A Guest Post by Felix Tarcomnicu
Remote experience is work you’ve done outside the setting of the traditional office space. Those who have done remote work are often referred to as virtual assistants, freelancers or telecommuters. It can be a financially rewarding career and is a low- cost way to own a business.
But not everyone wants a career as a remote worker. There are those who become remote workers in order to augment income or to fill in gaps after periods of unemployment. They still have their dreams of making it big in the corporate world.
People who have remote experience and plan to go back to the job market are concerned recruiters may take their telecommuting days against them. One of their biggest concerns is how to make a resume that shows their remote experience.
It could be seen as a way to cover up deficiencies in qualifications. You may also be perceived as someone who will eventually become an entrepreneur and not worth the cost of any long term investment.
If this is how you view your remote experience, it is time to change your perspective for 2 good reasons:
- Remote work is a growing trend; in the United States 37% of workforces are composed of telecommuters, and is expected to hit 50% by 2020.
In fact, Human Resource departments are attuned to this development. Some companies are actively hiring for people to handle remote work.
- Remote work is an indicator of several important qualities recruiters absolutely desire in an employee. Among these are: Creativity, Resourcefulness, Hard work, Resiliency, & Responsibility.
Best of all, it shows you have strong leadership qualities. A leader is someone who is willing to take charge and be accountable for the decisions he or she makes. Running a business on your own and assuming responsibility for the work entrusted by clients is a sure sign of a potential leader.
In a survey of 1,320 recruiters conducted by Bloomberg, having leadership skills was cited as one of the most sought after skills.
Thus, there is no question that you should list your remote experience in your resume.
The real question is how.
#1 Create a Title
Although remote work is acceptable, “Telecommuter” or “Freelancer” may still not have a positive connotation with some recruiters.
However if you create a title that is indicative of your remote work, it will present your experience with more purpose, pride and accomplishment instead of happenstance.
For example, if you built and managed websites, you could indicate your remote work experience as:
Professional Web Designer
2014 to 2016
Chief Design Architect. Developer. Programmer
#2 Use Reverse Chronological Format
When summarizing your remote work experience, use the reverse chronological format where you start out with the most recent project then move backwards.
Recruiters do not spend too much time reviewing a resume. Studies have it from 6 seconds to 30 seconds.
By starting out with your latest project, you enable the recruiter to view work that hopefully captures or embodies your skills at the prime of your remote experience.
#3 Include Links
In a resume, it’s not enough to merely state your experience. You have to be able to validate it.
Stated accomplishments and achievements should be summarized by no more than 6 concisely written bullet points and substantiated by honest facts, figures and other types of empirical evidence.
As a remote worker, it would certainly help your cause if you include a link to your portfolio or to websites that you have done work for.
If you did freelance content writing, include links to websites where your work was published.
Here’s a valuable tip: If you plan to start out a business as a freelancer or Virtual Assistant, invest in a mobile responsive personal website in order to professionalize your services.
Then include the link to your personal website in your resume.
#4 Include References
In a traditional resume without remote experience, it would be best not to indicate “References Available Upon Request” because it reads presumptuous. If you make it to the interview, the recruiter will surely ask you to submit references.
However as a remote worker, it would be advisable to include the name of select clients as references.
The recruiter is more inclined to verify your remote work experience because this time, they are dealing with clients; people who directly contracted and entrusted you with their work.
It gives a more compelling reason to verify your claims because it answers one very important question:
“Why you and not another freelancer?”
However, before including the name of a client, make sure to get his or her permission.
This ensures that you are not in breach of any confidentiality agreement and at the same time gives your client advanced notice that someone may contact him or her asking on your credentials.
#5 Exercise Strategic Placement
Now that you know the “Why” and the “How”, let’s shift our attention to the “Where”; Where should you place your remote work experience?
The answer to where you should place your remote work experience will come down to these basic questions:
- Did you have employment gaps?
- Was your decision to work remotely by design or by circumstance?
- Are you applying for remote work from the employer?
If you had employment gaps, you should include your remote work experience with the rest of your work history.
Keep in mind that work experience should be written in reverse chronological order. By having your remote work experience here, it will help cover employment gaps.
If your decision to work remotely was by design or if you are applying specifically for remote work from the company, it would be a good idea to create a separate remote work experience section.
The remote work experience section should be placed ahead of the overall work experience to give it more prominence and importance.
As discussed earlier, remote work is accepted by recruiters. The benefits of indicating it far outweigh any detriments. As long as you professionalize the way it is presented, your remote work experience will tilt the balance to your favor.
Finally, let’s discuss the exceptions. Remote work experience should not be included in your resume if these were conducted under the following conditions:
- It was done for free mostly for friends and family members
- Your experience was sporadic; you would have one project every 3 months
- You are certain client reviews on your work would be unfavorable
- You did not specialize but instead took freelance work totally unrelated to each other
Otherwise, you should be proud of your remote work experience and have it included in your resume.
In times where the job market is tight and highly competitive, recruiters would have nothing but respect for those who decide to create opportunities when there are none.