It’s no secret that remote jobs are becoming an increasingly normal part of the knowledge work landscape. In 2016, 43% of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely according to a Gallup poll reported in the New York Times.
By now, what’s interesting about the remote work phenomenon is not that more people are doing it— it’s that more people are doing it better. In the same poll, full-time remote workers reported feeling equally as engaged with their teams as their full-time in-office counterparts. In fact, those who spent 60% to 80% of their time away from the office actually had the highest rates of engagement.
Remote jobs aren’t just becoming easier to source, they are actually being developed from the ground-up by companies who are purposefully building a remote-friendly work culture (and looking for the right candidates to thrive in it).
Hear from real live remote workers at some of the world’s top distributed companies, including Buffer, Shopify, Atlassian, HelpScout, Zapier, and of course, our team at Trello, about how to find (and land) great remote jobs.
Where To Source Really Awesome Remote Jobs
Job hunting is never an easy activity, but it can be an added challenge to source out true remote opportunities amidst vague “work from home!” ads and job sites that don’t cater to remote positions. After polling experts across the remote work field, here are some of the places they recommended to check out:
- Your existing company: If you feel that your current work situation could be vastly improved by removing the commute (and it’s at the point that you would change jobs to to do so), be sure to communicate with your team and manager. You might be able to lead the charge on remote culture! Just know that, depending on how established remote work is at your company, you might have to work hard at team communication and coordinating with your in-office co-workers to achieve the right level of engagement.
- Remote OK: With the goal to “find you a job you can do anywhere,” this job board provides both tech (broken down to exact programming skills) and non-tech positions. They also keep a dynamic list of remote companies who are hiring, so you can get a sense of the field beyond the specific jobs currently open.
- We Work Remotely: Remote jobs are organized by field and date posted, and are sourced primarily from fields like programming, design, marketing, copywriting and customer support.
- Stack Overflow: If you're a developer looking to level up your career, this is your stop. Nearly every developer in the world uses Stack for Q&A, but it also has a job board that lets coders find their next gig. Add criteria like tech stack and flex hours to find a great fit.
- Flexjobs: Flexjobs covers both full- and part-time telecommuting and remote positions. A monthly fee is required for full access to their platform, and in return, they match up positions with your skills and job experience to save you valuable searching time. A bonus detail is that they highlight which countries each company will hire from—an important (but sometimes hard to find) detail if you’re applying to American companies from outside the US.
- Remotive: Remotive is a full remote job support community, offering job listings, tips and ideas, and a remote work Slack community that you can join for a small monthly fee.
- Remote.co: A great feature of this jobs site is an interactive lists of questions about remote work and answers from top remote companies. These straight-from-the source tips can give you a real idea about the approach of such companies to remote work, and how they build a borderless work culture.
- Hubstaff Talent: This job board has an added bonus for anyone who might be tight on funds while looking for a new job: It's 100% free to use. You can look for full-time positions or find freelance opportunities to build out your side gig.
- Jobspresso: Job listings are manually reviewed and curated, and focus on fields like tech, marketing, customer support, and education. If you’re looking for writing gigs, this is a good stop.
Skillcrush has also compiled a thorough list of remote work sites worth checking out, including those specifically for tech jobs. Virtual networking is another job-seeking strategy to dive into. Get involved in online communities and meetups to meet and greet with other remote job-seekers and workers worldwide. You might just find out about an opportunity that isn’t posted on a job board!
Hopefully you’ll discover a wide world of available careers and opportunities that you can tap into from your home office or favorite co-working space. As Kevan Lee, Director of Marketing at Buffer, found out:
“There are some great remote work job boards out there... When I found my first remote position, I thought that I stumbled on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn't screw up! I then came to find out there are many companies who do remote work.”
Applying through the job board, however, may just land your application in a backlog. After sourcing the job on one of these sites, head over to the company’s website and apply directly instead. I myself followed this exact process to apply for my remote position with Trello. Letting the job board do the work of surfacing great opportunities gave me more time to craft the perfect witty-yet-professional cover letter!
The website is also a good way to check out their public-facing stance on remote work, as Fyza Hashim, Product Designer at Trello, has discovered:
“A lot of companies show up in searches for remote jobs, but don't really mention anything about perks for remote employees when you dig deeper. Sometimes, this means remote employees might be treated as an afterthought while everyone else gets in-office perks and gym memberships. It could also mean they really want you in their office, but they're totally cool if you want to work from home every Wednesday. That's not exactly remote work.”
If you’re not sure if the company you’re interested in is truly remote-friendly, Fyza recommends that you keep it simple, and just ask!
“If you apply, really emphasize that you want to be remote. It'll save time in the long run.”
What To Expect In Your Remote Job Interview
A remote job interview can also be a slight departure from the traditional in-office interview. You’ll likely communicate over a few different mediums, and have a video interview (or three). How you approach and interact with a remote hiring team during the vetting process can really separate you from the pack. Here are some expert tips:
- Help yourself be yourself: You don’t want to be worrying about interruptions or choppy audio while trying to explain your best attributes. Make sure you have a solid internet connection, a quiet place to take the interview (no coffee shops!), and even practice having conversations over video in advance. The goal is make the experience as comfortable and natural as you can, so you can focus on the important stuff. If you’re not used to taking interviews over video, here are some ideas for better video meetings and video meeting icebreakers.
- Know how to use your tools: Remote work happens through technology. Therefore, you should be comfortable managing all kinds of collaborative tools like chat apps, video conferencing, email, calendars, conference calling, and project management platforms because your interview will likely require them. For example, when Stephanie Shanks, Social Care Lead at Shopify applied to the company for her first position as a remote “guru” (their term for customer support specialist), she landed the gig through a multi-touch interview:
“The process began with an electronic application. From there we used the phone, and Skype, and a specially designed "gauntlet" app that gave me a chance to try out the job and them a chance to check out my skills. The process for interviewing was unlike anything I had ever experienced but, oddly, made me want the job even more. If they put all this effort into making sure they hired the right people, it must be a pretty great place to work, right?”
- Lean into over-communicating: The foundation of distributed teams is communication. With the added challenge of distance and time, making sure that you anticipate your team’s needs for information or updates goes a long way in keeping up the connection. Approach your application in the same way, providing as many details as needed and a layout of what you plan to do (follow up on your application) and when (in three days). This kind of communicative effort shows you’re reliable when working remote.
- Get into the remote interviewer mindset: Just like any interview, put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes and anticipate what will make their lives easier. Kristi Thompson, Customer Champion at Help Scout, has found that interactions always top a LinkedIn profile:
“How will you add value to the company you've applied to? How will you make your hiring manager's life easier? You should have these questions in the back of your mind during every interaction throughout your job hunt. Bullet points on a resume don't really matter all that much. Show people you have integrity, drive, empathy, and communication skills.”
Tools To Use To Land Your Remote Job
Our experts discussed many different tools and apps that have helped them connect with remote companies and manage their remote job hunt. Here are the top categories to cover in your stack to have you thinking like a remote pro:
- Job search organizer: Keeping your important documents, applications, contact details, and deadlines organized is key. A nice bonus is to have access to items your prospective employer might need on your smartphone, in case you get requests on the go. Here’s how to use Trello for a job search, as an example.
Josh Medeski, who is a writer, podcaster, and speaker, used his Trello cards to keep track of each touchpoint he had with different companies post-application:
“I used the comments section of a Trello card as a sort of personal activity log, which meant I was able to be articulate with details when following up with a company.”
- Automation: Help yourself stay sane during your job hunt by using automation and productivity bots to make communication and organization easier. For example, you can use an AI assistant to manage interview scheduling or set up a tool like Zapier to keep you in-the-know, like Carlin Sack did to land her remote partner marketing position with the company:
“Once I was near the end of the interview process with Zapier, I actually set up a Zap to text me if anyone from a @zapier.com domain emailed me. That saved me from obsessively checking my email every 3 minutes to see if I got the job or not.”
- Reliable online meeting tool: Whether you consider appear.in, Zoom, join.me, Google Hangouts, Skype or another option, test it out in advance on the internet connection you’ll be using for the interview to avoid surprise issues. Your interviewer will probably provide a suggested service, but having one to recommend signals that you are familiar and comfortable working over video.
- Online profiles: You don’t need to have your entire life online to make a good impression, but having professional details available will help you be visible while networking with other remote folks. A brand tool like Namecheckr will help you craft a consistent handle across multiple platforms. You might even find this information furthers your application more than your resume, as Nick Silva, Technical Account Manager, Atlassian experienced when he was recruited for his current position thanks to his online presence:
“I think that building an online brand is pretty important. Having that brand reflect your true values and personality helps ensure that you're a good culture fit for the organization you're joining.”
How To Know If You’re Ready For Remote Work
Being prepared to work remotely is just as important as finding the right company and position. There are many unique lifestyle and productivity factors that are involved with working out of your home or in a co-working space instead of an office. Knowing if you’re fully ready for a remote job might be as easy as starting with a hybrid schedule, like Leah Knobler, part of the People Ops team at Help Scout:
“I hadn't worked remotely before so I had to really sell that I was ready for that transition. Luckily, because I am in Boston, I was able to be more of a hybrid remote/at the Boston HQ person, but honestly love the days I work from home and could easily imagine doing that full time at some point.”
At the end of the day, it shouldn’t just be about the fact that the job is remote. It should also be something that you love to do, and makes you want to get up and go in the morning. Murillo Flores, Backend Developer with Trello has some great advice which helped him get into his current role:
“Look for a job you would really like to do first, and then check for remote options. I got an amazing remote job, but a few friends of mine accepted offers just because they wanted to work remote without checking if they would enjoy it or not and they ended up in complicated situations.”
Did we mention Murillo works from an island in Brazil? There are many perks to working remotely (as I write this article from an island in Canada!), but they are only benefits if you approach the search for a remote job with the right perspective on the role you’d like to fill, and the type of company you’d like to work for.