Professional Development for Virtual Workers

Professional development is very important in an industry, including for virtual workers, also referred to as remote workers.

Professional development is commonly associated with earning a promotion, but it can also refer to getting a job as well. In most situations, remote workers have a harder time with professional development. In a traditional workplace, employees have the chance to directly speak face to face with their boss. Even if an employee is not actively seeking a promotion, he or she is still actively being observed by his or her employer.

Having the option for face to face interaction makes professional development much easier. Employees will be at the forefront of their employer’s mind when their employer is directly observing their work every day. It is much easier for employees to schedule a meeting and judge the mind of their employers when they share a workplace. Even asking for work contacts is much easier compared to a remote worker. While there may be a few additional challenges, there are still opportunities for remote workers to develop professional contacts and advance in their field. In fact, remote workers even have a few advantages traditional employees lack.

Creating Your Professional Website as a Remote Worker

One of the most common tips for remote workers who are trying to advertise their brand is to create a website. Creating a website is especially important if you are a remote worker who specializes in tech-related jobs. However, even if you are not a tech developer, there are still plenty of benefits of having your own website. A professional website is a perfect opportunity to advertise your abilities to potential employers.

For many remote workers, a professional website effectively acts as an online resume. In fact, a professional website will often include a copy of your resume. You do not simply want your resume to be the focus of the website. Having your own professional website is a chance to show off your creativity in ways you normally cannot do with a traditional resume. Your professional website should include information on previous projects you have worked on. Whenever possible, post direct examples of these projects. If you do video editing, and have permission from previous employers, include the videos as part of your portfolio.

When you do include your resume on a website, you should do more than just attach your resume as a PDF. Create an actual page for each section of your resume. It may take longer to create, but if you have actual webpages for your resume, you will show up in search results. This is very helpful if a past employer recommends you to someone else but does not have your contact information on hand. Spreading your resume across multiple pages also gives you more space to work. Hiring managers will appreciate everything being organized, since it allows them to jump to the specific areas they are interested in viewing. Unlike a traditional resume, you have a lot more freedom in which content you include when you are making your own website, allowing you to show off more of your accomplishments.

How to Secure Job References as a Remote Worker

Acquiring job references can sometimes be challenging for remote workers. If you are a remote worker who is on salary or has been employed by the same employer for several years, you do not have as much to worry about. However, many remote workers start off doing freelance work. Many of these jobs are temporary gigs, which may only last for a few days to complete a single project. These remote workers are not always comfortable listing clients they only worked with for such a short period of time. In addition, most remote workers do not even have a complete list of information to list on the reference sheet, since these exchanges almost always take place solely through email. In some situations, you may be able to look up contact information to provide a direct listing, but there is always the chance your previous employer does not remember you well enough to act as a reference.

One of the simplest solutions is to list the reference on your resume to the best of your ability, such as listing the organization name and the city or state it is located, and then labeling this reference as remote work. If you do not even have a city or state to list, simply list it was a remote job where you would normally include the physical location. Depending on your past work experience, it may be easier to separate your remote job listings from the jobs where you physically worked.

A roundabout way to get job references is to ask your clients or employers if you are allowed to include the work you do for them in your portfolio. If your content is visible online, you can directly link your past work to the hiring manager with whom you are applying. Most hiring managers will trust you not to lie about your previous work, but if they have doubts they can reach out to whoever is hosting your content. Even if the client does not specifically remember your name, he or she can confirm a remote worker was responsible for the project. Not only does this work as a reference, but it is a chance to show off your work to a hiring manager as well.

How to Get Promoted or Move Ahead as a Remote Worker

Moving up in the work ranks is challenging for remote workers. One of the reasons is many remote workers are in temporary positions, so there is no possible chance to receive a promotion. If the company has in-house employees as well as remote employees, it is even more challenging to stand out. Visibility is very important in earning a promotion. While you may not physically be visible, communicating constantly with your boss and employees is a good way to build a presence among your employer.

If possible, try to develop a mentor relationship with either your employer or someone with a higher position than your own. If you continue to work with your mentor, he or she is more likely to recommend you for a promotion. A subtler way to indicate you want a promotion is to ask your employer for more responsibility. If at all possible, mention your other skills to indicate you can handle the additional responsibility. If your employer knows what you are capable of, and you are willing to take on more work, he or she may realize there is a higher ranked position which is a perfect fit for you.

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