Finding and acquiring your first entry level remote job as an aspiring digital nomad isn’t always easy –although, it is the key defining factor in whether or not you’ll be able to realise your dream to live anywhere in the world, tethered to survival by a laptop.
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Entry-Level Remote Job Sites Typically Come in Three Different Flavours:
When you’re looking for your first entry level remote job, you’ve generally got three options when it comes to looking for online jobs:
- Low-paid “gig economy” job sites like Upwork
- Free job sites that aggregate the same jobs everyone is posting for an affiliate commission which makes it really hard to land a remote entry level job
- Paid remote job sites where employers are screened for integrity –no deadbeats, and the fee deters the cheapskates so competition is lower
1. Upwork and the Gig Economy
Here’s the rub; sites like Upwork or Fiverr charge you 20% on everything you make, use a rating / points system making it hard to get your first entry-level remote job with no points on the board, which then forces you to compete on price in a race to the bottom with people whose cost of living is a fraction of yours.
These entry-level remote job “gig economy” sites own the relationship with your clients –and they don’t filter bad apples very well. Lose your account, lose your clients. If a client doesn’t pay, they’ll typically side with the client.
Basically, zero health benefits and less pay than an office job –IMHO sites like these are online sweatshops. Anyone who’s ever used Upwork or written on Textmaster or iWriter knows what I’m talking about.
2. Free Remote Job Posting Sites
Free sites that list hundreds of remote entry-level job postings generally have all the crap they can find via aggregator APIs or RSS feeds and can’t afford a human to prune the list or review employers.
These “work from home” entry-level jobs sites are usually ad-driven, have far too much competition for remote entry-level job opportunities, and the site itself is nothing more than a low-conversion passive income project for the owner (quite likely a fellow nomad).
3. Screened Remote Entry-Level Jobs, for a Fee
And finally, there’s job sites that charge a nominal fee for job seekers in order to ensure all remote jobs come from quality employers who pay their bills on time.
We favour this kind of arrangement when we’re trying to find remote jobs, entry-level or otherwise. You get what you pay for; avoid time wasters and people who dodge their bills –because that really sucks when it happens.
By the end of this guide we’ll show you exactly how to apply for an entry-level remote job, name drop 25 employers that hire remote job positions, and then point you to another article where we show you active jobs that need to be filled right now.
What is an Entry-Level Remote Job?
An entry level remote job is one that you’ve probably already got the skills to do and don’t even know it –an ideal gateway to making money online relatively quickly, while living wherever you wish in a stress-free way.
Entry-level jobs are often the solution to “how do I get job experience if job experience is a requirement?!”.
“Entry level” isn’t the same thing to everyone. Something that seems entry level to you may seem advanced to someone else. As a result, it’s often easy to skirt around job requirements if you can demonstrate an understanding of the work.
For most of us, remote entry-level jobs usually require little experience and are typically part-time or have flexible hours –because of this they generally pay a lower wage and come with no employee health plan. It’s not all milk and honey, but the flexibility is ideal if you’re living in a place like Thailand or Colombia and getting paid in US dollars.
Not all entry level remote jobs will be low paid or lack permanence, however.
College grads have more options when it comes to entry level remote jobs; employers may be looking for a specific skill set with an eye to full-time, permanent employment and offer a health plan after 3 months or so.
Entry-Level Remote Job Examples
- Copywriting; blog posts, product descriptions, reviews
- Work from home data entry jobs
- WordPress website design, updates and general maintenance
- Junior roles in software development and design
- Social media management
- Managing appointments, data entry (receptionist, virtual assistant)
- Email outreach for business development or SEO link building
- Graphic design using Canva or Piktochart
- Audio transcription
- Editing, post production for video, photos, or audio
- Customer service via support ticket system, email, or chat
- Junior accountant, daily cash balance reports, etc.
In my experience, all entry level remote jobs really require is a warm body to thoughtfully help with common tasks on a computer, at volume.
Trello will become the office white board, and Slack your water cooler.
Benefits of Working Remotely
The benefits of working remotely, or having an entry level remote job are pretty alright.
You wake up and go to bed wherever in the world you please, work is manageable in spite of the obstacles of living abroad, and you have an opportunity to earn a higher value currency than the one you’re spending day-to-day.
That last point is that one that makes everything else possible. It’s why figuring out how to get an entry level remote job in a solid, repeatable way is really important.
Work your entry-level remote job virtually ‘in’ one country with a higher currency value and spend it while being physically in another country where said currency goes much, much further. For the uninitiated, this is called geo arbitrage. Earn USD, spend baht or pesos –live optimally.
Travel & Incubate Your Own Ideas
The end game for learning how to get an entry level remote job you can do online is just the beginning. Obtaining an entry level or part time remote job isn’t only about having more expendable income, a lower cost of living abroad, or a generally improved quality of life. No, no. That’s only a means to an end.
As soon as you have the money monkey off your back and you’re not sweating the nuts and bolts of daily life, you’re free to start building your ladder out of the j-o-b game, altogether. As part of the no-pension generation, one needs to think differently.
Entry level remote jobs are a form of treading water for a year or two or five until you can stand firmly on something you built for yourself. You know, all those ideas you’ve had rolling around in your head, hoping to get a chance to execute on them before someone else does?
It’s impossible to be around the digital nomad community and not have any hustle on the side –it’s contagious, it’s survival, it’s something to get excited about, and it’s a pillar of the lifestyle.
Are You Up to the Challenge?
Finding entry level remote work isn’t as easy as it seems, right off the cuff. It takes a little figuring out. There are plenty of remote job portals out there –perhaps too many.
The biggest complaint from friends and Hobo with a Laptop readers is that they’re forever applying for entry level remote jobs, with little or no success.
Applying for some remote jobs can be incredibly time consuming –taking up to an hour or more if you’re not prepared.
And even after you find an entry level remote job, who’s to say your employer is a savoury character and will pay on time, if at all?
Applying for remote entry-level jobs can be a nightmare.
Entry level remote jobs are abundant, but sites like Upwork, with their Amazon-esque approach to human capital, have pulled large numbers of applicants into one marketplace and created an environment where job seekers are forced to compete on price –and then slurp up 20% of net income to pay for the privilege.
For many, it’s a race to the bottom.
“In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage”. – John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
Why It’s Hard to Get an Entry-Level Remote Job
- Often competing on price with candidates from developing countries
- Employers are not always what they seem –many pay late, or not at all; how to know if remote job is a scam?
- No guarantees; you’re in charge of finding your next project before an existing one is finished
- Applying for entry level remote jobs can be time consuming
- Education isn’t always a plus –you don’t want to appear overqualified
- Your success isn’t part of the business model; you’re only a commisson –many remote job sites side with employers during disputes, withhold funds, or worse
How to Get an Entry Level Remote Job
This is my tried-and-true strategy to get an entry level remote job;
- Mitigate risk and competition
- Come up in search results
- Demonstrate your ability
- Get to the point
- Your cover letter
1. Mitigate Competition and Risk
To mitigate competition for entry-level remote employment, don’t go where all the nickel-barrel, bottom dollar people go. Avoid “gig economy” sites like Upwork or Fiverr; don’t opt for remote job sites that grind you down to the lowest common denominator and then take a fifth of what’s left over.
To mitigate risk, we suggest that you use a remote job site that screens employers for you. FlexJobs comes with a small, flat monthly fee –not a percentage– and in return, they’ll vet all of the job opportunities they supply. Employers only get so many strikes before they’re booted from the platform.
FlexJobs stands out for us because;
- Largest remote job site for pre-screened remote jobs
- Trained staff research, hand-screen jobs available so no scams, junk, ads
- Satisfaction guarantee; get a refund if you’re not happy
Why all the love for FlexJobs, Mike?
We wrote a hundred remote job site reviews last year, and FlexJobs was our readers’ top pick –they upvoted it head and shoulders above all the others we reviewed, galvanizing its reputation as the best remote job site for digital nomads. That, and we use it, too. You can find the review here.
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Hobo with a Laptop readers get an exclusive discount on FlexJobs –use the NOMAD promo code to receive the following discounts:
$44.95 for 12 months of FlexJobs (10% off)
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Learn how to get your first entry-level remote job with our how-to guide here.
2. Come Up in Search Results
Well, gee. You think? Yes, coming up in search results seems pretty obvious, but in practice it’s just another wolf to tame.
If you’re going to use Linked In, Upwork, Fiverr, AngelList, BeBee, YouTube, or some other search engine-driven platform where you dangle your profile out there for prospective employers to seek out –you’re going to have to brush up on those keyword research and density analysis skills.
The job market has long been dominated by search engines, algorithms, and more recently, artificial intelligence. With these systems, keywords are everything.
And you’re in luck –you can learn all about keyword research and keyword density and placement here.
3. Demonstrate Your Ability
From the get-go, you will need to demonstrate your ability in every communication with a prospective employer. That means your resume should be clear, succinct, and delivered in a way that your prospective employer will find meaningful.
If it’s a sales job, they’ll likely want to see numbers, light industry terminology, and conversational evidence that you know how to sell yourself. Having a few samples of the type of deliverables (proposals, sell sheets, etc.) you’ve produced in the past will be handy if they engage you.
If you’re looking for a virtual assistant job, show them some check lists you’ve used to complete your tasks in the past –demonstrate how you work with your clients. Emphasize your process, systems knowledge (Trello, for instance), it’s just as important as your output.
You get the idea.
If you live part of your life online, you likely already have proof that you know how to handle an entry level remote job. Have relevant examples for any job you pursue, where possible.
Your blog, Linked In profile, Facebook page, or Instagram account can all be proof enough to land an awesome entry level remote job.
4. Get to the Point
When communicating with prospective employers, take it from Hemingway; don’t use flowery words, and stick to the point.
Quarantine your first or second reply for an hour or two after writing it and collect your thoughts before hitting send.
A back-to-back email because you left out a detail, a forgotten file attachment, giant walls of text, rambling, or appearing a little too eager is a putoff.
Use point-form as much as possible and ensure that you’re not putting any work on the person you’re communicating with –keep any related assets (images, documents, website links) at their finger tips.
5. Your Cover Letter
It’s important to mention a few specific remote work oriented highlights on your cover letter when you’re applying for an entry level remote jobs –competition is fierce. Be sure to emphasise your remote work experience, communication skills (and tools you’ve used), as well as your ability to solve problems on your own (Google is your friend!). Provide examples for each.
Where to Find Entry-Level Remote Jobs
Now let’s put everything into practice and dig up some current real-life remote entry-level jobs, (and put the final nail in the coffin of that nagging question “where can I find remote jobs?”).
Top Companies for Remote Work
According to Flexjobs the 2019 top 25 companies to find remote jobs (out of their top 100) are as follows; click through to view current remote job listings for each.
|1. VIPKID||14. UnitedHealth Group|
|2. Appen||15. Williams-Sonoma|
|3. Conduent||16. Convergys|
|4. Rev||17. Aetna|
|5. Liveops||18. Cactus Communications|
|6. TTEC||19. Kaplan|
|7. Amazon||20. BroadPath Healthcare Solutions|
|8. SYKES||21. Hilton|
|9. Dell||22. Commonwealth of Virginia|
|10. Working Solutions||23. Leidos|
|11. LanguageLine Solutions||24. Robert Half International|
|12. Kelly Services||25. K12|
Entry-Level Remote Jobs That Are Available Right Now
Now that you know how to get an entry-level remote job and who is hiring for the most remote positions –let’s take a look at some actual remote jobs that are available right now.
Search filters for remote entry level jobs on FlexJobs include; all job types, only telecommute jobs, only flexible schedule jobs, only full-time, only part time remote jobs, and so on.
Using the search function to weed out “normal” jobs is a little difficult for some people, so I did that for you too.
Read: Location Independent Jobs That Are Always Hiring (Updated Weekly) –this article links to active search results on FlexJobs for entry-level remote jobs that you can apply for today.
Here’s a small handful of active remote job opportunities available from the article mentioned above:
- Brand advocate jobs
- Social media specialist jobs
- Copywriter jobs
- Travel consultant jobs
- Online tutor jobs
- Data entry jobs
- Health coach jobs
- Virtual assistant jobs
There’s quite the diverse lineup of active remote entry level job opportunities on that related article, and all of them were posted in the last few days because they point to live search results.
Here’s a screenshot of 17 entry-level remote jobs I recently found on FlexJobs to give you an idea of what’s out there before you look for yourself.
The work starts before your first billable hour.
If you can get yourself noticed and demonstrate that you’re the right person for a remote entry level job right from the beginning, quite often, you’ll get it.
It’s less time consuming and painful to set yourself apart when you’re not competing on price –and that’s no way to live, anyway.
And finally, if you spend more time evaluating the integrity, quantity, and frequency of remote jobs available on a particular job site or portal, you’ll likely spend less time dredging through the misery of low-paying jobs, shady job offers, or scams.
What do you think? What’s your best strategy for getting entry-level remote jobs?
Let us know in the comments, and please share this article if you know others who are struggling to find remote jobs.
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