Not all remote jobs are created equal.
Once you decide to work from home, it’s time to get down to business and figure out which remote job is right for you.
Remember, working remotely is not a job in and of itself. Remote work is simply a perk of a particular job, just like health insurance or paid time off. And, just because a job has a telecommute option doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be happy doing the work.
Instead, you need to focus on finding (and landing) a remote job you’ll actually enjoy. Here’s how.
Look To The Past To Figure Out The Future
The goal here is to find a remote job that’s right for you, not just any ol’ remote job. To figure out what you enjoy doing, you need to look to the past.
Sit down for a few minutes and take an honest self-inventory of your past work.
What jobs did you enjoy? Why? Was it the nature of work? The company you worked for?
What jobs did you hate? Why? Did you dislike the types of people you worked with? Were you unhappy with the industry?
What about skills? What are the tasks and responsibilities you’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing? Which ones did you detest?
When you take a few minutes to reflect on the past, it can be easier to determine what you want in the future. These ‘wants’ are what we call career ideals.
What Are Career Ideals?
Career ideals include what you do for work, how you do it, and for whom.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your own career ideals. In fact, they’re as unique as you are.
I like to break down career ideals into 3 categories:
- Have To Have
- Can’t Have
- Added Bonus
For example, if you’re visiting me here on Work From Home Happiness, I bet one of your “have to have” career ideals is a remote work option. Am I right? That is, you’re fed up with your daily commute and your next job must allow you to telecommute. If not, it’s a no go.
And while remote work is a great start when it comes to “have to have” career ideals, they go much deeper than that alone. Let’s take a look.
Have To Have Career Ideals
We already briefly touched on “have to have” career ideals. These are the so-called must-haves when it comes to your next job. That is, if it doesn’t come with X, Y, or Z, it’s out of the question. Period.
Knowing what your non-negotiable career ideals are helps you refine your job search, which makes it easier to actually land a job.
Can’t Have Career Ideals
Like your “have to have” career ideals, your “can’t haves” are equally important in finding the right remote job for you. But now we’re looking at work-related deal breakers.
When a prospective job requires things on your “can’t haves” list, then you can immediately eliminate it. Again, this saves you time, energy, and effort in your remote job search. After all, there’s no sense wasting time on a resume and application for a position that requires something you absolutely do not want to do, right? Right!
Added Bonus Career Ideals
When it comes to the way we work, there are some things that aren’t quite must-haves but they certainly would be nice-to-have. These are career ideals that fall in the “added bonus” category.
For example, let’s say one of your must-haves is a salary of at least $75,000. This number allows you to live comfortably, pay all your bills, and stash a little extra cash in the bank each month. Awesome. An “added bonus” career ideal would be a position that pays $100,000+. Granted, it’s not a requirement, but it sure would be nice.
Remember, career ideals are unique. There are no wrong answers. And since we’re looking to find just the right remote job, feel free to shoot for the stars.
Career Ideal Areas
I asked you to reflect on past jobs and to think about why you liked or disliked them. You’ll use this knowledge to figure out your can’t have, have to have, and added bonus career ideals.
To further refine your ideals, it’s best to think about them in terms of certain areas. For example, we briefly touched upon commute and salary. For example, you need a remote-friendly job that pays a minimum of X-dollars a year.
But to pinpoint just the right job for you, it’s time to think about other areas too.
Do you need a 100% remote job or is work-from-home Fridays enough for you? Would you like to never step foot in an office ever again? Remember, some remote jobs have a 100% telecommute option. Others, allow you to work from home the majority of the time but may require you to surface in-office from time to time.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a medical position with a telecommute option or have vowed never to work in the legal industry ever again, it’s important to figure out what industry you’d like to work in. Identifying this all-important career ideal does wonders in narrowing (and focusing) your job search.
Determining the department you want to work in is equally important in career ideals. There are plenty of remote jobs in customer service and sales, but those may not be right for you. And that’s okay. What’s important is figuring out the department you want to work in and those you want to steer clear of. This is especially important for anyone contemplating a career change!
What do you need to earn to live? Many people don’t have a true idea of their salary needs. To figure out your ideal salary, you need to determine your expenses every month. These include things like rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, food, etc. Don’t forget to include debts you’re paying on, like car notes and student loans. Plus, you’ll need room for savings and to establish an emergency fund. It all adds up.
Feeling confused? Don’t be. Use these tips over at Payscale to help you calculate what you need to earn.
Your daily job responsibilities have a lot to do with your overall happiness at work. So, when thinking of your career ideals, take an honest look at your past experiences to find out which job duties you love and which ones you want to leave behind.
We all have skills we’ve developed as professionals. But whether or not you enjoy using those skills at work is what’s important. Sure, you may be an Excel pro, but does the thought of making spreadsheets all day make you want to run and hide?
Yes, it’s important to identify your skills. It’s equally important to find out which skills you actually want to use (and those you want to avoid).
Feeling rusty in the skills department? Here are online courses that will teach you a work from home skill.
Health insurance? Child care subsidy? Free coffee? Whatever perks are important to you, be sure to include them in your career ideals.
You know you want to work remotely, but have you thought about what hours you want to work? This is a very important (but often overlooked) career ideal.
Maybe you need the standard 9 to 5 that you can do virtually. Perhaps anything that requires overtime is a deal breaker. It’s up to you. Think about your existing schedule and personal commitments when determining your ideal working hours.
Don’t Forget Your Ideals
It’s tempting to say, “I’ll take any job as long as I can work from home.” Don’t do it! Remember, the ultimate goal is to find your dream remote job.
To do that, reflect on your past positions to identify what’s important in your future career. When you stick to your ideals, it makes a difference in long term job satisfaction. After all, we don’t want you to get stuck in a remote job you hate, right? Right!
So, what are you waiting for? Grab a pen and paper and get to work. Or you can use the handy Career Ideals Worksheet I created (it’s free!). Just sign up for my newsletter below and I’ll send you a copy. You’ve got this. 💪🏻
P.S. This post may contain affiliate links. What are they? Check out my disclosure statement for more info.