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Rachel Boger loves the Florida heat, the smell of salt water and Dunedin, the charming Gulf Coast town where she lives. She loves it so much that she’s spent a decade pushing back against the idea of ​​catapulting her digital marketing career by moving to New York or San Francisco, where the big corporations are headquartered.

“So I kept getting by every day, living where I love even if it meant not getting the headlines and paying that I knew I would get if I lived in those big cities. Then Covid hit Boger wrote in a Facebook post after accepting his “dream job.”

Boger was hired in August as director of digital strategy for a Philadelphia-based marketing agency, which she said would have been unlikely before the pandemic. She has worked in digital marketing for over 15 years, but her career has been hampered by limited opportunities within driving distance.

Today, Boger is taking advantage of the global pandemic, which overturned decades of working tradition where people mainly had to do their work from a desk.

Matt Schulman also landed his “dream job” post-Covid, when he landed a communications manager position at Crunchbase, headquartered in San Francisco, while living in New York.

“Before the pandemic, they weren’t a remote company; everyone was working in the office,” says Schulman. “So my job wouldn’t have been possible before the pandemic because I live in New York.”

Work-from-home jobs most popular among women and millennials

In July 2022, remote job ads on LinkedIn (17% of total paid job postings on the platform) attracted the majority of applications (54%) and nearly half of views (47%) compared to local jobs.

This is a dramatic jump from less than three years ago, when in January 2020 remote jobs made up just 2% of total paid ads and attracted just 3% of candidates.

And nearly twice as many people (64%) applied for at least one remote job in July 2022 than the year before (37%).

The industries that had the highest percentage of remote job postings on LinkedIn in July were, unsurprisingly, those that don’t necessarily require physical interaction:

  • Technology, information and media: 42%
  • Professional services: 30%
  • Education: 25%
  • Administrative and support services: 25%

“Remote work has surged among women during the pandemic, many of whom have been forced out of the workforce due to increased home care responsibilities,” says Blair Heitmann, career expert at LinkedIn. “And women continued to apply for remote jobs at higher rates than men.”

Forty-one percent of women say they would even change industries to benefit from a more flexible work-from-home policy, according to an October 2021 LinkedIn survey.

Schulman cites flexibility as one of the main benefits of working remotely.

“Unless you have [paid time off], it didn’t leave you much time for the rest of your life,” Schulman says of working in an office. “Now you can work wherever you want, so you can do things like work in another state and help your sister with a new baby or visit family. You actually have time for your hobbies or just time to do the dishes. Working remotely allows you to live your life.

Employees want the flexibility of working from home and employers are listening

A tighter focus on work-life balance has emerged from the pandemic as more workers assess how they spend their time. For many, the conclusion was that they were spending too much time commuting or sitting in cubicles.

Forbes Advisor spoke to more than a dozen recruiters and employers who all said work from home has taken off over the past two years because people want more flexibility to balance work and personal life.

And because more and more people are reluctant to return to the office full-time, companies are revamping their policies.

Kristi Johnson-Noble, chief people officer at Spruce, an Austin-based lifestyle service provider, says when companies ask employees to return to the office, the question has become, “Why should I go back to the office when Am I perfectly capable of doing my good work remotely? »

That’s a question being asked of employers across the country, says Rick Hammel, CEO of Atlas, a software development company headquartered in Chicago. Hammel says the pandemic has demonstrated that working remotely is not only possible, but can also be profitable.

“The argument for bringing employees back to the office is often difficult to justify. And employees are aware of this; they want flexibility and work-life balance,” says Hammel.

For Spruce, the experience of working remotely during the pandemic has led to deeper discussions about what a company should expect of its employees.

“All of these companies with core ‘people first’ values ​​are being tested. The question then becomes, “Do you value my personal well-being as much as my contribution to your business?” says Johnson-Noble.

Companies see the benefits and challenges of remote hiring

In addition to making employees happy, employers who embrace remote working are also finding significant benefits for their businesses. On the one hand, they can deepen the talent pool by breaking down geographic barriers. And they can also diversify their talent more easily than if they were confined to a single city or metropolitan area.

Big Village, a New York-based advertising and technology company, embraced the remote work model post-pandemic, a move that dramatically expanded its reach for more diverse talent.

“We are pleased to say that we have met or exceeded our departmental recruiting goals for BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] talent and have seen a 50% increase in our candidate pipelines,” says Vashti Chatman, Director of Talent at Big Village.

Stephanie Roseman, vice president of human solutions at Allstate, had a similar experience. She says Allstate has increased application volume 61% since August 2021 “in the face of the toughest hiring market ever” and a 30% increase in the number of diverse applicants over the year. elapsed.

“The work-from-home flexibilities were a huge plus for companies looking for workers during the big resignation,” says Carlos Castelán, managing director of Navio Group. “When Covid sent employees from their offices to their homes, many companies suddenly realized they could access remote talent anywhere.”

Read more: Do you hate your job? Do this before quitting

The downside for employers is that they are now competing with more companies for top talent, so they may need to raise pay or offer more attractive benefits.

“There is competition with companies over compensation and other benefits, and candidates often consider multiple job offers because of this,” says Matt Orfely, director of external recruitment at Delta Hire, whose headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale.

Applying for a remote job? Here’s what to do

Competing for the same job that people across the country are looking for can seem daunting, so it’s more important than ever to find ways to stand out from a sea of ​​qualified candidates.

When Molly Severtson, based in Helena, Montana, applied for a senior strategist position at the Portland-headquartered Stuart Collective in November 2021, she knew she would be competing with candidates from across the country. . It turned out that 75 other people across the United States applied for the same job, many more applications than the company usually received.

“I knew there would be a lot of applicants for the remote positions as they could come from all over the world, but I decided to give it a shot as I had enjoyed working from home so much,” Severtson said.

The interview process included a series of sample virtual assignments and Zoom interviews. And eventually Molly, who lives 600 miles from the office, landed the job.

Heitmann says that with increased competition, showing your personality on your professional website, social media pages or LinkedIn profile is key.

“If you’re applying for a job in an emerging market, like crypto, sharing an article and sharing your thoughts with the conversation can be a great way to get the attention of decision makers at companies you want to work for,” Heitmann advises. .

Job seekers must also do the following:

  • Showcase your skills in advance. Closely align the skills listed on your resume or profile with the job you want so recruiters can find you more easily.
  • Tap into your network. Let your peers and colleagues know that you are looking for a job. It’s easier to get a job if someone from the company you’re applying for can vouch for you.
  • Find out about your potential employer’s remote work policies. Will there be virtual gatherings or occasional in-person meetings? Make sure you understand how often these events will take place and that they align with the values ​​and culture you seek in a remote role.
  • If you see a job you like, jump on it. According to Linkedin data, people who apply within the first 10 minutes of a job posting are four times more likely to receive a response.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of being the first to apply. Being first in line for a job can actually give you an extra edge,” says Heitmann.