How to Get the Edge You Need in Today's Remote Job Market
Updated: Nov 9
The Remote Work Disruption
Remote work has become the buzzword of our still-very-new decade. This ‘emerging’ work arrangement has spawned countless blogs addressing how to do it, find it, and prepare for it.
You, however, might be one of the folks who is ‘over it’. Experiencing content fatigue isn’t uncommon...but keep reading: this blog isn’t a recycled homage to working remotely!
Because COVID-19 has brought this topic to the forefront, more employers are thankfully warming up to the benefits of a flexible workforce. However, the ease of jumping into remote work heavily depends on your career choice and the ability to take work processes from offline to online.
The Problem With Remote Work
However, you might be surprised to know that there is a significant problem with remote work. On top of the cons that some are discovering? Remote work just isn't an option for everyone. Research compiled using O*NET and OES data revealed that only 37 percent of jobs could be entirely performed from home.
As a result, if you want to take advantage of the benefits of a flexible workforce, you have to come to a significant realization: you may need to change your occupation. This can present a challenge at any point in one's career, let alone during a global pandemic.
To have a shot at a remote work arrangement that brings about the work-life balance and happiness you're seeking, you need to learn about remote-friendly jobs and consider transitioning to sectors embracing this trend.
A Technology and Knowledge Work Monopoly
If you are ready to pursue remote work and are open to shifting careers, the question of the hour is: "Where are remote workers employed?" Buffer's annual State of Remote Work 2020 survey addresses this question.
More workplaces are warming up to the idea of remote work. Buffer’s survey reveals that 30 percent of respondent’s workplaces allow everyone in the company to work remotely.
With responses from over 3,500 remote workers, the data revealed that 41 percent of these professionals work in the software space. The top two industries cited were IT and services (20 percent) and marketing (8.7 percent). Technology and knowledge work seem to be the gateway to location-independence—leading some to have to consider a switch into these roles in these categories.
According to a survey by careers site iHire, almost 62 percent of workers are considering a career change in the coming year—which is likely due to the safety and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, how do you start the switch? Ultimately, remote learning programs can be the path that enables you to transition into a remote-friendly position.
Closing the Gap from Onsite to Online
Fortunately, education and the future of work are intersecting. Remote online learning programs and resources can enable you to move from onsite to online.
You can pursue three educational options depending on the skills and education needed to move into a remote work position.
Remote Learning Resources to Land Your Next Job
If a career change is in order, you will likely want to pursue an online learning program. Here are a few options you can consider:
Online courses: If you seek to move into a new career entirely and need to have formal credentials or certificates to show employers, then enrolling in online courses offered by universities through platforms like Coursera and edX would be a viable option. Additionally, websites like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and even the Lambda School are also options for gaining new skills to move into a new career.
Company-specific credentialing and certification programs: IBM, Google, and even Microsoft are offering credentialing programs where you can earn a certification designed by the companies’ respective in-house teams. These enable job candidates to appear more marketable to companies of their choice or other businesses that need these skills.
This is Google’s July 2020 announcement of their Google Career Certificates program. The company also offered 100,000 scholarships to help learners complete the certificate program on Coursera.
Beating the Catch-22 with Remote Work Certifications
Remote work certifications: Let's say that you have the right skills for a remote work position, but you want to make yourself competitive. Most companies with a distributed workforce before the pandemic favored job applicants who already possess experience in working remotely. A helpful way to fulfill this requirement is to pursue a remote work certification through companies like Remote-How or Workplaceless. Programs like these can teach you how to lead and work while working remotely effectively.
The Leadplaceless program is a seven-module workshop from Workplaceless that teaches professionals how to effectively step into remote leadership.
Access Free + Low-Cost Remote Resources
You have to be prepared to understand what to expect as a remote worker. Whether taking an online course to prepare for a tech job or enrolled in a company-specific credentialing program, plan to seek out education on how to thrive as a remote worker.
A) Read these blogs to get started:
13 Tips and Tricks For Working Remotely and Loving It - Cameron Chapman, Skillcrush (@cameron_chapman)
How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote - Erica Dhawan, and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Harvard Business Review (@edhawan and @drtcp)
How to Work from Home and Succeed with Remote Work - Remote.Co (@remote_co)
Tips for Working Remotely: 10 Ways to Maximize Productivity - Beth Braccio Hering, Flexjobs (@flexjobs)
B) Join these associations, forums, or Slack channels to expand your professional network:
Buffer Slack Group - A group of Buffer users from 100 countries sharing social media and marketing tips and best practices.
Remote Work Association (RWA) - An RWA membership offers remote work professionals invitations to virtual roundtables, access to remote work resources and insights from thought leaders, and personal introductions to other remote workers.
RemoteFirst - This Slack group includes over 1,100 remote workers who are communicating and connecting. In addition to general discussions about remote work, users also have access to tool recommendations and job postings.
Remotely One - A members-only community for distributed professionals to build virtual relationships.
Workfrom Slack Group for Remote Workers - Workfrom seeks to mimic the in-office experience by connecting remote workers with over 3,500 professionals. Users can speak with other members on Zoom calls, learn skills from other members, and engage in virtual coworking.
Workfrom’s Slack community addresses the common and significant issue of staying connected to others, and avoiding loneliness.
C) Subscribe to these newsletters on preparing to work remotely:
Remote Letter - A weekly newsletter that provides tool recommendations, relevant remote work and work from home news, and content from other virtual communities.
Remote Tools - Every Wednesday, Remote Tools, sends out a mailing that includes original virtual work-related content, productivity tips, and a list of remote work tools.
Daily Remote - For those on the remote work job search, Daily Remote sends out a free list of remote-only jobs each week.
Remote OK - Remote OK also provides a curated list of remote jobs from various sectors, industries, and companies, including startups, mid-sized companies, and well-known and large distributed businesses.
NoDesk - NoDesk sends out a weekly newsletter of recently-posted remote-jobs, stories, and ideas from the virtual work community.
RemoteTools also offers remote news, updates, and tips to their Twitter audience.
The above resources will put you on the path to successfully pursuing a remote job, and enable you to grow your network in the process. Yet know that this list is not exhaustive. As you continue to move within this community, you’ll find even more helpful resources (and contacts!) to enable you to learn and implement remote work best practices.
A Lasting Career Transition
Wherever you call home, we’re all navigating what it means to live and work in this new normal together. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many companies and their employees to realize that 24/7 in-person work may no longer be preferable or sustainable.
Closing the remote work skills gap through relevant online learning programs and networks may prove to be critical in facilitating this transition long-term.
This intersection of education and the future of work will include more traditional remote learning programs such as coursework through digital platforms like Coursera. It also includes curated information made available by individual experts and teams, such as blogs, informal online groups and newsletters.
These mediums will continue to play a large part in remote work education—and the professionals who harness the value of these resources (ahem, you!) will put themselves in a better position to transition to remote work.