When you’re applying for a new job, your resume is often used as a fast way to assess whether you look like a good candidate for a position — at least on paper. That’s just as true if you’re looking for a position that allows you to telecommute as it is if you’re looking to work in an office.
But the skills and characteristics that a hiring manager is looking for on a telecommuter’s resume aren’t always the same as when you’re looking for other jobs. Among other things, employers are looking for the following:
- Prior experience. While it’s not always possible for an employer to find an applicant that has already telecommuted, having prior experience can move your resume to the top of the stack. There’s a learning curve that goes along with becoming a telecommuter, and every employer would prefer to hire someone who’s already figured out the nuts and bolts of telecommuting.
- Self-direction. Telling a hiring manager that you’re able to work at your own direction is useful, but if you can show that you’ve taken on projects at your own direction and worked without guidance through your resume, you’ll catch a reader’s attention. When describing previous responsibilities, mention the guidance (or lack of guidance) you’ve worked with.
- Great communication. Working offsite requires an employee with above-average communication skills. Make every aspect of your resume as clear as possible to demonstrate that you have great communication skills.
- Technical skills. The specific skills that each telecommuting position requires vary but most employers will want telecommuting workers who are technically-savvy. Even if you aren’t already familiar with the software and tools a company uses to work with telecommuters, knowing a variety of other tools can mean that you can pick up new skills quickly.
- Professional objectives. If you include an objective — and not every resume needs to — it has to be professional. There’s a certain type of prospective telecommuter whose objective is just to “work at home and do X,” where X does not convince an employer that the applicant is professional. Make sure your objectives don’t play into any telecommuting stereotypes.
- Access to hardware. Some employers will provide equipment and software to their telecommuting employees, but many hope that you have a computer and an active Internet connection in place. Mentioning that you do, in the context of past positions, or other parts of your resume package, can speed up the application process.
- Your reasons for telecommuting. Employers probably won’t outright ask if you’re telecommuting because of family, health concerns or other reasons, but they’ll make assumptions. It’s probably best to be clear about your reasons for wanting to telecommute from the outset.
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