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With the coronavirus job loss total now at nearly 36.5 million, it is by far the biggest loss in U.S. history. As a result, there has been a sharp rise in candidates seeking remote work as a viable alternative during quarantine. The timing is ideal, as growth in remote jobs has been climbing. In April, FlexJobs experienced a 7% growth over March in the number of its remote job listings, says Brie Reynolds, career development expert at the online remote work platform.
According to her, the company’s latest analysis now has three newer career fields with strong remote job numbers showing up in the top 10. This includes project management, therapy and internet & ecommerce. The top companies that posted the most work-from-home jobs in April 2020 included K12, Cisco, Amazon and UnitedHealth Group.
The typical remote worker, according to Global Workplace Analytics, is actually 45 or older and making $58,000 a year, but many positions pay well over $100K, debunking the myth that there is a large compensation swing between remote salaries and in-office compensation.
A lucrative alternative for the unemployed
While remote work alone can’t solve the unemployment crisis, Reynolds believes it can provide a viable alternative for some people who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“Customer Service is the No. 1 field for remote jobs right now,” she says. “This is a field without a lot of barriers to entry in terms of experience or education levels. Unemployed retail workers who enjoy helping people may be able to use their skills in communication, problem solving and sales to transition to a remote customer service job.”
Above all else, hiring managers want to know that you can be productive and work effectively while remote, says Reynolds. “They are interested in written and verbal communication skills, time and task management, the ability to focus, the ability to work well independently, and comfort with digital communication tools and technology. These [traits] are all very important to companies with remote workforces.”
She added: “This is what we’re stressing with job seekers who want to land a remote job — it’s important to show these skills on your resumes, in cover letters and whenever you’re communicating with a potential employer.” (See the “5-step action plan for landing a remote job,” below).
Here is a list of the top 10 industries showing strong remote job growth, according to FlexJobs, along with current job listings and annual salaries for companies that are hiring right now.
2. Medical & Health
Clinical Research Physician: $272,480K
OPIP Improvement Facilitator: $66,395K–$74K
Curriculum Coordinator And Planner For Dental Business Education: $50K
6. Accounting & Finance
Mortgage Specialist: $48K–$50K
Financial Specialist, Financial Customer Service Center: $50K
Senior Loan Processor, VA, FHA: $60K–$75K
The 5-step action plan for landing a remote job
1. Search for jobs online in the most trustworthy places. While more job boards than ever are posting remote jobs, most still do not screen and verify that every remote job they post is legitimate and not a scam. Because the work-from-home job market historically has been a target for scammers, and especially because we’re in a crisis where scammers are taking full advantage of vulnerable people seeking employment, job seekers need to be careful about where they’re searching. Be sure the online job platforms prescreen and verify every job and company before posting them for job seekers to find. Wherever else you may search, be very careful before you apply for a job — make sure it’s legitimate and being offered by a real company.
2. Talk about the skills you have that would make you a competent remote worker. According to FlexJobs’ Reynolds, through the company’s Career Coaching Program, she has reviewed hundreds of resumes for people who want to work remotely, and those resumes almost all have something in common: They don’t mention the experience or skills that would make the candidate an ideal remote worker. If you’re applying for a remote job, your resume should tell employers that you’ve got what it takes to not only do their job but do it remotely. Include the specific skills that make you a good remote worker. Essential skills to include are excellent written and verbal communication, works independently, organized and productive, great time and task manager, and having a growth mindset.
3. Highlight previous experience you have working remotely. If you’ve worked at a distance from your co-workers, across time zones or physical distances, that counts. If you’ve worked from home occasionally or regularly, that counts. If you earned a degree or certification online, that counts. If you volunteered on a project where you did most of the work from your home office, that counts. Remote work skills and experience can come in many forms, and they should be mentioned on your resume if you want to land a remote job, says Reynolds.
4. Tailor your resume for every remote job application. That means using a professional summary and list of skills at the top of the resume that can be edited and updated to include keywords and key phrases from the job description. You don’t have to rewrite the whole resume, but you should absolutely spend time making sure your document is keyword-rich in at least those top two sections — Summary and Key Skills — using the same language from the job description.
5. Have a clear answer for the question, “Why do you want to work remotely?” Even though right now it seems like there’s no other choice but to work remotely, employers are hiring remote workers for the long-term and want to know you’re in it for more than just the benefits of being a remote worker. Prepare to talk about how you’re more productive and effective when you work from home because you’re better able to focus, or you’re not worrying about catching a train home at the end of the day, or because you can design a home office space that energizes and focuses you on your work. Don’t discuss the personal benefits, because employers already assume these — things like getting more time back in your day and having better work life balance.