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Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees/Get a Work From Home Job

Can I apply for remote jobs in another state?

Can I apply for remote jobs in another state?

how to apply to a remote job in another state

I usually distill longer questions from readers down to a single sentence and address the nuances and details from the original in my answer. However, with this one I am compelled to add the entire question because it floored me.

Q: “I attended a webinar by [REDACTED  – but it was a popular job board that also lists remote work] that I can’t be hired for remote work outside of my state for tax reasons. Is this true?  I didn’t apply to several good jobs recently because they weren’t in my state.”

First, if you also attended one of these webinars please contact me. I am interested to know how far this damaging information has spread. When I received this question I was angry that it caused people to miss out on opportunities. So before we go further here is the definitive answer:

You can apply to remote jobs in any state no matter where you live in the United States.

Furthermore, if you have a US work visa or are a US citizen, you can apply to jobs inside the United States while living abroad (as digital nomads know very well). You can also apply to remote jobs based in other countries, depending on their labor laws.

All of this is fundamental to remote work. You are no longer limited to living in a town with a big employer nearby and companies no longer need to base themselves near large cities with a compatible workforce. But how could this person have come up with this idea? They didn’t just make it up, right?

I have not spoken with the individual who presented the webinar, but I suspect that they heard or read several different pieces of employment law analysis and came to an incorrect conclusion. They may have heard that hiring employees in multiple states increases the amount of paperwork that companies need to handle and there are some laws about vacation time and other benefits that can result in one employee being allowed to roll over their unused vacation time but others losing it at the end of the year. For most companies, the benefits of hiring a remote workforce vastly outweigh the additional paperwork. Besides, much of this is handled by outsourcing HR duties, so there is hardly an additional burden.

It’s also possible that they meant to say that SOME remote positions come with geographic limitations for a variety of reasons. They simply flubbed the explanation and left the impression that this was true for all remote jobs. Unless a company declares up front that they are only looking for candidates “near Chicago” or “in the Eastern time zone”, the position is theoretically open to all legal applicants no matter where they live.

If you heard the same incorrect information and also missed out on opportunities for remote work, I am sorry. If you have questions about remote work click the ASK button at the top of the page. If you are having trouble finding remote work and want some guidance, email me with details. I can help.

Always get the best advice first. 

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

How should I quit a job when working remotely?

How should I quit a job when working remotely?

How to quit a job when working remotely

In my many years of working remotely as a manager and executive I have seen plenty of people quit even the most sought after remote jobs for variety of personal and professional reasons. Not everyone is cut out for remote work and sometimes the realities of a specific position just aren’t right for an individual. The people who resign politely and professionally are they ones who can count on good references regardless of the reasons behind their departure.

When it becomes to much or you finally have confirmation of a new position, here’s how I suggest you go about formally quitting your current remote position.

Email your supervisor or manager first thing in the morning and request a meeting as soon as possible via phone or video/audio conference (Hangouts, Meet, Skype, etc), be sure to suggest a time that works for you and don’t just leave it open. Choose the communication method that is considered normal for voice communication at your company.

When you are on the call, be professional and don’t get caught up in a lot of small talk before breaking the news. Chances are they already suspect what is coming and immediately talking about unrelated topics makes it harder for you and more awkward for them. It’s amazing how experienced managers can tell that someone is giving notice just by the tone of the meeting request.

Never resign via email unless there is absolutely no other option. It is professional courtesy to quit personally and a phone call is the closest you can come when working from home. No matter how tempting it is to avoid a conversation about your decision, resigning via email can set the process off on the wrong foot.

That said, when you are done with the phone call, email your supervisor and put your resignation in writing, mentioning the phone call. There will likely be a formal process that he or she will need to you to follow, but the email is proof that you made the phone call and the email is proof of the date and time that you gave notice in case that is ever questioned.

Good luck with your new position and thank you for the question.

 

Always get the latest responses first. 

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

How do I get an employer’s attention with little experience or an irrelevant degree?

How do I get an employer’s attention with little experience or an irrelevant degree?

The best resume

I went to university and earned a degree in one field only to be completely disenchanted with it soon after graduation. Fortunately, I knew what I’d rather be doing with most of my life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford more schooling to go the traditional route. Here’s what worked.

Move forward with what you have

First, be positive about your situation! It is absolutely possible to get into many professions without following the typical degree path and sometimes even without any previous related experience.

Displaying honest enthusiasm for the work and company you are applying to is a good start, but employers rarely higher simply based on enthusiasm. Managers often need to justify hiring a candidate to their own boss and company bean counters so they must have something to justify bringing on your smiling face than just all those good feelings they have about you.

Establish a foundation

If you are seriously interested in your new career path, it’s likely that you have already begun exploring articles, videos and webinars on related topics. Afterall, how did you become so certain you wanted to pursue this new glorious career in the first place?

Before applying to all those amazing, life changing positions you need to establish a solid foundation. Let’s say, for example, that you want to break into social media marketing or eventually become an SEO expert. It doesn’t take long to come to grips with the basic art and science of these, and many, professions enough to apply to entry level job openings.

Watch everything you can find on YouTube, Skillshare and Vimeo. Look for a highly rated webinar and get on the mailing list specialist blogs then exhaust their past posts. You won’t need to be an expert, but with the internet at your fingertips it’s inexcusable not to wring out all the foundational knowledge that is freely or cheaply available.

Talk the talk

While you are accumulating this knowledge, create a list of all the specialist terminology as you come across it. Every job has a specialized vocabulary and “Talking the talk” in your cover letter and interviews will go a long way to placing you on the candidate shortlist not to mention serve you well when you do land that job.

Research responsibilities

To get that additional something and earn their confidence as well as their attention, research the details of the advertised position and similar jobs at other companies. Find out the details of every job responsibility listed in the job ad then use the new knowledge from those blogs and webinars to be able to talk in as much detail as possible about what goes into fulfilling the responsibilities.

Polish your resume

Spend one day polishing your resume by copying the best examples you can find on the internet. There are plenty of clear and concise ways to shine on paper and the most popular layouts vary by profession. Regardless of which layout you settle on recognize that, with a lack of solid experience, you will need to list your new skills and knowledge at the top. Next list any positions that included any remotely relative experience. It’s not a crime to order them by relevance instead of chronologically. Remember, the goal of the resume is to sell the version of you that is the best candidate for the job.

Now make your resume immaterial

What? I hear you exclaim as you spit your coffee across your laptop. I just spent a day making my resume amazing!

Your resume is still required and important once you get your future boss’ attention. Managers at least want something to remember you by but they have dozens or maybe hundreds of resumes to weed through and you are unlikely to stand out in that slush pile. A virtual piece of paper is not going to land that job.

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Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees/Get a Work From Home Job

Are there entry-level work from home jobs?

Are there entry-level work from home jobs?

get an entry-level work from home job

Almost any job that can be performed in an office, can be done from home as long as you have the right mindset and drive to work independently and without a supervisor hovering over your desk.

It sounds strange but a lot of people can’t focus without their boss nearby or their co-workers offering constant support. For those who can successfully break free of the office, working from home is amazing, but that’s not the topic of your question. You want to know how you can make a good income working from home.

How are your skills?

Are you organized? Are you comfortable on a computer using Excel, Word, Google Docs, etc? Do you know something about social media? Can you research topics online? If so there are plenty of jobs where these core skills will get you in the door. Some require experience or training in additional areas but the internet is full of training options as well. Here are a few that often have entry level and higher positions available to work from home.

  • Customer Service Representative
  • Project Manager
  • Sale Representative
  • SEO/Marketing Assistant
  • Social Media Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Account Manager
  • Medical Coder/Remote Coder

Recently, Forbes published a list recently of the 20 most common work from home jobs (The 20 Most Common Work-From-Home Job Opportunities) and some of those appeared on the list so they are definitely out there waiting for the right candidate.

Of course, competition for these jobs is intense. Many applicants already have work from home experience. But even if you have little work at home experience or none at all, don’t worry. You can still land the job you want by gaining a little knowledge before applying.

With a couple of days’ research over coffee you can prepare yourself to sound more experienced at working from home than you currently are. Take a look at my related article with more information.

Of course, for a work from home job, this is only half the battle. Want to learn how to convince an employer that you can do the work from home? Then get an alert for my new webinar starting this summer on landing the best work from home jobs without any previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

Can work ever have real meaning?

Can work ever have real meaning?

meaningful work from home

As a work from home trainer I get a lot of similar questions about remote work and finding a job in general. The other day someone asked me a doozy that made me pause. Is work ever truly meaningful?

I’m not a philosopher but to me work can be meaningful in two ways. It’s either directly meaningful to you in that it gives you a feeling of deep satisfaction, purpose and accomplishment (but maybe not on Mondays) or it can be indirectly meaningful to you because it is directly meaningful to the beneficiaries of your work which then positively impacts the way you feel about showing up every day (except Mondays).

But I bet you are still wondering how in the heck it works since you have probably never had a job that seemed meaningful to you or anyone you know.

Our society views some work as being intrinsically and unquestionably meaningful but we can’t all rescue babies from burning buildings for a living. There are plenty of jobs that exist because something needs to be done.

In those cases, whether the work is meaningful or not comes down to perspective. One person’s soulless daily grind is another person’s reason to get up in the morning. If I am employed to sweep a section of Market Street every week day I can either view it as having to clean up after a bunch of unappreciative, slovenly narcissists who should have learned to pick up after themselves in kindergarten or I can view it as a direct and meaningful way to make my city better. It’s not saving whales or curing cancer but that doesn’t matter.

The indirectly meaningful work is often much less obvious. It can be hard to extract a sense of satisfying purpose when tightening an identical bolt on an assembly line day after day even if you know that some parts you touched are used to build ambulances that save lives.

Working on something and never seeing the end result can suck the joy out of the best jobs a little bit each day until you can no longer be bothered to get dressed in the morning. This is as common in the corporate world as it is in a worldwide manufacturing supply chain and prompts millions of underpaid flunkies to ask the same question.

One way to uncover meaning from your labors is to seek a job with a short path between your actions and the recipients of your labors no matter how unpleasant the work. I may hate chopping onions but seeing people eagerly line up to buy a bowl of soup I helped make creates a nice feedback loop. My analytical brain tells me that chopping onions or making soup isn’t meaningful by itself but recognizing that people look forward to eating it makes all the difference.

I assume that if you made it this far you are looking for work that is meaningful to you. I guarantee it’s out there somewhere. I found mine helping people leave their office jobs to work from home where life is less stressful and work is much more satisfying. If this sounds interesting to you (if not meaningful), check out my webinars on landing the best work from home jobs from anywhere without previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

What is the best productivity technique for working from home?

What is the best productivity technique for working from home?

get more done in less time

Looking for a productivity method for improving your Work From Home performance? Need to get more done? Want more free time? Without a doubt, The Pomodoro Technique is an almost foolproof way to get more done in less time.

Pomodoro Technique – Wikipedia

From the Wikipedia article:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes)
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.

Along with this, when you take your well earned breaks which are part of the technique, really do something else that is not work. Go walk around the block, get a snack, or even go sit in your car. If you are lucky enough to work from home, go play with the dog, fold some laundry or empty the dishwasher. Do things that will take your mind off of what you are working on. If it’s an unsolved problem, your brain will still keep working on it in the background and often works better when you aren’t bothering it.

Of course, for a work from home job, productivity is only half the battle. Want to learn how to convince an employer that you can handle your work from home? Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

Why don’t some people believe Working From Home is a real job?

Why don’t some people believe Working From Home is a real job?

working from home is real work

I have been working from home for over 13 years in total in my career and I have heard many comments to the effect that it’s not a “real job.” In conversations with other remote work professionals I have categorized some of the reasons behind the reaction.

Some people can’t relate
It’s not an age thing. Some people just don’t get that people can work without a boss standing over their desk and without the incessant distractions of an office environment. These head scratchers making faces at your reply to “where do you work” are often the same people that haunt Facebook from their cubicle all day and leave early when their boss is out of the office. By comparison, most people working from home find that they are more focused and productive under “home” conditions than in an office and don’t give a flip about who is watching.

People literally cannot connect the dots
People have been involved in non-housework employment for much longer than people think. I recently wrote an article entitled “Working From Home: 1909 Style” and in the 1960’s Dame Vera Stephanie “Steve” Shirley was running a software development company in the UK, hiring women to program from home. Imagine having to phone or mail in your code, but they did it.

Even today when people of all ages have at least a passing familiarity with the Internet, many older people just can’t connect up what they understand about digital connectivity: Skyping with the grandkids, email, texting, etc, with how someone would be able to effectively communicate to coworkers plus gather and deliver information well enough to get anything done.

They convert it to what they know
As a way of throwing your “work from home” response into a pigeonhole that they can comprehend, older people, especially, come up with ways to equate it with “online jobs” that they have come across in popular traditional media. I had an elderly neighbor who once asked me what I do since I always seemed to be around. I later learned that she was telling everyone else in the neighborhood that I was buying and selling stuff on eBay. In reality, I’m a VP at a tech company with a 100% distributed workforce. I didn’t tell her my job in that way, but I’m certain I never said eBay.

In her mind, a little box opened up where she had stored some impossible online job she had heard about on Good Morning America and I got crammed into the box with a bunch of other “people who do impossible jobs.” And, of course, in the minds of people like that, those “impossible” methods of earning money aren’t real jobs at all so yours can’t be either.

So what do you do about it?

People in technology, complicated science fields or entrepreneurship learn early on to come up with a short, easily digestible explanation of what they do. Something that doesn’t leave people with a blank stare. You can do the same. Just add on that you are lucky enough to do an office job from home.

For those that can do it, working from home is one of the most satisfying ways to make a living regardless of your profession. Be proud of the fact that you are ahead of the curve.

Now go sit on your front porch and get something done.

A new webinar is coming on how to get the best work from home jobs from anywhere without previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

Top 5 Work From Home Tips

Top 5 Work From Home Tips

best tips for working from home

You did it! You are working from home and living the dream. You are an inspiration to your friends and your enemies are steaming. Now what? Find out how to stay productive and focused at home with these five great tips.

Forget the traditional desk
Sitting at a desk all day, even at home, is not good for your body, concentration or happiness. Try relocating every 45 minutes or hour. Move to the couch, prop yourself up in bed, stand up at the kitchen counter or sit outside. Anywhere is better than just slumping over a desk.

Pick a system and stick to it
There are a few good productivity systems out there to choose from. Personally, I like The Pomodoro Method (opens in new tab). It fits in well with the timing of moving around and I find that it greatly increases my productivity and focus.

Work at your peak times
When you are your most awake and fresh is when the bulk of your best work gets done. Don’t squander your best hours by answering email or catching up on Twitter. Figure out when your peak times and your worst times are for concentration and schedule your work accordingly.

Regularly reconnect with others
Sequestering yourself may help get more work done in the short term but it’s not sustainable. Connect to your remote co-workers through video chat (Google Hangouts, Skype, etc) and mix in some chatter about non-work topics while you figure out how to get past your project roadblocks. Not only will it help keep your spirit up, it will increase the cohesiveness of your team.

Get out of the house
At least once a week, go work from somewhere else. Try the library, a cafe, shared workspace or the park. This can help you stay connected to others while taking away habits and distractions that steal your valuable time at home.

Don’t miss the upcoming webinar series on landing the best work from home jobs without any previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.