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Imagine if you could wave a wand and make the most irritating parts of your job magically disappear—things like your commute, your rigid schedule, or idle office politics. Well that’s exactly what happens when you go remote. All the worst parts of a traditional job are gone, and you’re left to focus on your work on your own terms.
But how exactly can you land a remote position with a company or part-time remote work as a freelancer? One of the most critical things to do enroute to a remote job is to highlight skills on your resume that convey you as an ideal remote candidate to potential employers or clients. In order to make sure your resume or cover letter is remote-worthy, we’ve put together a list of crucial skills for job seekers to include (and to hone if they don’t already have them). Some of these skills are general skills, but—because tech jobs are one of the most direct ways to land remote work—we’ve included a section on technical skills as well.
General Remote Skills
1. Digital Communication
While “good communication skills” are a no-brainer on any resume, digital communication skills are a nuanced spinoff that make your CV decidedly more remote-friendly to hiring managers.
Digital communication skills call on the same clear exchange of information and ideas that happens in general communication, but moves it to a digital platform. This includes the ability to manage your email inbox and respond to emails in a timely fashion. It also includes being able to effectively communicate through email and avoid misinterpretation—something that’s always a challenge when you’re communicating primarily through text. While a history of email usage might not seem worth mentioning on a resume, it’s a cornerstone of remote work and needs to be highlighted if you have the experience.
Meanwhile, video calls and meetings are another key part of digital communication. When you’re working remotely, being willing and able to jump on video calls at a moment’s notice is part of your daily reality. And—once you’re in these calls—being able to effectively and efficiently share information through methods like screen sharing is the way to make your screen time count. Demonstrable proficiency with platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom are a sign of remote-friendliness when applying for telecommuting positions. If you have the experience, be sure to put it front and center. And if you don’t? Then now’s the time to get up to speed with your video conferencing skills. If video chat isn’t a big part of your current job, recruit some friends and family to help you practice so you’ll be ready when the time comes.
Finally—if you haven’t already—familiarize yourself with industry standard project management software like JIRA, Trello, and Asana (you can find online tutorials for these programs on sites like Coursera). These platforms are essential parts of maintaining communication and productivity on remote teams and will make it clear that you are remote-ready if you can add them to your resume.
2. Time Management
Being able to manage your time effectively is another key component of remote work. While the rigid 9-to-5 of a traditional office job establishes a certain daily flow, remote work is a lot more flexible—but that means you need to mold that flexibility into something that’s also productive. Having demonstrable examples of time management that you can put in your resume is another important step toward asserting your ability to work remotely.
Be prepared to carve out some room in your cover letter to explain how you’ve juggled complicated tasks on a tight timeframe and managed to get it all done before deadlines. And if you feel like this is something you haven’t done before, dig deeper. If you have any work history at all you’ve probably found ways to manage your time and get everything done. Meanwhile, you can dig into your personal life for examples if need be. Showing up on time every day for work, completing your tasks, and also picking up your kids from school and driving them all over town for after-school activities? That’s time management. And it’s one of those transferable skills that will serve you well in remote work.
3. Team Player
While being a good member of a team is a plus in any work environment, it’s absolutely crucial in remote work. Even if you’re a freelancer and your team is just you and your client, your ability to stay in constant, effective communication, solve problems together, and help with tasks as needed is magnified when you’re not actually in the same physical space. Because remote teams can be spread all over the world, even simple work tasks like coordinating meetings require communication and compromise on the part of team members.
It’s not only critical to put yourself in a team state of mind when you’re prepping for remote work, but you need to be able to demonstrate that team-mindedness on your resume. Like time management, if you’re having a hard time isolating key team examples from work experience, cast your net wide. Accomplishments like helping to manage your recreational soccer team or coming together with other parents to hold a school fundraiser are all demonstrable examples of good team work.
1. HTML & CSS
HTML and CSS are two coding languages that make up the basic building blocks of the web. Every website you see is built with HTML (which is used to define the parts of web pages), and every modern website uses CSS to determine things like font sizes, colors, and background themes. Most web development jobs (and the vast majority of web design jobs, too) will require you to know HTML and CSS. However, even remote jobs like marketing and some customer support positions benefit from basic HTML and CSS knowledge, since the two languages provide so much flexibility when it comes to creating custom email templates and blog posts.
If tech is one of the most direct ways into remote work, then HTML and CSS are the most direct ways to get started in tech. In fact knowing just these two languages will put you in position for paying side hustles and freelance work. Free CSS and HTML basic tutorials abound on sites like Codecademy, while you can take paid, instructor-led courses from online schools like Skillcrush.
WordPress is an industry standard content management system (CMS)—a software program that lets users create, publish, and manage digital content online. CMS’ are particularly helpful for building websites because they allows developers to produce and control their content through a user interface (as opposed to coding sites entirely from scratch). WordPress content is added and edited through an onscreen menu, after which the changes are reflected by simply pressing a “Publish” button (versus individually editing and uploading each page of a website every time a change needs to be made). While WordPress is a key skill for front-end developers, it’s also helpful for other remote roles like digital marketing and web design, since it allows anyone to edit basic web content without further web developer skills. WordPress tutorials are available directly from WordPress, while paid, instructor-led classes can also be found online.
User experience (UX) design is a field based on making the user experience with tech products like websites and web applications work and flow better. UX is also one of the best-paid tech jobs out there (as of this writing, the average UX salary is over $90,000/year). If you want a high-paid job, remotely-friendly tech job, then UX skills are a way of getting there.
But even if you aren’t applying for work with UX at the top of the job description, understanding UX basics—general concepts about how web design impacts a user’s experience, and some of the fundamental ways that experience can be improved and streamlined—will look good on any remote, web-based job application. You can get started on UX fundamentals through sites like Lynda.com.
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Scott Morris is Skillcrush's staff writer and content producer. Like all the members of Skillcrush's team, he works remotely (in his case from Napa, CA). He believes that content that's worth reading (and that your audience can find!) creates brands that people follow. He's experienced writing on topics including jobs and technology, digital marketing, career pivots, gender equity, parenting, and popular culture. Before starting his career as a writer and content marketer, he spent 10 years as a full-time parent to his daughters Veronica and Athena.