6 Things to Do Before Applying for Remote Writing Jobs

For many who are out of a job, remote writing work is a tempting solution, not only during social distancing but as a full-time long-term job. A special analysis done by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that there has been a major upward trend in the amount of people working remotely in the U.S.

Now, just imagine what the world-wide trends look like for remote job searches during the "new normal" that the COVID-19 pandemic has spawned.

According to online remote job platform FlexJobs, finding a remote job comes with its own set of unique challenges: you not only have to demonstrate that you’re the best applicant for the job but that you’re the best remote applicant.

To help those who want to shift away from working in the office to working from home, we'd like to help you discover the best way to search for a remote writing job, sell your skills, and prepare for the interview—and point you in the right direction for landing a legitimate remote writing job soon.

#1 Understand the Language

There are at least 19 different ways to say “remote work".

Since no two companies use the same term, as you’re searching for a remote writing job, you should know all the different ways to say “remote work". Here are just a few of the common ones should be aware of:

  • Distributed workforce: When you and everyone you work with work remotely

  • Work at home (or work from home): When you work at home

  • Virtual job: When all the work is done online or in a virtual office

  • Work from anywhere: A job without any geographical restrictions

  • Agile workforce: A flexible workforce

Pay close attention to the wording used by companies in job listings! You might notice that companies in your industry or line of work tend to say "telecommute" instead of "remote" or "remote" instead of "virtual". Those subtleties can focus your search on the best keywords for your particular career goals.”

#2 Read the Job Description...Carefully

While there are jobs that are 100% remote, some require you to be in the office a few days a week.

Therefore, you must read the job description with an eagles eye.

Some fully remote jobs also have a location requirement.

There are several reasons why remote jobs have this restriction, including:

  • Legal: Some licensing requirements or government regulations may restrict the company to and from specific locations.

  • Taxes: Companies may pay employment taxes only in certain states.

  • Travel: Some companies require you to take frequent business trips, which makes living near an airport a necessity.

  • Client base: Remote work doesn’t mean never meeting clients in person. If you’re responsible for a certain territory of customers, you may need to live close to them to facilitate meetings.

Remember, an employer is seeking a remote writer that reads and writes well. Start off by making a good impression and show that you have actually read their job ad fully.

#3 Watch for Red Flags

Unfortunately, the “remote work” job category tends to attract remote writing job scams. For every one legitimate work-from-home job, there are approximately 60 to 70 work-from-home job scams. In other words, less than 3% of all work-from-home job listings are for legitimate jobs. Some of the common scams include product testing and review writing gigs or unpaid writing tests. Here are a few red flags you should look out for:

  • The ad says things like “Unlimited earning potential,” “Investment opportunities and seminars” or “Quick money.”

  • You’re asked for personal financial information (like your Social Security number or birth date) early in the interview process or as part of your application.

  • The job requires upfront expenses from you.

  • You’re offered a job without anyone contacting you—or even asking for your references.

Search the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission websites to be sure the sites are valid, and search the company name on a search engine, plus the word “scam,” and see what comes up.

#4 Know Where (and How) to Focus Your Search

Certain job boards focus on all types of writing jobs, but if you’re looking for a remote writing job, focus your search on job search platforms, like RemoteWriterJobs.com, Indeed.com, GUAVABEAN, Remote.co, etc. Seek platforms that are FREE and specialize in remote and flexible work—whose research teams actually vet their job posts.

You could also browse a company’s career page and be on the lookout for works like “work-life balance” or “flexibility.”

#5 Sell Your Skills

If you have any previous experience working remotely, make sure you mention this clearly in your cover letter and resume/CV. But if you haven’t worked remotely, you may have to do some digging to spotlight some experience that could be relevant to remote writing work.

Start with your clients and co-workers. Are they located somewhere else? If so, have you coordinated a meeting across multiple time zones? Collaborated on a project? How did you accomplish these tasks? What software did you use? Talk about your successes in these areas—and keep it brief or concise!

Even if you’ve never worked with someone outside your office, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the skill set necessary for remote employee success.

Employers with remote positions want applicants that are skilled in time and task management, self-motivated and focused, comfortable with technology, and have excellent communication skills.

“Your resume should include a section that highlights your technology skills because being comfortable with technology and basic troubleshooting is critical for remote work,” FlexJobs says in an interview.

List all the programs you’re familiar with, including general programs like WordPress, Microsoft Office, Salesforce or Quickbooks, and remote-specific programs like web and videoconferencing tools, online chat programs, document sharing, project management, collaboration tools and more.

#6 Prepare for the Interview—Before You Even Apply

Get Your Mind Ready...and Keep It That Way

As one of my RWJ mentors (Le Williams) kept telling me, "Apply for these remote writing job ads with confidence." She consistently reminded me to "take breaks often" and "save information from the job ad".

If you feel burned out, take a break and hit the ground running with fresh eyes and a renewed outlook. Once you are at your best for filling out job applications, go forward as if you just may get contacted for an interview. So, save the job description or job ad link to allow yourself a chance to go back and review it when it's time to schedule an interview.

What to Expect & Plan For

Remote interviews usually involve a phone or video call. If your interview requires the internet, make sure you have a reliable connection. Wi-Fi and cellular connections are OK, but a wired internet connection is usually a safer bet. Test your connection to be sure everything works.

Also, think about where you will have your interview. Do you have a home office? If so, does it look professional? Make sure the area is tidy and clean. If you don’t have a home office, go into a room where you won’t be interrupted during the interview.

Practice makes perfect! For video interviews, practice answering questions on camera, either by yourself or with a friend who wants to help. Get everything set up and speak your answers out loud while looking at your computer camera. It’s hard to get used to at first, so practicing ahead of time will calm your nerves for the real interview. Attend to these things in advance, so you’re ready to go when it’s time.

An interview for a remote position will include the standard “Tell me about yourself” or “Why did you apply for this job?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Prep and practice for these, but also keep in mind these remote-specific interview questions as well:

  • Where do you work when you’re remote?

  • Why do you want to work remotely?

  • How do you handle distractions?

​Again, first impressions are key, therefore focus on being prepared ahead of time and relaxing 15 minutes before it starts.

Why Consider RemoteWriterJobs.com in Your Search for Remote Work

Whether you are an international writer (overseas), digital nomad, or local professional simply looking for remote writing jobs, it is always great to connect with Remote Writer Jobs to leverage amazing resources—for free!

We Vet Our Job Posts—and Exclusive Writers

Remote Writer Jobs (RWJ) shares public remote writing job ads—totally free of charge—that have been researched, verified, and (often times) tested to be legitimate/real opportunities. RWJ takes on job ads from both small companies and large businesses, boosting their chances in gaining the best remote writer. Even small, one-time writing gig opportunities come our way and we've been successful at helping those writing projects gain high-quality writers.

How to Find Additional Resources, Support, and Vetted Job Posts

To become a member of RWJ as a writer, we encourage individuals to request a site membership and wait for an approval. If approved, that means you're an official site member and may create a profile—giving you an expanded access to "member's only" job posts to search through.

RWJ Contributing Author, Mel D, is a freelancer, retro fashion enthusiast, old school video gamer, techie, and the world's most wanted volunteer cello teacher.

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