And with more and more people jumping on the remote work bandwagon, competition is fiercer than ever.
So, what does it take to impress the recruiters and employers of the telecommuting world? What kind of traits do you need to put on show to increase your chances at nabbing that plum project?
1. The ability to communicate efficiently and effectively.
When your only communication with your team and your boss is through windows on a computer screen, you have to be both effective and efficient at getting your point across.
Being an effective communicator means you are able to convey exactly what you mean. In other words, your grasp of the English language should be solid enough so that your boss/client has no trouble understanding what you are trying to say. Unless you do face-to-face calls every day (which isn’t usually the case),they won’t be able to see your face or hear your voice and thus pick up on any nuances in body language or tone, so the written word is all you’ve got.
Efficiency in communication, on the other hand, implies that most, if not all, your emails and direct messages have a purpose. In a remote work set-up, your colleagues are likely to be wrapped up in their own tasks, so while it’s nice to forward a few jokes or throw around a couple of high-five gifs from time to time, you’re better off messaging people only when it’s necessary.
This leads us to….
2. A proactive attitude.
Because a working computer and an Internet connection are all the tools you need to work remotely, some of your colleagues or bosses might be based in other corners of the globe. This could mean significant time zone differences, so there are probably times when certain members of your team are offline.
Part of being an effective remote worker is possessing the ability to make sound decisions in the absence of certain information (which one of your colleagues might be able to provide except that it’s 3 am on their side of the world). When this happens, you will need to improvise and think of a solution rather than wait for your boss to tell you what to do. Developing this skill takes time, but those able to harness it will never find themselves lacking employment for long.
3. Critical thinking.
Of course, being proactive has to go hand-in-hand with critical thinking. Otherwise, you’ll just be shooting from the hip, and that’s not good for anyone.
Some remote employers include a short exercise that tries to determine your capacity for figuring things out during the hiring process. If you can bring a relatively simple task to completion without much hand-holding and despite a certain lack of details, for instance, that would definitely get your foot in the door.
Flexibility is a great advantage that comes with remote work. You can work at your own pace and decide when to take your breaks precisely becausethere is no one looking over your shoulder all day.
However, this also entails a great deal of responsibility. Because there’s no one to take your cues from, you’ll need to prove that you can minimize distractions and submit quality deliverables on schedule with little to no supervision.
5. Excellent time management skills.
Unless you want to work around the clock (and who does??), you’ve got to be capable of maximizing the time you have each day to finish your tasks.
Knowing how to categorize your to-do list according to urgency and importance is key to this, as is an awareness of how long it would take you to accomplish certain projects or assignments. When you’re all working in different time zones, providing an accurate deadline for the deliverables assigned to you is paramount to keeping things working smoothly.
It should also go without saying that you should also try to make your application distinct and memorable. A well-written cover letter is always a plus (be sure to tweak it ever so slightly when applying for different jobs to show your attention to detail). The interview is also crucial to sealing the deal. Be pleasant and polite, but on point. Ask questions about the job and the company. Listen carefully to each query thrown your way and consider each of your replies with great care.
Remember, when it comes to remote work, you’ve only got one product to sell: yourself. Now, go forth and do it well.