En español | Are you growing tired of your commute and looking for a more flexible work arrangement? Do you have strong time-management skills and feel comfortable using email, phone and video-conferencing software to keep in touch with coworkers? If so, a work-from-home job might be a good next step in your career.
According to a survey by “Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs,” remote work has grown 91 percent over the past decade — and 159 percent over the last 12 years. In fact, remote work is “standard operating procedure” for half of the U.S. population, says one report from Forbes.
But before you start firing off job applications for virtual positions, reevaluate your current résumé. While writing a résumé and cover letter for a remote job is similar to writing one for a traditional, office-based role, there are small changes you can make that will help your chances for being noticed. Below are five ways you can tailor your résumé to land a work-from-home job.
1. Emphasize previous telecommuting experience.
If you've successfully worked from home — or traveled extensively for work — in previous positions, a prospective employer can assume you will be ready to work virtually in your next role. Choose one of the following ways to highlight this valuable work experience.
- Leverage your job title. Include the word “Virtual” or “Remote” in parentheses at the end of your job title.
- Use “location” as an opportunity. Instead of listing a city and state for your position's location, write “Remote Work” instead.
- Highlight it in your job description. Leave out any location information for the role and note that the job was performed remotely in the first sentence of your job description.
Additionally, let the recruiter know how much of your time — in hours or as a percentage of your time — was spent working from home or on the road. You can include this information in the blurb that describes your job responsibilities or emphasize it in your career accomplishments, like the examples below.
- Achieved 110 percent sales quota for the past three years while traveling 80 percent of the time
- Won an award for book design while a member of a three-person, 100 percent virtual team
2. Highlight the skills employers look for.
Not everyone is cut out to work from home. When hiring remote workers, employers look for candidates who are qualified to perform the job duties and also possess certain traits that will set them up for success working from home. The best telecommuters are typically self-motivated, disciplined, mature, skilled with technology, effective time managers and comfortable with electronic communication. Where possible, emphasize these soft skills in your cover letter and résumé to show employers you have what it takes to telework successfully.
For example, consider adding a “Technical Skills” section toward the bottom of your résumé that lists your relevant proficiencies. Include any online collaboration tools, video-conferencing software, chat platforms and instant-messaging tools you've used previously or with which you are familiar. Also, you can use your cover letter to express your high comfort level in using these tools to stay in touch with colleagues.
3. Show you're set up for success — literally.
In your cover letter, mention your access to the tools you'll need to perform the job working from home, including a dedicated workspace, a reliable and fast internet connection, and a newer-model computer, as some employers will expect their telecommuters to supply their own equipment.
You can also subtly work this information into your résumé. For instance, if you've worked remotely in the past as a customer service representative, you might state, “Fielded 20+ inbound calls and 30+ email inquiries from customers on a daily basis from a dedicated home office with a high-speed internet connection."
4. Tailor your résumé for the position.
Once you find a position that interests you and matches your expertise, reevaluate your résumé based on the specific job requirements listed. Then, tweak your résumé so it clearly reflects your qualifications. Where possible, incorporate key terms found within the posting. This will increase your résumé's chances of passing through the company's hiring software and capturing the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter.
5. Look for remote work in the right places.
There are many sites, such as FlexJobs, We Work Remotely, Remote.co and SkipTheDrive, that specialize in posting full-time, part-time and contract jobs that allow you to work exclusively or partially from home. In addition, add one of the following terms to your search query on your favorite job board to identify work-from-home job opportunities: “remote,” “telecommute” or “virtual."
Amanda Augustine is the resident career expert for TopResume. Request a free résumé evaluation today through AARP's Resume Advisor.