If, in your quest to build a portable career, you’ve decided to search for a job with an employer who supports telecommuting, there are a number of ways to track down the organizations likeliest to be good candidates.
Search directories of job listings, both general and niche. The general job sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and CareerBuilder.com can help you identify organizations that are already in the telecommuting mindset by showing you who’s offering telecommuter-friendly jobs.
For example, on Careerbuilder.com, using “telecommute” in the keyword search brings up 409 jobs that specifically list telecommuting as part of the job description. These jobs may not be in your specific field, but they will indicate which employers are likely to already understand the benefits of remote workers – meaning that they’d be good places to look for jobs in your field.
To do this type of broad-based company research, you’ll want to search only the telecommuting aspect of the jobs, rather than specific jobs. Be sure to search all of the phrases employers might use to describe this type of work. The most common terms or phrases are: telecommute, telecommuting, telecommuter, remote, remote worker (or employee), virtual, virtual jobs, and work from home are the most common terms or phrases.
Again, your goal here is simply to identify companies that already have telecommuting practices in place. Then, these will become the companies you monitor for appropriate job openings.
Niche job boards, that is, ones specifically geared toward your skill area, will probably offer fewer job postings but if you find telecommuting-friendly jobs here, you’ll know they’re likely to be a match for your skill set.
In this case, you would search on both your specific jobs of interest and the phrases noted above to hone in on those companies that match both your criteria: doing the job you want to do remotely.
Also, sometimes jobs described as a “project” or “contract” can entail working remotely, so you may want to search on those terms as well and then review specific job descriptions to see if this is the case.
As you search for a telecommuting job be certain you are researching reliable job sites.
There are a lot of “work from home” sites out there, so you want to make sure that the one you look at is reputable and reliable.
One of the best, legitimate sites is Flexjobs (www.flexjobs.com). A job search here will provide information on both companies that are telecommuting-friendly and specific jobs that employers expect to be done remotely.
Another way to avoid scams, look for established companies whose names you recognize.
If you’re considering a job with a company you’re not familiar with, ask to speak to other employees who are working remotely so you can get a sense of (i.e., verify) the working conditions and a steady paycheck. You want to make sure that the position being offered is professional and for real. You should have the same responsibilities and benefits as an on-site employee.
Social media channels can offer another way to investigate suspicious job sites. If you’re on LinkedIn, check out the organization’s website or contact current or former employees to get a feel for how the company handles telecommuting. Also, post a question to the appropriate LinkedIn group for recommendations on employers that support telecommuting.
Twitter posts can also provide useful information about potential telecommuting-friendly companies, as can electronic discussion groups, especially those of professional groups.
As you continue your job search, keep in mind that whether or not a job can be done remotely depends on the nature of the job as well as the management style of your boss.
Some types of jobs simply need to be done on-site, working with company resources or customers or colleagues. And though more companies are beginning to catch on to the benefits of a remote workforce, many older organizations (and old-style managers) insist on being able to see you actually perform your work activities. The less confident a boss is the less likely he or she is to be comfortable with remote workers.
It’s probably not worth trying to convince potential employers of the merits of telecommuting if they don’t already understand them. Especially since, if they don’t already know what a terrific employee you are, they’ll be unlikely to take a chance on you as a virtual new hire.
Your efforts are probably much better spent finding those organizations that are already savvy enough to value skill sets rather than seat time. Once you’ve built a professional track record as a remote worker for one company, it will be much easier to pitch this option to future employers.