Use your remote work experience to get your next job

Stand out.
Stand out.
Image: Reuters/David Jackson
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

As remote work looms beyond the pandemic, the ability to remain focused, organized, and productive at home is becoming a coveted skill. Career advisors say highlighting it on a résumé can give applicants an advantage. “Reflecting this experience catches an employer’s attention because it shows that an applicant possesses self-initiative,” Betsy Andrews, a career coach at the remote work portal FlexJobs explained in a recent blog post.

Amanda Augustine, a career expert at résumé-consulting business TopResume, advises labeling your telecommuting experience by putting “remote” or “virtual” next to job titles or indicating it in the location field. “When you’re describing your accomplishments, be sure to quantify that information,” she explained in a webinar earlier this year. “You want to show employers that you can be successful and provide value, even if you’re not working out of the headquarters.”

That isn’t just a matter of being able to power up a computer from the couch. Kelli Jordan, director of careers and skills at IBM, says that “soft skills”—interpersonal attributes and social intelligence—will be “more relevant in this environment. The technical skills you have may become obsolete after three or four years, but these professional skills allow you to become an ongoing learner, to challenge yourself,” she explains. IBM had been experimenting with optimal work-from-home scenarios long before the Covid-19 crisis. Today, 90% of its 320,000 global staff are working remotely and will have the flexibility to work from home at least through the end of the year.

In hiring remote workers, Jordan says she’s screening for good communicators and active listeners. “We are having to communicate very differently, no one is face-to-face. Really thinking about how to deliver a message in a way that people understand it is very important,” she says.

Evidence of empathy is another key trait. “There are a lot of different challenges, and new sets of challenges, in addition to our daily work,” she explains. “Being successful in this environment means being able to balance a lot of those things.” Empathy is coded in IBM’s Work from Home Pledge, a manifesto developed by employees who felt besieged by the clash of their personal and professional responsibilities when they were forced to work from home because of the pandemic. Included in the eight-point pledge are items like resolving to be kind and family sensitive, not obligating anyone to turn on their camera during Zoom calls, and setting boundaries to prevent video fatigue.

Ultimately, there’s not a single template for an effective résumé. The cardinal rule is that your CV should be tailored to the position you’re applying for. Here’s just one example on how to denote your work-from-home credentials:

Image for article titled Use your remote work experience to get your next job
Image: Bárbara Abbês / Quartz