How to Explain That You Want to Work Remotely


Dear Real Recruiter,

How do I communicate that I’m looking specifically for remote work in a cover letter or application when applying to a job that states it has remote options?

Signed,
Requesting Remote

Dear Requesting Remote,

Great question!

First things first, I don’t suggest mentioning remote work in a cover letter if the company does not explicitly mention the opportunity somewhere in their job description or on their website.

In the scenario where a company doesn’t call attention to remote opportunities, I would suggest waiting until you land and ace a first-round interview. With your foot in the door, the company may be more open to considering flexible and remote work.

But, don’t be surprised if the company is not amenable to the idea. Many companies still prefer more traditional face-to-face communication. So if remote work is your goal, target companies that specifically highlight it as a benefit.

In cases where the company is clear about their remote work options (which it sounds like they are in your situation), definitely mention your remote work desires in your cover letter.

To do so, tie your wish to work remotely back to the company in a positive way. For example, write about how you would love to work for such an employee-positive company that offers benefits like remote work—especially since that’s the work environment you’re seeking in your next opportunity. Articulating your passionate reason(s) for why you’d like to work at this company in particular is critical for making a good impression with your cover letter.

In addition, if the company offers remote work but it’s still not the norm, you can use your cover letter to demonstrate why you’d be a fantastic remote worker.

Highlight your previous remote work experience with quantifiable successes. Most hiring managers skim cover letters quickly, so you want to catch their attention with powerful examples of previous wins. Brainstorm the skills a remote worker needs and then highlight them accordingly. You could call attention to your superior self-motivation skills or your ability to manage your own time effectively.

Also remember that a huge piece of remote work is effective communication. Your cover letter is the first impression you’ll give of your communication style and abilities. That means you need to make sure it’s compelling, concise, and an accurate representation of how you’ll communicate on the job.

If you can do those things in your cover letter, you’ll make it clear—in a respectful and professional way—exactly what your career goals are. Much like any other job search, from there it’s up to the employer to decide whether your desires and ambitions line up with what they’re looking for in a candidate. Good luck!

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Real Recruiter in the subject line.

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