letter. The employee has two choices – accept the new terms or leave.
A huge thanks to Hannah for sharing her expertise with us. If you’re looking for information about how to manage your career, check out the Career Sherpa blog. Even if you’re not actively searching for a new opportunity, it’s always good to think about your career.
I believe that organizations and individuals are still trying to figure out the onsite/hybrid/remote work environment. Over the past few years, we’ve discovered there’s more than one way to get things done. This could mean that individuals will be looking for new job opportunities that align better with the way they want to work. It will be necessary to do some research beforehand so you can apply at the right organizations for the right opportunities.
AND…if you’re an employer posting jobs right now, think about how you want to communicate that a position is remote/hybrid/onsite. Because the way the job is marketed could have an impact on the quantity and quality of the applicant flow.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando, FL29