In the last couple years, millennials have discovered something that should’ve already been obvious — working in an office sucks. We waste hours of our lives commuting. We go to work every day just to sit at a computer. What’s the point?
With travel costs at an all-time low, and rent costs at an all-time high, it makes more sense than ever to make the switch to online work. Why pay $1800 for a shoebox in San Francisco when you can work from Bali or Chiang Mai instead?
But if you’ve never worked online, this can be a hard market to break into. Remote work is really competitive and it can be hard to stand out. That said, you 100% CAN get a remote job with no experience. You just need to know how to market yourself.
After working remote for over two years, I’m pretty damn good at getting hired. Here are all my tips for how to get a remote job with NO experience working online.
Table of Contents
Skills You Need to Get a Remote Job
You definitely don’t need previous remote experience to get hired. No matter what job you had before, you most likely have skills that remote employers want. I’ll go over how to update your resume in a second, but first here’s a shortlist.
- Solid communication skills including email, chat, phone, & video. You need to be just as accessible 8000 miles away as you would be in the office.
- Independence and self-motivation. Working from home means working with limited (or no) supervision or direction. Employers need to know that you can get work done on your own.
- Problem-solving. Your employer needs to be confident that you can handle any situation without the help of a supervisor.
- Results-focus and ability to deliver on metrics. A manager won’t be around anymore to see how hard you’re working. All they’ll see are the results of your work, so you need to make sure that those results are impressive.
Optimise Your Resume and Cover Letter to Stand Out to Remote Employers
If you send off your resume as-is, you probably won’t be highlighting the right skills. You want to make sure that your most relevant experience is front and center.
If you worked in a role where you used phones, live chat, or email to communicate with your customers and team:
- Emphasise any chat or video services you used for maintaining team communication online (ex. Slack, Skype, or Zoom).
- Highlight any services you used for email or live chat with customers (ex. Intercom, Zendesk, or Salesforce).
- List any experience in handling phone calls or dealing with customers that wasn’t in person.
If you only have experience with in-person customers and team members (ex. retail or hospitality):
- Emphasise that you’re a team player and explain how you worked successfully as part of a team.
- Highlight what a customer service superstar you are. Explain how you developed lasting relationships with clients and delivered an exceptional experience.
Prove that you’re an independent, motivated problem-solver:
- Focus on your self-sufficiency, organisation, and project management skills. Explain how you took ownership of your role and went above and beyond what was expected of you.
- Highlight any experience in a fast-paced work environment. If you worked at a startup, great! If you worked in a busy café or store, that’s great too. Sell it.
- Mention any projects you spearheaded, accomplishments you can brag about, or initiative you took to solve a company issue.
- Highlight any experience that proves you’re a self-starter who can get things done.
Focus on metrics and accomplishments:
- Success in a remote role is usually measured by results, not by the hours you put in – so highlight your ability to deliver.
- List numbers – indisputable, quantifiable proof that you can get shit done. Did you double your company’s social media reach or increase CTR on their Facebook ads?
- Prove that not only are you skilled, you have the numbers to back it up.
When writing your cover letter, focus on why you’re interested in the company/the role itself and what you’ll bring to the table.
- DO NOT JUST TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU WANT A REMOTE JOB. Companies constantly get applications from people who don’t care about the role and just want to work online, and it shows. Pretend to care, lol. It will get you further.
If you’re thinking of working remote, check out 9 Things You Need to Know About Working Remotely first!
Apply on Job Boards Specifically For Remote Work
There are a few sites that list ONLY remote jobs. It’s super easy to find jobs on here. You can also look through LinkedIn or Indeed – they have plenty of listings if you filter by remote!
- FlexJobs lists remote, part-time, and freelance work – you can view all their listings here. You do have to pay for a FlexJobs membership before you can apply to any roles – plans start at $14.95 USD/mo.
- WeWorkRemotely is 100% free and they have a great selection of jobs – you can view their listings here.
- Remote is also free and have jobs from a huge variety of fields – you can view their listings here.
- Jobspresso is my personal favorite – you can view their listings here.
- AngelList also has a bunch of remote jobs – you can find them by filtering for “Remote OK” in the location field. You can view their listings here.
Consider Working Freelance
Full disclosure: freelancer platforms can be tricky. Competition is higher, and wages are generally lower. If you’re looking for a side hustle or a way to get your foot in the door, these can be a great option. You can absolutely make a full-time income, but you’ll need to hustle!
- Upwork – You can browse existing jobs or advertise your own freelance work. I earn a full-time income freelancing on here, doing everything from content strategy to virtual assisting.
- Hubstaff – Same as Upwork, you can browse existing listings for jobs like virtual assistants & customer service representatives. Or you can post your own advertising your services.
- Lionbridge – I got a transcription job through them but they also have other roles ranging from social media to web dev. For transcription you just have to pass a couple of tests (English + a sample transcription).
- Travelista Club – This is a great option if you’re trying to get into freelance travel writing with no experience. They offer free writing training and pay $40 AUD/1000-word article – plus they allow you to promote your personal blog in your articles!
Teach English Online
- VIPKid – They offer roles teaching English to Chinese students online – zero teaching experience or foreign language skills required! You must have a Bachelor’s degree to work for them but you do NOT need a TEFL certification. I personally know several people who do this for a living!
Convince Your Current Employer to Let you Work Remotely
If you’re currently employed and all or most of your work is done online anyway, it really doesn’t hurt to propose remote work to your boss. This is how I got my last role. With the right pitch, you probably have a better chance than you think. Post on this is in the works, so stay tuned 🙂
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