I received so much incredible feedback from my post about how to transition to a freelance career, that I decided to follow-up that post with the CEO from Flexjobs and ask her for more advice for moms, dads, and super motivated self-starters like yourself who are ready to start working from home or building their own freelancing business.
Remote work opportunities really can be so incredible for anyone who is trying to balance raising a family, or possibly even taking care of elderly parents. If you are willing to squeeze in working “off hours,” or arranging childcare for a period of time, I’ve found it’s quite incredible how much you are able to accomplish and grow in your career while working from home or freelancing.Working from home and building a freelancing business has been a transition for me, especially after I was so used to working full time out of the home for almost two years after Shep was born. I’ve really come to enjoy the flexibility that this season of my career provides our family. That said, it’s not always easy finding a reputable, well-paying remote job, so that’s where Sara’s advice really comes in handy.
I asked CEO Sara Sutton Fell questions I had myself about finding quality work-from-home projects, as well as questions I’ve had friends and colleagues ask me too. Maybe you’ve decided you’d love to work part-time from home while the kids are napping, or that working a few hours a week would provide you the balance (and extra money!) you are looking for while raising kids. Here’s some helpful advice to help you get started.
Q&A about How to Find a Great Remote Job with CEO of Flexjobs, Sara Sutton Fell
1. What is the best way for applicants to stand out when applying for remote positions?
We hear from employers all the time that previous remote work experience is something that, although it’s not typically required, they like to see on applications for their remote jobs. So, if you have previous experience telecommuting, even occasionally, include that in your application materials. This includes both formalized remote work where you regularly work remotely, and casual remote work where you might work from home when the plumber needs to come, or when traffic will be particularly bad in your town.
Also, focus on the SKILLS needed to work from home, and list them on your resume. Those include excellent verbal and written communication skills, self-focus and being able to keep yourself on track, comfort working independently, and comfort with common remote work technology like IM (instant messaging), document and file sharing like Google Drive, Skype or video chat, web conferencing, and others.
2. If women have been out of the workforce for a period of time but want to break into remote work, what do you recommend they do to begin this process and successfully obtain a job?
The first time I recommend is talking to other women who’ve done this successfully. It’s no small thing, returning to work after months or years away. Hearing directly from other moms who’ve done it can help you pinpoint the common trouble spots so you can avoid or overcome them, and also so you can prepare yourself for the big changes ahead.
Also, consider all your options, including part-time and full-time jobs, and freelance contracts, to potentially ease back into the workforce.
3. What are common mistakes that job seekers often make when applying for remote work?
One big one is that people sometimes don’t realize that a remote work job search is very similar to a regular job search–you’ll be submitting applications, working your networking, having interviews, and the process can take several months or longer. Real, legitimate, professional-level remote jobs require just as much time and effort to apply for as traditional in-office jobs.
4. What are misconceptions that people have about jobs that are available as work from home options?
That the only remote jobs are in career fields like customer service, data entry, and web development. Yes, those remote jobs definitely exist, but they also exist in a LOT of other career fields. At FlexJobs, we track over 55 career fields, and the most common for remote work include areas like medical & health, computer & IT, sales, customer service, administrative, education, nonprofit, accounting & finance, and research.
5. What’s the best way to find jobs that are available as flexible or work-from-home?
Of course, FlexJobs is a great resource because it pre-screens every job and company before they are posted for job seekers to see, so we ensure there are only legitimate, professional-level, flexible, and remote jobs on our site. No scams, no commission-only jobs, no ads, etc.
But when you’re searching any regular job board, be sure to use keywords that help you steer clear of work-from-home scams. That phrase–work-from-home–is too often used by scammers trying to target job seekers, so don’t search that phrase. Instead, use keywords like remote job, telecommuting job, virtual job, and distributed team to pinpoint legitimate remote jobs.
6. What would you tell someone who has been unsuccessful in the job seeking process but are determined to find a work-from-home position?
I’d say keep at it, and keep tweaking your efforts. Where are you getting stuck? Are you not hearing back from employers after you submit applications? Then it’s time to tweak your resumes and cover letters (and make sure you’re tailoring them each to the specific job!). Are you getting interviews but not job offers? It’s time to tweak your interview answers. Think about which questions get you most stumped and practice those. And make sure you’re following up after every interview with a Thank You note!
What advice would you give to someone who is seeking a remote or telecommuting position?
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