I’ve been working remotely for the past 11 years. It’s one of the reasons I was able to build a successful business on the side of my 9 to 5 job — a business that eventually helped me leave corporate America.
Starting a side hustle or a portfolio career takes time and energy, including mental energy, which is extremely difficult to scrape together when you’re spending hours a day commuting back and forth to a job.
I don’t care what inspirational Instagram post made you believe otherwise: you and Beyonce don’t have the same 24 hours a day to work with. Her time and your time are different. Your life and her life are different. It isn’t your fault that you don’t have enough time or energy to get through your day. Your commute is partially to blame, along with possible prolonged burnout from the last two years of living in a global pandemic.
Remote work is the perfect way to jumpstart your corporate escape plan. Here’s why it matters — and how to create a resumé that will make you absolutely irresistible to recruiters looking to offer awesome, work-from-anywhere jobs.
‘From Side Hustle To Second Salary’
This is the second article in “From Side Hustle to Second Salary”, a four-article series from featured contributor Daniella Flores. The first article in the series is here.
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Why Remote Work Is a Gold Mine for Both Your Mind and Your Money
Remote work is so much better for our mental health, our wallet, and our lives. It gives us more freedom to live more of a life outside of work and have actual balance. For me, remote work has given me the space to build something financially meaningful of my own outside of work while also exploring myself and my skills more deeply.
For queer and trans people, remote work is one of the best employment benefits we have. It grants us the freedom to be our true selves when working and building multiple income streams without feeling unsafe around homophobic or transphobic coworkers. At the corporate level, remote work is a form of financial empowerment.
This is something every worker should have access to in some capacity, whether it be hybrid work, location-independent work, or fully remote work, even for positions that have in-person requirements, such as construction, nursing, and banking.
Imagine if construction project managers could work remotely, nurses could work remotely as clinical reviewers, and bankers could work remotely for online banks. It’s already happening, and many of these workers are pivoting to remote work in ways that make the most sense for them and what they want next in their careers.
Gone are the days of coming to the office early, staying late, taking abuse from customers, and overperforming time and time again in hopes of a promotion. People are starting to value work/life balance over burning themselves out for so little in return, as evidenced in the recent rise of “quiet quitting”.
You Are So Much More than Your Job
And remote work opens up that self-exploration for us. Plus, it saves you a ton of money. When commuting to an office every day, you spend more on gas, clothes, food, and the “Keeping up with the Joneses” game that many corporate offices like to perpetuate in their culture.
There are certainly downsides to remote work. One detail I struggled with was being able to separate my home life and work life during work hours. I found that work and life began to bleed together. This introduced a whole new type of burnout to my life that made me moody and exhausted, even though there were days I didn’t even leave my neighborhood. This experience also prompted me to get into therapy and learn that, on top of having ADHD and PTSD, I was also bipolar.
Remote work wasn’t the reason for the state of my mental health. It’s what gave me the space to notice what was happening inside me, do something about it, and tweak my lifestyle in ways that worked better for me. This included switching up the scenery daily, working from different locations, and working outside.
Remote work gave me space to effectively cope with my changing mental health.
How to Pivot to a Remote Job
While I acknowledge that remote work is a privilege, I also want to show actionable ways you can pivot to a remote job so you can start getting some of your life back.
Revamp Your Resumé
Remote jobs have twice as many applicants, so you have to be fast to apply and do so with a killer resumé. This will require you to pivot from the traditional chronological type of resumé to a functional resumé. In addition to the traditional chronological format, a functional resumé focuses on your overall skills and experience.
Your functional resumé should follow this format:
- Name and personal branding tagline on the top, but don’t put it in the header, or else the applicant tracking system may not pick it up.
- A personal branding tagline. Example: “Dedicated to Delivering Innovative & Intuitive Customer Experiences”.
- A line for your city, state, phone number, and email address.
- A professional summary to show the highlights. This is the cheat code to get around the average time of seven seconds a recruiter takes to glance at a resume, and allows them to scan it easier. Recruiters are reading hundreds of resumés for one job, so making their job easier will get you a call back sooner than someone else.
- A “Skills” section or “Core Strengths” section.
- A list of your experience, but only the most relevant experience. Don’t include 10 years of experience if it’s going to take up 5 pages. Keep a master resumé with all of your experience, then pull the last 3 – 4 positions to include on your revamped resumé.
- Experience that makes you stand out, such as awards you’ve won, initiatives you led at work, and any entrepreneurial experience with a side hustle.
- An “Education & Certifications” section.
- A special accomplishments section. Be sure to include some of these items in your professional summary at the top, so the recruiter doesn’t have to scroll to the end to see all of your special accomplishments.
Then, be sure to update your Linkedin with the same information. Fill out the job preferences area of your Linkedin so you appear as “Open to Work” to recruiters.
Identify Remote Work Skills
Identify remote work skills you already have that you can integrate into your resumé using keywords that you see for remote jobs you want to apply for. Remote work skills are basically any skill you can perform digitally.
Examples of remote work skills you might have include:
- Digital communication.
- Virtual collaboration.
- Working asynchronously.
- Online scheduling and coordination.
- Project management.
- Cloud storage management.
- Digital marketing.
- Data entry and analysis.
This is a limited list to show you examples of remote work skills. If you’re struggling with thinking of what your remote skills are, ask yourself what skills you can do without having to be in an office. Then, find an equivalent keyword for that skill that’s being used in the job listings you want to apply to, and add it to your resume either in your skills area or in the bullets explaining your past work experience.
Search for Remote Jobs
The biggest headache of searching for remote jobs are remote job scams. Good thing there are job search tools out there that scan their listings for scams.
Some remote job search sites I recommend are:
Another strategy to find remote jobs in your field is searching for jobs with a “remote-first” mindset, which means only looking for jobs at remote-first companies. An example of this is when teachers want to pivot to a remote role, they can look at online course platforms that often hire remote teachers. In this sense, they are pivoting to remote-first companies that happen to be in the technology sector.
The platforms themselves are considered “tech companies”, but the work itself isn’t necessarily tech heavy. They are still using their same teaching skills, but in a different environment, and most often for way better pay and working conditions. A website that helps teachers pivot to remote work is Teacher Career Coach.
Remote Side Hustle Options to Explore
Remote work isn’t restricted to only W2 employee jobs. Just like there are remote jobs, there are also remote side hustle options and ways to build a fully virtual business if that’s what you ultimately want to do.
Building a blog, starting a YouTube channel, creating a podcast, freelance writing, or becoming a virtual assistant are all examples of remote side hustles. And a remote side hustle is so much more than just some other side job.
If the work you’re doing is as a freelancer and not a W2 employee, then you are essentially running a virtual business where you have expenses, income, profit, and taxes to account for. Learning to run a virtual business will give you a valuable skill set that will also help you to create other income streams in your life and diversify your career.
Ultimately, you can use those other income streams to pivot away from your day job and go your own way. You can use my very own free side hustle quiz to help find a remote side hustle option that makes the most sense for you.
Remotify Your Life
Having a remote job or remote side hustle can be a powerful hack for planning for financial independence. Building a remote life can help you win back brain space in order to effectively visualize the kind of life you want.
It also gives you more control on where you want to live and the cost of living expenses you take on with that type of decision. You get to choose where to live, rather than having to live where your employer needs you to live.
While at your remote job, take advantage of all of the benefits they offer, like a 401(k) match or steady salary to start investing in the stock market. Investing in the stock market is how you build true passive income in your not-so-far away future. Then, combine that income stream with another that you’ve built outside your day job so you can finally leave the corporate grind behind.