Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Remote work is now more common than ever — a simple convenience born of a very inconvenient pandemic. While there are many more remote work opportunities than ever before, there’s much more competition for these jobs.
Experience is important in an office or online. It proves you can do the work, and it helps you stand out from the crowd. But not all work-from-home jobs require a lot of experience.
For these remote jobs, skills and willingness to learn tend to matter more than years of service.
1. Customer Service Representative
It’s not hard to tell if someone has good people skills and is an effective communicator. Employers looking for customer service representatives can tell if you have these skills through interviews and tests.
Any experience you lack can be made up for with on-the-job training. These jobs often provide you with a script and digital resources to help you answer any relevant question that customers throw at you during your phone call, video call or chat session.
All sorts of companies need brand ambassadors to assist customers in using and understanding products and services. So you can find a job as a customer service representative almost anywhere.
Related Roles: Concierge, member services specialist, technical support agent
Are you an effective written communicator? Do you have a firm grasp of grammar? If so, you can find writing jobs in almost any industry. Many entry-level jobs will happily hire you, even if you’re fresh out of school and have no professional writing experience.
While more advanced writing jobs will require experience and a college degree, many entry-level jobs and freelance opportunities only require you to complete writing tests and provide samples of things you’ve written before.
Related Roles: Content writer, reporter, proofreader, service writer
3. Data-Entry Clerk
If you have a high school diploma and can ace a typing test, you’re well positioned to get a shot at a data-entry job.
The role of the data entry clerk or specialist is just as straightforward as the title suggests. In this entry-level role, you may also be asked to review, retrieve, reformat or reorganize records.
While many data-entry-clerk roles require little or no prior experience, you’ll need an eye for detail in addition to quick fingers. So along with a typing test, you may also be asked to do proofreading exercises and other tests that prove your attention to detail.
Related Roles: Report writer, service writer, proofreader
4. Graphic Designer
If you’ve got an amazing portfolio of graphic design work, many employers offering entry-level roles in design work will simply want you to talk them through how you created some of your best pieces.
What tools, filters and techniques did you use? How long did it take you? What informed your design choices?
If they like your answers, you’ll probably be tested with a few design assignments to prove you can create quality art under deadline.
Related Roles: UX designer, web designer, illustrator
5. Software Engineer
This role requires the ability to code and manipulate software programs, usually in more than one programming language. So you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your understanding of the languages a prospective employer uses, whether that’s Java and C++ or HTML and CSS.
While you probably won’t walk into a job at Google or some other tech titan without an epic resume, many smaller companies and startups will just want to see your certifications and other evidence of your skills as a software engineer.
Related Roles: Web designer, data engineer, IT specialist
6. Online Community Manager
Can you tell when someone is pushing the envelope, flaunting the rules or seemingly oblivious to online community guidelines? Can you communicate the rules without escalating the situation?
Even with the rise of virtual assistants moderating online interaction, most communities still need a human touch. Community managers need perception, patience, people skills and the ability to grasp abstract ideas more than they need experience moderating an online community.
As a community manager, you’ll need to learn everything users can and can’t do in your company’s online community. You’ll need to be able to punish offenders without turning them into active enemies of your company.
You may also be asked to conduct online surveys and review feedback from your community’s interactions with virtual assistants.
Related Roles: Social media moderators, social media managers, forum moderators
7. Insurance Agent
Like other jobs that were once based in call centers, insurance jobs had been moving toward flexibility and online work well before the pandemic made it the more common thing to do.
You’ll need a license to become an insurance agent, but most insurance companies are happy to help you with that if you already have good people skills.
You’ll go through a few weeks of paid training, in many cases, before you’ll finally get to sell insurance products to customers.
Related Roles: Loan officer, banker, broker
Tutoring is one of the most flexible remote jobs around. You’ll get to set your own hours in many cases and work with students far and near.
Many online tutoring companies and platforms offer training classes and digital training tools to facilitate your lessons. Some of them will even match you to students, so you don’t even have to look for work.
While tutoring requires no professional experience, academic experience will go a long way in your success working as a tutor. Companies varied widely in their requirements to work as a tutor for them. Some require just a high school diploma, while others require graduate degrees.
Related Roles: Adjunct, trainer, coach, consultant
9. Outbound Call Agent
Even if you aren’t cold-calling people, you’ll need more advanced people skills as an outbound call agent than you’d need as a customer service representative.
While the two roles are closely related, outbound calling requires you to get strangers to drop their guard and be receptive to what you have to offer. Inbound call agents field calls from people who already want to talk.
Still, you typically don’t need a lot of experience, if any, to work as an outbound call agent. Like customer service reps, you’ll receive training, call scripts and digital resources to help people open up to you.
Outbound call agents can fall into a variety of categories, such as telemarketing, political outreach, customer retention and sales.
Related Roles: Customer service representative, sales associate
Tips for Landing a Remote Job
Here are some tips to help increase your chances of finding an online job with little or no prior experience:
- Review job descriptions to figure out what skills are in demand.
- Any experience is still better than no experience — consider taking online courses to gain experience in a desirable program or skill.
- Cultivate your communication skills. You’ll likely need strong communication skills to work remotely.
- Develop hard skills online.
- Consider jobs with flexible work schedules. These jobs may allow you a certain amount of days to work from home each week.
- Reach out to your connections on professional sites like LinkedIn.
- Consider freelancing for a while to gain experience.
- Consider going to trade school.
- Check out out-of-state jobs. Just because a company is based in a particular area doesn’t mean you have to be, too.