Mention fully work-from-home jobs, and you probably conjure up an image of perfect contentment: Strolling through your temperature-controlled apartment for a 30-second-long commute, taking a snack break every half hour, and spending all day in your flannel pajamas.
The reality isn't always as peaceful. Many remote workers are harried parents trying to keep an eye on a kid who just got the flu for the third time this month. They might be caring for an elderly parent. Or perhaps they simply have a heart condition, lung problem, or weakened immune system due to issues like cancer treatment or MCAS – all of whom the CDC still recommends take serious precautions when in public spaces due to the Covid pandemic that kickstarted the most recent wave of remote workers in the first place.
Whatever your reason, finding a great remote job is easier said than done. Since you could theoretically take a job anywhere in the world, the options can seem limitless and impossible to narrow down.
Still, it's definitely worth the effort. As of this year, I've worked fully remotely for a full decade, and I can't recommend it enough. For the right person, it's the huge reduction in stress that we all need in 2024.
You can still land the perfect work-from-home position. Here's our complete guide to the process.
Make Sure Working Remotely Is Right for You
First, you'll need to look within yourself and make sure you have the right personality to handle fully remote work. It's definitely not for everyone: Some workers need the structure of an in-office gig to stay on track, and the companionship of their coworkers to keep them sane.
Ideally, remote workers should have these traits:
- Self-sufficiency – Remote workers need to take initiative so that they stay on deadline and turn in their work just as fast as everyone else. If your output doesn't remain at the same level it would be if you were working in-person, your manager will definitely take note.
- High motivation – Many in-person workers say they need the community of their whole team to keep them moving throughout the day. Remote workers will have to muster up their own motivation.
- Strong communication – You'll need to be able to make it clear what your contributions to a project have been, in order to both ensure everyone's on the same page, and to make sure your team members remember that you're doing the work.
- Happy to work alone – The term “introvert” might not fully apply, but you should definitely be someone who's happy to pop on a pair of headphones and type away all morning and afternoon. There's some wiggle room here, though: Some people opt for coworking spaces or coffee shops to boost concentration.
Update Your CV to Make Yourself More Appealing to Remote Employers
When you're looking for a remote position, your resume or CV needs to make you look like the right candidate for that job.
For starters, try leaning into remote-friendly skills: Expertise in relevant software is a big one.
In addition, plenty of soft skills will fit the remote worker profile: Proven communication, time-management, organizational, and collaborational skills are all a help. Find which jobs highlight these skills, and put them at the forefront.
Past work-from-home jobs will show that you've already gained the experience you need to go remote. Granted, this might be a Catch-22 situation, since you'll need to have gotten a remote job in order to prove you can get a remote job. If you don't have a full-time remote position in your work history, a part-time job or some freelance work will do just fine.
The job search can be a little counterintuitive. For instance, I wouldn't necessarily recommend filtering your job-site searches only for remote positions, since many workplaces are open to it but won't mention it front and center in their job positions. Instead, filter for positions that fit your skillset and advance the career you want, and apply to any of those openings that seem to have the potential for remote work. A couple terms to keep an eye out for: Companies that say they have an “agile” or “distributed” workforce.
Find Roles That Are Most Likely to Be Remote
As every fastfood worker, trash collector, and restaurant waiter will tell you, not every job can be done remotely. Which remote-friendly role is for you? Here, we've rounded up a selection of the most likely candidates.
Remote job roles that are often available without significant qualifications:
- Data Entry
- Language Tutor
- Customer Service Representative
- Virtual Assistant
- Community Manager
- Sales Representative
- Content Writer
- Fitness Instructor
- Tech Support Specialist
- Account Manager
- AI Prompt Engineer
- Tax Preparer (seasonal position)
- Audio Book Narrator
Common tech jobs that pay well and are relatively in demand:
- Web Developer
- Social Media Manager
- Data Analyst
- Content Marketing Manager
- Project Manager
- Digital/Web Editor
Other specialized positions that could be a fit:
- Search Marketing Strategist
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Proofreader or Copy Marker
We've also explored the major companies who are most likely to support remote work. Microsoft is at the head of the pack, with Disney, Slack, Spotify, and Dropbox also making the list. You can learn more about what each one has to offer in our guide to companies that offer remote work.
In the end, though, your best bet is to stick with the career that you know best and have experience in. If it's not known for remote work, there's a chance you can benefit: After all, you'll have less competition from other remote-only workers.
Get to Grips With Remote Tech
Certain types of software are commonly used by companies that hire for remote positions, and you'll increase your hireability if you already know the ins and outs of how these software options function.
Here's a quick checklist to make sure you're well versed.
- Web conferencing – By now, everyone's heard of Zoom, the company that rocketed to fame in 2020, beating options like GoTo Meeting or RingCentral. Video calling software is probably the software that remote workers are most likely to use daily, so check out our guide to the top tips for video calls.
- Employers of record (EOR) – These companies exist in order to legally employ workers for a third party company that's often in another country. For remote workers operating internationally, an EOR will probably handle your payroll, benefits, onboarding, and more.
- VPNs – A virtual private network adds a layer of data security to all your online activity, and if you're working remotely, chances are high that most of that work is over the internet. You can get your own VPN, or your employer may have an option in place.
- Password managers – Like VPNs, the best password management tools will help to protect your online activity. They'll keep you from getting scammed by a fake website login.
Once you've been brought onboard as a remote worker at a new position, you can figure out what brands the company uses for its needs and watch a few YouTube tutorials – you'll be up to speed in no time.
Watch Out for Remote Job Scams
You can't trust anyone on the internet, and the job search is no different. Scammers will claim to offer the perfect remote position, coax job-searchers into sharing their personal details, and get away with data theft or even bank fraud. Here's our advice.
- Watch out for jobs with “fees” – You should never be paying for the privilege of applying to a job.
- Research the employer – Scammer might make up a fictional employer. You can also make sure you speak directly with the employer (or claiming to be them) so that you can later confirm that individual works for who they say they do.
- Take it slow – Scammers don't want their victims thinking straight, so they'll speed you through the process. A fast hiring isn't always a scam, but it's a warning sign.
- Double-check large salaries – We all want a huge payday, but that's exactly why scammers will lie about offering you one. You probably deserve a higher salary than you think, but at the same time, you should be wary of a great deal.
- Watch for personal detail requests – Real companies would never ask for your social security number or bank details until you're fully hired.
- Unsolicited job offers are suspicious – Scammers need to be proactive when generating leads to scam, so they'll likely reach out to you for a fake job. This is a tricky one, though, because legitimate recruiters may well do the same. You'll have to use your best judgement.
- Comb over all written communication – Scammers often leave spelling or grammar errors, and might use email addresses or links that aren't the official company ones you'd expect.
These scammers come in plenty of forms, but following all the above tips can help you stay safe. Find out more on how to avoid remote work scams.
Working a Remote Job Part Time
A part-time remote job could look like a fully remote job that you only work on for limited hours — a an ongoing freelance gig where you ghostwrite a blog post once or twice a week, for example. This can be a good way to transition to a full-time job, or to earn a little extra money while being supported through other means.
The term might also refer to a hybrid job, which workers spend a full 40 hours at, but only two or three days are spent in the physical office, leaving either two or three days left over to work from home. If that's a fit for you, you're in luck: Studies show that hybrid jobs have been rapidly becoming more popular — partially due to the decline in fully remote positions.
Use of the term “hybrid work” in job listings has risen by 29% between 2022 and 2023, one study found. That trend is not likely to reverse any time soon, since workers are clinging to all the flexibility they can get: 51% of workers polled in one 2021 survey said they'd quit their job if the hybrid option was dropped.
Ask Your Current Employer to Go Remote
Your dream remote job may just be the same one you have now if it were remote. Your employer depends on your work to keep their operation running, which is a big reason why they may be willing to accommodate your request to work fully remotely. Here's how to approach the topic.
First, put together a compelling case for why you specifically need a remote position. Think about your past successes and challenges, and how working remotely to help you: Perhaps it would make you more fulfilled, offer a better work-life balance, and leave you with more energy to do your job. You can cite statistics on remote work benefits if you'd like, but a personal, from-the-heart case will probably work best.
Try suggesting a trial period first, and make sure to collect data on your productivity during the trial to prove you are just as effective at your home desk as at your office one. You can also deliver an ultimatum, letting your workplace know that you'll have to quit if you can't work fully remote. At worst, you may need to find another job, and you may raise your compensation at the same time as you land a position that will truly balance your work-life needs.