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by Jillian Q

December 18, 2018

Founder Guides 9 min read

How Do You Get a Remote Job with No Experience?

For digital nomads, work means staying tethered to a laptop anywhere in the world. While the freedom to live a life of unlimited travel sounds appealing, earning a stable income is a challenge — especially without work experience.

So, is it possible to find remote work in a saturated job market with no experience? Thanks to the many entry-level jobs out there, the signs all point to yes.

What are entry-level remote jobs?

Let’s start by defining the keywords: entry-level and remote.

Remote jobs are any type of jobs done online. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Remote jobs are completed on a freelance, part-time, or full-time basis.

Entry-level jobs refer to positions that require little to no experience. These jobs are normally designed for recent graduates or individuals at the early stage of their careers.

Naturally, you’ll find that entry-level positions pay lower wages than those with experience. But this shouldn’t discourage you from applying. Treat your entry-level job as a stepping stone. After you hone your skills, you can start asking for higher rates in the future.

Begin your job hunt by making a list of your skills. Then decide on a niche: technical, writing, marketing, etc. — and stick to it until it becomes your area of expertise.

5 Entry-Level Remote Jobs for Digital Nomads

1. Language teachers

Fluent in English or any foreign languages? Then you can start profiting from that skill. There are a number of online language platforms out there, including Verbling and VIPKID. Some jobs require native English speakers, university degrees, or a TEFL Certificate, while others don’t.

As a language teacher, you also have to be enthusiastic about the subject and share that enthusiasm with your students. The best teachers don’t just focus on imparting knowledge — they are also willing to put in the time to help students meet their goals.

2. Virtual specialists or assistants

Virtual Assistants, or VA for short, is a general term for remote freelancers that provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients.

Experience isn’t necessary for VAs, but being well-organised is a great plus. It also helps if you go very niche and start specializing in certain fields. For example, designers can become creative assistants to videographers, while those with accounting experience can specialise in client taxes, budgeting, and expense-tracking.

Check out the most common VA services below:

  • Customer support
  • Order processing and refunds
  • Transcription
  • Data entry
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Social media management
  • Creating sales pages
  • Lead generation

To land clients, both new and experienced VAs need to be proactive in networking. If you’re not sure which service you want to offer, you can always pick 2-3 ideas from the list above and start with them.

3. Writer

Nowadays, businesses need quality content to market their brands online. This has opened a variety of writing jobs like blogging and writing eBooks.

Becoming a successful writer isn’t just picking random topics and putting together a post. The creative process — or “ideation” — requires strategy and skill. To develop your writing career, you need to consider the following:

  • Study the audience or “Buyer Persona”. The buyer persona is a term used by marketers. It represents the users who might use a website, brand, or product. In a writer’s case, the buyer persona is their readers. When writing a piece towards a specific persona, you need to adjust your tone, format, and length.
  • Basic SEO, HTML, CSS, and WordPress knowledge. Sounds like a mouthful? Don’t panic. You only need to know the basics. Enroll in a basic online course or visit helpful resources like w3schools.com or WPBeginner to get started.SEO skills are also critical for writers. Since search engine algorithms are constantly changing, make it a point to update your SEO knowledge.
  • Master different writing styles. Consistent style, tone, grammar, and punctuation make content worth reading. For instance, AP style is the standard for news articles. Ad copies are shorter and more persuasive. Blogs, on the other hand, depends on the topic — it can be playful, opinionated, inspiring, etc.
  • Write original pieces. Want to build a good reputation? Stop copying the works of others then. It’s one thing to take inspiration from a piece and another to rewrite it. As a writer, you need to learn how to deliver a unique voice to a subject that’s been done a hundred times before.

While a lot of companies (and clients) are more than happy to employ new writers, you’ll likely get lower rates at first. Start negotiating higher when you’ve gathered professional experience. To build your reputation, take on short-term writing gigs first. Then collect these pieces and showcase them on your website, online portfolio, and LinkedIn.

4. Digital marketing

Besides sales, marketing is another driving force for any business. And there’s no shortage of marketing positions. You can specialise in email marketing or delve into social media marketing. If you’re skilled in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then sell your services to small businesses.

5. Software engineer

Developers, coders, programmers, Chris Hemsworth in that computer movie—however you choose to call them, those working in software development have one of the best chances of finding a remote job.

Why? Aside from a wealth of roles in front-end, back-end, or full stack development. You can score entry-level software engineer jobs in the following fields:

Back-end engineers

Back-end developers build and maintain the program that powers a website. Their back end code supports everything the front-end developer creates. This includes database management, back-end frameworks, API integration, security settings, and cloud computing integration.

That said, proficient knowledge of back-end programming language and framework is critical. You also need to understand how front-end web technologies work. If you received formal training (AKA a degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering), you can start applying for entry-level positions. Otherwise, you can hone your skills through in-person development courses.

Front-end engineers

Front-end development involves creating tools and techniques for a seamless user interface. The main challenge for front-end developers is building well organised, mobile-ready applications.

To start a career as a front-end developer, knowledge in the following fields are required:

  • HTML/CSS
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Javascript frameworks
  • Front-end frameworks (example: Bootstrap, Semantic-UI, Materialize)
  • Cross-browser development
  • Content management systems
  • Version control systems
  • Mobile design and development

Quality Assurance (QA) or test engineers

Test engineers perform quality assurance testing on software, website functions, or applications. It is the test engineer’s responsibility to document the testing process and procedure. The reports gathered helps improve the product before it is released to the public.

Engineering graduates have a better chance of landing test engineer jobs. Fluency in testing tools such as Windows, Linux, and command-line tools are a must as well.

Full-stack developer

Full-stack developers render services for back-end and front-end development. It may sound like a lot for a single person, but it isn’t entirely impossible.

Full-stack developers require basic knowledge in JavaScript and HTML/CSS as well as servers, hosting environments, algorithms, and databases. Most importantly, they need to be able to develop a link for each.

For a better understanding, take a look at the chart below:

Ready to start your remote career? Here’s how to land that job.

You could be the most skilled freelancer in the business...but your prospective clients don’t know that yet. In fact, they see you as one of the many individuals vying for the job!

To increase your chances of getting hired, prepare the following:

1. Set up a profile on online job sites

Your profile is what introduces you to clients. Take the opportunity to share your background (skills, educational attainment, etc.), upload a professional picture, and display your hourly rate.

If you’re not sure how much you should charge for your services, you can refer to online resources like Payscale or YourRate.co to calculate your freelance rates

2. Upload a portfolio on your own website

An online portfolio is a marketing and customer acquisition tool that establishes your brand on the web. When a company or individual conducts a search via Google or other search engines, they gain access to your work through a portfolio.

Using your personal website as a platform, start structuring your online portfolio by adding the following elements:

Introduction

Keep the intro section brief. Include a professional photo of yourself, your basic details (age, name, email address), and a short description.

Projects

Your projects showcase your skill — so take your time when crafting this section. The key is to focus on quality over quantity. Feature your best projects only, even if it means posting just one, impressive sample of your work.

Give a short summary or context for your projects. Talk about the goals you helped achieved and explain your role in detail. You can even include customer testimonials to prove your achievements.

Services

You’re free to choose how you want to present your skills and services in your portfolio. You can do it in list form or individual blocks. A general rule of thumb is to keep the text clear and straightforward. You can also include sections that detail your employment status, current projects, and educational achievements.

Contact details

For the final section of your portfolio, give people various means to contact you.

If you’re using Wordpress, all you need to do is install a plugin that generates contact forms. Otherwise, you can create your own template that factors in the following details:

  • Size of input fields. The name input field should have eight or fewer characters in the first name
  • Field labels. Position the label above the input field for reference.
  • Avoid multiple columns. Never split your form into multiple columns, and only indicate one question per row.
  • Positioning. As a standard, remember to position the form at the bottom of your portfolio

3. Prepare your resume

Remote jobs are different from traditional companies, so your resume shouldn’t follow the conventional resume structure either.

Here are important points to consider when creating your resume for remote work:

Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Most companies use an applicant tracking system to filter out applications before it reaches the hiring manager. This is why including keywords from the job description on your resume can increase your chance of being hired.

Remove irrelevant jobs. It might be tempting to try and fill in resume gaps with your job experience from years ago. But say for example you’re applying as a web developer, then your prospects don’t need to hear about the time you worked as a cashier for your family restaurant. Instead, you can focus on the skills relevant to the job.

Add the skills you need to work remotely. Never worked a remote job before? Don’t worry. Other than the specific skill set needed for the job, you also need to master other skills such as self-discipline, having a flexible mindset, and being goal-oriented.

Include links to your LinkedIn Profile and personal website. Instead of writing your personal address, provide employers with links to your personal website, online portfolio, or LinkedIn profile.

Email the hiring manager directly. Job seekers often wonder if it’s appropriate to contact the hiring manager. In general, it won’t hurt your application to try — unless the job posting states otherwise of course.

Contacting the hiring manager is simple. Let them know you applied and mention at least two qualifications that demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate. Conduct a thorough edit of your email before sending it. Your message should be clear, professional, and free of grammatical errors.

Bonus Tip: Update your LinkedIn profile and change the settings to “Let Recruiters Know You're Open”. You can even find and apply for jobs via LinkedIn.

4. Write a cover letter

Cover letters are just as important as your resume. While a resume lists down your recent work experience and background, you’re often constrained to just one page. Cover letters, on the other hand, lets you draw more attention to notable entries on your resume.

Let’s say you’re applying as an online English teacher. You can share about your experience as an English teacher in developing countries or the time you did volunteer work at your public school. Cover letters give you more personality, something that the bullet points of a resume cannot.

So what makes a good cover letter? Here are some great practices to follow:

  • Customise your cover letter to the job description. You don’t need to fully personalise each cover letter for the jobs you’re applying for. Creating a template for the first and closing paragraph is a more effective workaround. For the middle section, you can modify it to list down your skills and experiences related to the project’s requirements.
  • Highlight the benefits of hiring you. Structure your statements in terms of the benefits you provide to them. For example: “My flexible schedule allows me to handle projects outside your operating hours, allowing you to access them first thing in the morning”.
  • Run through the basics. You wouldn’t want to make a bad first impression, would you? Check for any spelling or grammatical errors or unfinished sentences before hitting that submit button.

The Bottom Line

Communicate your expectations with employers before signing on for the job. The digital nomad lifestyle is all about staying productive while travelling — and a good remote job will help you achieve that. Take action today and you’ll be living your nomad dreams in no time.

Skip to section

1. Language teachers
2. Virtual specialists or assistants
3. Writer
4. Digital marketing
5. Software engineer
1. Set up a profile on online job sites
2. Upload a portfolio on your own website
3. Prepare your resume
4. Write a cover letter