5 Remote Job Skills You Already Have
According to a FlexJobs survey, 4.7 million U.S. workers now work from home at least half the time. Other research has shown that remote workers are healthier, more productive, more satisfied with their jobs, and may even make more money.
No surprise, then, that most telecommuters want to continue working from home—98%, in fact, told Buffer that they wanted to carry on working remotely.
5 Remote Job Skills You Already Have
Want to join this happy remote workforce? The good news is that you probably already possess many of the soft skills that can help you get hired for a remote job and excel in your new role.
Hiring managers are always looking for candidates with good communication skills, both written and verbal. However, when you’re applying for a remote job, it’s more important than ever to be able to demonstrate that you can communicate well with coworkers, managers, clients, and vendors—even when you’re not in the same physical location.
It’s harder to get your message across when you’re not conversing face-to-face. Successful remote workers, though, have (or quickly develop) the ability to express themselves via email, Slack, and video conference calls.
How to develop better communication skills: Listening skills are the foundation of successful communication. If you can’t pay attention to what others are saying, indicate your respect for them, and clarify their intent, you can’t find common ground. Practice active listening techniques to improve your listening skills.
How to show hiring managers that you have excellent communication skills: Interviews are a prime opportunity to showcase your verbal communication skills. Again, listening is important, but so is preparing for the interview. Research the company, practice interviewing techniques, and be ready to answer common interview questions including questions about communication.
To succeed as a remote worker, you need to be self-motivated. While some employers monitor their distributed workforce more than others, every employer wants to see that their workers can hit their goals without being micromanaged.
To make a good impression on the hiring manager, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you’re proactive and highly motivated—and that you can get stuff done without someone watching your every move.
How to develop motivation: If you’re not feeling driven to show initiative in your work, the first question to ask is, “Do I need a new job?”
If your job isn’t the problem, you may need some new habits. Try setting small goals, working in short bursts, or tackling tasks in batches.
How to show hiring managers that you’re highly motivated: Many interviewers will ask the question, “Are you self-motivated?” Obviously, you should answer “Yes”—but don’t stop there. Be prepared to offer specific examples of how you keep yourself motivated.
Being Willing to Ask for Help
Asking for help can be challenging in any work environment. When you work remotely, it can be even more difficult to swallow your pride and admit that you need clarification, assistance, or a second set of eyes on a problem. On the other hand, if you’re good at admitting that you need a hand, you’ll have a massive advantage over those who find it difficult to do so.
How to get comfortable asking for help: If you find it awkward to reach out for assistance, start by lending others a hand. Not only will this build morale and improve your relationships with your coworkers, but it will buy you some goodwill.
If you become known as someone who’s always willing to help others, you’ll find you have plenty of people ready to assist you when you need it.
How to show hiring managers that you’re willing to ask for help: Hiring managers often ask candidates to share their biggest work-related challenges and how they overcame them. This is a tricky question because you don’t want to dwell on your failures, even if they’re long in the past. But if you share a story about how you reached out to a colleague to learn a new skill, for example, you can demonstrate that you’re self-motivated and eager to learn, as well as a good team player.
Speaking of being a good team player, being able to get along with others and cooperate to achieve a goal is essential in any job. But when you’re working remotely, it’s even more important to prioritize collaboration and communication among teammates.
In practice, this means being proactive about reaching out to your colleagues. If you’re a manager, setting and keeping regular one-on-one meetings should be part of your approach.
If you’re an individual contributor, it’s important to get a sense of how your manager and colleagues communicate best.
The easiest way to do this, of course, is just to ask, e.g., “What works best for you—Slack, email, or Zoom?”
It’s also essential to respect other points of view during your communications with teammates. You’re not going to agree on every point, and that’s for the best: hearing multiple opinions and perspectives will allow your team to find the most effective solutions. The best teams are the ones that expect—and manage—conflict.
How to become a better team member: Respect is the key. Also, it’s useful to practice giving others the benefit of the doubt. Especially when you’re communicating via messaging or email, it’s easy to mistake people’s tone. Clarify before you assume.
How to show hiring managers that you work well with others: Interviewers ask questions about teamwork to determine whether you can work well with groups and what kind of role you generally adopt in team settings (meaning, are you a leader, a follower, a mediator, etc.). Practice answering these questions in a way that demonstrates you’re emotionally intelligent, collaborative, and flexible.
There are few soft skills that are as applicable to more jobs than those pertaining to problem-solving. Managers want candidates who can identify, analyze, and address problems in jobs ranging from customer service to executive management.
But even if your job doesn’t seem to involve a great deal of problem-solving, you’ll need these skills when you work from home.
Remote jobs are complex simply because you’re off-site, away from the rest of your team.
You may have to deal with issues that would not arise if you were in the office. For example, if you have a computer problem at the office, you can probably walk your laptop over to tech support. When you work from home, you'll have to be able to address the issue remotely, speaking to your IT folks via phone or video chat.
How to develop better problem-solving skills: If you gather the right information, analyze it effectively, and make a plan to put it into action, you’ll maximize your chances of coming up with a good solution. If that sounds obvious, consider how many times you’ve seen a colleague "go with their gut" during a crisis, with less-than-successful results. You’ve also probably seen plenty of coworkers think up a good solution and then fail to put it into action.
How to show hiring managers that you have effective problem-solving skills: Go along to interviews prepared with examples of times that you’ve solved problems at work. Numbers are especially persuasive in these situations; If you can explain to the hiring manager that you raised sales X% or decreased costs Y%, you’ll make a stronger impression than if you simply say that you raised sales numbers or cut costs.
How to Showcase Your Skills and Get Hired
Identify Transferable Skills: Evaluate your skill set and identify the hard and soft skills that are valuable for this remote job.
Match Your Qualifications to the Job Listing: Decode the job advertisement and match your qualifications to their requirements.
Practice Answering Interview Questions: Prepare for your job interview by practicing answers to common interview questions.
Look for Ways to Continue Learning: Identify gaps in your skill set and learn new job skills.
FlexJobs. “Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations.” Accessed May 27, 2020.
CNBC. “Nearly a Quarter of Remote Workers Earn Over $100,000 a Year, Compared to 7% of Office Workers.” Accessed May 27, 2020.
Indeed.com. “Remote Work Can Bring Benefits, but Attitudes Are Divided.” Accessed May 27, 2020.
Buffer. “The 2020 State of Remote Work.” Accessed May 27, 2020.
O*NET OnLine. "Problem Solving." Accessed May 27, 2020.
O*NET OnLine. "Skills - Complex Problem Solving." Accessed May 27, 2020.