Remote work is intrinsically linked to tech-savviness, but not everybody has grown up with smart devices in hand. So, is there any hope for older individuals looking to land a remote role?
2020 has seen many individuals from the baby boomer and Gen X age groups enter the remote work market for the first time, a massive adjustment considering that until recently over 50% of older staff held jobs that did not support remote work. For those that are coming into the work from home space to job-hunt for the first time, the level of tech know-how needed can be a significant barrier to entry that can prove to be discouraging.
Remote work offers huge benefits to older individuals. With the recent pandemic posing a particularly severe risk to older individuals or people with comorbidities, remote work has been the most natural and safest solution. It is estimated that 47% of older workers are currently in roles that can be done from home, and in the US they are the fastest-growing workforce group.
But what happens at the point where temporary work from home policies have been lifted and people go back to physical offices? The risk of infection remains a reality that many will want to avoid by finding a full-time remote position.
If you've never worked for a 100% remote company before, or come from a traditional industry, there are some important things you'll need to know prior to applying for jobs. This is how to start working online for older remote workers:
1. Find A Path
The first step to landing a remote job is narrowing down which online industry you want to target. Many job descriptions are transferable between the traditional work and remote work worlds, you just need to do some homework and find the best parallel fit for your existing skills. If you want to start in a new industry, you need to read up on the knowledge and skillset you will have to build to get hired.
Decide on the line of work you want to pursue, and start taking a look at the job listings that are a good fit. Pay careful attention to their requirements and all the boxes you check as a candidate and make note of the ones you don't. The requirements you can't fulfill should be taken as an opportunity to do some learning or take an online course.
2. Take An Online Course
The internet is a wealth of knowledge and online courses, and you can learn anything you need to know just by doing a simple Google search. This includes technologies, collaboration tools, and other standards commonly used by remote companies. Depending on what needs to be learned, there will be a large variety of paid and free courses.
This is where the question of affordability comes up. How do you know if a paid course is the best option? When you're looking for a new job opportunity, every cent counts after all. The answer has three parts. You should evaluate every paid course for:
- Course content. What are they teaching you in this course, how does it compare to free alternatives, and do you personally feel the price is justified?
- Reviews. What have others that have completed the course said? Are there any industry leaders recommending this course and why?
- Authority. Is the course being hosted by an authoritative website that is valued by the industry you want to break into? This can be tough to ascertain but sometimes companies will provide indicators of certifications they want to see in their job listings - marketing roles, for example, will sometimes specify that they want to see certifications through HubSpot.
3. Work With A Coach Specializing In Remote Work
One of the best ways to approach the transition to remote work as an older individual is to consult with a coach that specializes in remote work and recruitment, and we'll tell you why. A good coach with a recruitment focus can streamline all the above for you, point you towards the right courses and listings, and guide you through the application and interview processes within a short timeframe.
A remote work coach can provide you with more than just resources; more than just learning new tools and skills, you'll get key insight and exposure to standards from an industry insider that can launch your job application to the top of the pile.
The most important thing to remember when looking for a good remote work coach is to pre-vet them. Look at their testimonials, have an introductory call with them, and decide if they are a good fit for the goals you have set for yourself. Desk To Remote offers one-on-one coaching for remote work skills and interviews, with testimonials available to read here.
4. Consistency Pays Off
Without beating around the bush, finding a remote job can be hard. The global pandemic has certainly lead to an influx in remote work hopefuls, and you'll see a lot of rejections before getting a positive response or an interview. With tons of young people entering the remote job market, older applicants often feel that there is no room for them in this world.
This couldn't be farther from the truth. Remote work is being established as the new work "norm", and while it will take some time for things to be business-as-usual, you do yourself a disservice if you are not pushing yourself to learn, work, and grow with the rest of the world.
Impostor syndrome is a real thing, and uncertainty causes additional anxieties you need to face. If you're able to overcome that inner saboteur and stay consistent in your efforts to become remote work-ready, the results will start to show. Sure it might be a slow or arduous journey, but you'll still be getting somewhere and achieving something that will ultimately be worth all the effort.
Older remote workers may face some significant challenges when it comes to getting started in the industry, but with the right approach, these are challenges that can be overcome. The numerous benefits of remote work far outweigh the drawbacks that can come from having to learn new skills and apply in a field that is not familiar to you. If you're willing to learn, do your homework properly, and network with professionals that can guide you along the journey, there is no reason why your age should hold you back from getting hired remotely.