Since the coronavirus outbreak, remote working has become the new norm, with the Office of National Statistics noting that almost 50% of employees were working from home in the UK. Globally, the virus has affected many occupations and highlighted how many office jobs can now be completed in remote settings. For those that are not used to working independently, there are many skills that can be developed through this new working environment, ones that can be showcased in job applications and in the interview process. With the economic impact of the Covid-19 being felt worldwide, here is how you can utilise remote working skills to your advantage in your job search.
As people are no longer able to turn to their colleagues in an office to share ideas or present in conference rooms, the way in which we work has now shifted to using online resources. Common tools such as email were already used extensively in the workplace but other messaging tools such as Whatsapp or Teams are being utilised more and more. Video conferencing is now vital for many organisations, allowing virtual meetings to take place from any location.
If you are contacting a potential employer for the first time, show you are willing to use these forms of communication, perhaps by suggesting to use Skype or Google+ Hangouts or online chat if you need to discuss details about tests or the interview process. Be sure to check all your equipment is in working order well in advance of accepting video calls. Timing and clarity is also crucial. Make sure messages are clear, concise and correct (proofread before clicking send!) and be sure you are available to respond to colleagues or employers in a timely fashion so you do not leave anyone waiting on you to complete a task.
Working remotely means the majority of your time will be spent independently without the ability to quickly turn to colleagues for some help. You won’t be constantly reminded or monitored by other people to push you to get the job done With this in mind, think through your experience whether that’s from previous paid work, academia, voluntary work or even a hobby that can showcase that you are self-sufficient and can successfully work independently. Emphasise the times you’ve taken initiative when applying for remote roles. Remote job employers are looking for self-starters who can set goals and meet deadlines. In an interview, the hiring manager may ask a situational question to gauge whether you possess these qualities – structure your answer in a way that explains how you would approach the task, what steps you would take to meet progress points, how you prioritise tasks, and how you will maintain motivation to get the job done.
As mentioned before, being able to use appropriate technology is now vital to carry out remote job roles. Even if a role you are applying for is not a technical one, you need to be comfortable in using IT equipment without assistance from others. On top of video conferencing, make use of project management tools such as Trello as well as company specific digital platforms.
On your CV and in job applications, be sure to show off skills you have. If you have an online blog or portfolio, cite this in your applications – this could be that extra special something that helps you land the job. Most jobs will expect some understanding of Microsoft Office, even if you feel this is something that should go without saying, include it in your CV as you cannot expect all employers to assume you possess these capabilities.
Self-discipline is incredibly important when you are working from home. There are far more distractions than in the office and maintaining the separation between work time and personal time is key. You need to be able to set a strict schedule for work and stick to this, this includes setting appropriate breaks throughout the day. Set goals at the beginning of the week and track your progress against this. This can even be implemented during your job search – at the start of the week set yourself dedicated time or number of applications you want to complete daily or by the end of the week. Getting yourself in a solid routine and meeting the goals you’ve set is crucial. In an interview you can demonstrate these skills by describing how you have built a schedule for yourself. If you have previous experience, even if this is not in a remote setting, talk about a project you carried out, how you planned your time and managed to stay organised.
Now that you are prepared with an arsenal of skills you can promote in your job search, why not head over to our Remote jobs page and find the perfect role for you!