It’s a pretty common story in the world of expats: you worked your tail off for a good education and a career you loved and leave it all behind to a) follow your spouse’s career or b) start a new life with your long-distance foreign love. Whatever your expat story is, it’s left many of us unhappy and unfulfilled in our work life. What if you could have a job that follows you as you follow your spouse’s job around the globe? Yes, it does exist! 

Remote work is now more possible than ever before thanks to technology, rising demand from employees, and a willingness from employers to embrace the remote work lifestyle. A recent report from the freelance marketplace giant Upwork estimated that by 2028 73% of all departments will have remote workers–that opens a lot of opportunities for us! 

Remote work
There are so many online resources available!

Below you’ll find some top tips and resources from a fellow expat who’s been a remote job-seeker as well as Recruiter for remote companies.

So what kinds of remote roles are out there?

There is an ocean of potential when it comes to remote roles, but in all honesty, there are some that you’ll see far more frequently than others. PowerToFly has put together a list of their Top 10 Best Work-From-Home Roles and for the most part, I tend to agree.

Tech roles are on top. Think programmers and engineers. If you’ve got tech skills, you can write your own ticket. Digital Marketing is also a big one, as is Customer Support. I know that when many of us think ‘customer support’, we envision someone sitting in a crowded call centre making minimum wage. However, HelpScout, a top-notch remote company, reports the global median salary as $50,000 in their global CS salary survey.

Product and design roles are plentiful in both smaller and larger remote companies. The list goes well beyond these examples, so I recommend taking some time to research your chosen profession and what kind of remote jobs are out there for you.    

But let’s cut to the real meat of this article: how do you get in on the remote work action? Below are several tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years as both a remote Recruiter and a remote job seeker determined to reclaim my career.

Go Directly to the Source

Stalking. It’s a skill that I’ve honed as a Recruiter in search of candidates. It’s also a handy skill to have for job searching (among other things). If you’re crushing on a particular company (“I’d give my pinkie finger to work there!”) make sure that you’re keeping a close eye on their every movement. 

  • Many companies share new job opps on social media–are you following them?
  • You’ll often find that companies invite you to submit a “spontaneous” application through their job page even if there’s not a specific open job you want to apply for–this is your chance to get your CV into their database. You never know when you might get a call about a new but not-yet-posted job that you’d be a great fit for. 
  • Every good stalker needs to have a “page monitor” in their toolkit. Through websites like Follow That Page you can set up regular alerts that let you know any time changes have been made to a specific web page. It’s easy-peasy: simply create an account, plug in the address of the career page and customize your alert settings…then the alerts come directly into your inbox any time a new job is added! 

So maybe you’re thinking “well that’s great advice and all, but how are we supposed to know which companies hire remote employees?” I’ve been involved in the remote work world for several years now and have been cultivating a “little” list of remote-friendly companies just for an occasion like this! And voila: check it out here

Let the job boards do the work for you

OK, so maybe you don’t have the stalker mentality or just don’t have the time. There are some great job boards out there that are happy to do the work for you. You can typically sign up for email alerts and receive a list of the latest jobs right into your inbox. The boards below are some that I’ve personally found to be the most helpful. Side note: you’ll find some services out there that require you to pay a fee in order to receive job listings. I am not a big fan of these because they are typically compiling jobs that anyone else can find on the internet for free with a few simple clicks. 

  1. Borderless Jobs*

*Shameless plug! This is a Facebook page that I created to share remote jobs with expats. A large percentage of remote jobs are open only to candidates in a certain geography or who have specific work authorization. I vet all of the jobs on the page to make sure that they are truly “borderless” and open to all candidates. I also only share non-technical roles since a large portion of remote roles lean towards the tech side (and we can’t all be Python coders!) 

Remote work
Remote work

Social Networks

Social Media. It’s the bane of our existence, right? As much as we love/hate it, it can be particularly useful for job searching and networking (and adorable cat memes!). There are endless groups out there for digital nomads, remote workers, stay-at-home-moms, etc. You’ll find a variety of different opportunities floating around in these groups: 

  • Legit, paid jobs 
  • Folks offering free work in exchange for experience/references (this is not a terrible idea if you are trying to get some experience on your CV)
  • Online English teaching jobs (sounds great, but the reality is that there are often work authorization restrictions)
  • Non-legit or MLM-type jobs (hint: if a job ad makes your spidey senses tingle, listen to your gut)

Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without a list of some of the larger groups out there! 

It’s also great to do your own reconnaissance: ask other expats in your area about any local online job groups (For example English-speaking Jobs in Berlin and English-speaking Jobs in Switzerland)

Be Found

Linkedin is the gold standard when it comes to professional networking. As a Recruiter, I use it on a daily basis to find awesome candidates. Many people are unaware just how many of us Recruiters are sniffing around, checking out profiles, and making split-second decisions on whether or not we want to reach out to candidates. Obviously, spiffing up your profile is an entirely different discussion topic, but did you know that you can also turn on a little invisible flag that tells Recruiters you’re looking for a job? You also have the option to specify where you are looking, and if you’re open to remote options. Check out this short video to show you how to turn your secret flag on. 

Explore the World of Startups

I’m a startup lover. The bulk of my work over the past ten years has been with startups so I know the environment well. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s good to keep an open mind about it when you’re looking for remote work. Many young startups are more open to the idea of a remote team (and let’s be honest, when you’re running lean, it helps not having to pay rent for office space). There are countless platforms and resources for tapping into the startup scene and below are just a few: 

  1. AngelList is kind of like Linkedin for Startups. Sign up for their newsletter to get the latest scoop on startups and job opportunities. You can create a profile, similar to Linkedin, as well as job alerts which will email you jobs that fit your criteria (job title, location, etc) are posted.
  2. Product Hunt is kind of like “hot or not” for startups: new products and companies are listed and the audience votes on the best ideas. Similar to AngelList, you can learn about new companies, search for jobs, and also sign up for a weekly newsletter. 
  3. Y Combinator is a “startup incubator”. In non-hipster speak that means it’s a place where startup founders receive funding and take a crash course in growing a successful biz. Keep an eye out for their annual “top companies” list. If you read about a company that sparks a particular interest, refer to Tip 1: stalking. 
  4. TechCrunch and CrunchBase are media channels for startup news. These are great resources to follow for regular updates on who’s landing funding and how much. Tip: once companies land funding, they often ramp up on hiring! 

Bottom line

There are lots of tools out there to aid you in your remote job search. What’s most important is patience and determination. Let’s face it that prereq for being an expat anyway! What’s the average number of months we have to wait for our shipping containers to arrive? Also don’t forget another important aspect of remote job searching: being able to sell yourself as a great candidate. Start dusting off that CV.

Change can be difficult and often requires a shift in mindset. It can feel overwhelming when you start to go down the remote work rabbit hole. Don’t despair there is help out there. People like me are here to coach you on how to sell yourself, where to look for your skillset and feed you opportunities. Some people need a lot of guidance and others just need to add a little bit of ‘oomph’ to their game. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and if you need help seek it out.

This is part 2 of our 4 part series on remote work. Check our first article on the Pros and cons of remote work.

Becca Rhew is an American expat now living (and working remotely) in Switzerland.

She coaches expats who are looking to re-start the careers they gave up in order to globetrot. You can learn more about her coaching services here: Career Contessa Coaching

With nearly 20 years of experience in HR and Recruiting Becca has worked with countless candidates across various positions and experience levels. She’s been working remotely for over six years and can share great insights from both the perspective of a remote Recruiter and as a remote job seeker. You can find Becca on LinkedIn here.