Remote work is the new normal for many companies and employees, and more than a few aren’t planning to go back to a traditional office environment. However, if you work in human resources, you may be wondering whether you can enjoy the flexibility of remote work without changing fields. Are there any remote HR jobs out there?
Can you work in HR remotely?
Can you work in HR remotely, though? Isn’t HR a hands-on field where you need to be in the office all the time?
The answer is, yes, you can work in HR remotely, and many HR professionals already do—and will continue to do so.
There are three key factors that have led to the increase in HR jobs. The pandemic played a role, of course. But that's not all.
- The digitalization of HR. HR is rapidly becoming more digital, and both executives and other employees expect transformation that to continue. It’s also shifting towards partial automation. Although HR professionals most likely won’t be replaced by robots or algorithms anytime soon, there are lots of new tools that have revolutionized HR. These include ATS, video conferencing software, and online skills tests. This shift makes remote work possible for HR roles.
- The rise of remote work. Lockdowns and social distancing rules on a large scale have proven that most office jobs can be done remotely and that employees don’t need constant surveillance to be efficient. In the wake of the pandemic, employees are now demanding more flexibility (and trust). Additionally, many companies began to hire remotely and have begun to appreciate the benefits it offers (e.g., less overhead and a larger talent pool).
- Increased competition for top talent. Candidates with in-demand skills may not be willing to relocate for a job, and with the increased availability of remote HR jobs, they don't have to. So employers who want to be in the mix to hire the best HR professionals on the job market have had to adapt.
Now that we understand why remote recruiting and HR work possible, let’s dive into the practical details of finding remote jobs for different HR roles, from entry level positions, such as HR administrator or HR assistant positions, to senior roles, like HR directors and CHROs.
Where can you find remote HR jobs?
There are plenty of job boards who offer remote HR positions, from standard job boards like Indeed.com to specialized HR platforms, such as SHRM.
First, you need to decide whether you want to work as an employee or as a contractor, and also whether you want to limit your search to a specific country or not. In general, it’s easier to be hired as an employee in the country where you’re a resident, because the legal aspect of hiring is simpler to navigate from the hiring organization’s point of view.
If you want to extend your job search globally, in some instances you might need to declare yourself self-employed and handle your own taxes.
If you opt to look for contractor work, you could have a few clients at the same time, and test out different working environments, types of organizations and even specific responsibilities.
Entry- and mid-level remote HR jobs
Lower- or entry-level remote HR jobs (e.g., HR assistant, HR associate, HR analyst, and HR representative roles) relatively easy to find. You can simply use standard job boards by selecting “Remote” as the location.
Mid-level HR jobs (e.g., HR specialist, HR generalist, HR supervisor, and personnel manager roles) are more competitive, but they're also listed on all of the popular job boards.
Here are a few more places to find entry- and mid-level remote HR jobs:
- LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, you can find anything, from lower-level to senior HR jobs, and companies from many companies are using it. That being said, job seekers are also using LinkedIn extensively, so there's heightened competition for every role.
- Remote.co. Remote.co is a job board that specializes in remote work, where you can find jobs for HR specialists. Entry-level positions are plentiful.
- FlexJobs. FlexJobs is another website by the creators of Remote.co, and it's currently one of the biggest job boards for remote work. Many companies who post ads on FlexJobs are looking for US-based professionals, so keep that in mind when scanning the offers.
- Indeed. Indeed.com is one of the largest job boards with many local websites in different countries. This allows you to search for remote jobs in your area.
- Remotive.io. This job board has a good selection of hand-screened remote HR jobs, with new jobs every day. There, you can find mostly lower and entry-level HR jobs, but they also have some mid-level and senior HR jobs from time to time.
- Glassdoor. Although Glassdoor’s primary function is to give you visibility into companies’ working conditions and environment, it also features a job ad board where you can find remote HR work. The advantage is that you can quickly check the company that interests you and see what its employees have to say about it.
- WeWorkRemotely. WeWorkRemotely is another popular job board for remote work, who doesn’t scrape listings from other job boards: companies post job offers directly on the website. WWR is geared more towards tech positions, but you can still find job offers for HR roles
If you’d like to work as a remote contractor, then you can also search the same job boards, in particular LinkedIn, FlexJobs, Remote.co and WeWorkRemotely. In LinkedIn, for example, you can filter your search to see which companies are looking for contractors, but you can also simply mention it in your cover letter when applying.
Alternatively you can try freelancing websites like:
- Upwork. On Upwork, you list your skills and submit proposals for jobs and projects that interest you. You may also be invited to submit proposals.
- Guru. Guru is another freelancing job board like Upwork. Like Upwork, you'll build a profile and submit proposals to win projects.
- PeoplePerHour. PPH is somewhat more selective when it comes to accepting employers, so you have a better chance of finding good clients.
Specialized and senior-level remoteHR jobs
Senior-level remote HR positions and specialized HR positions can be more difficult to find, but that’s simply because there are less of them. But listings for senior-level HR positions have increased by 22%, according to FlexJobs.
Your best bet for finding senior-level HR jobs (e.g., HR manager or director, chief human resources officer, or vice president of HR roles) is specialized job boards. However, it's also worth taking a look at traditional job boards. The same goes for specialized HR positions (e.g., benefits administrator, staffing manager, safety manager, or development manager roles).
Specialized HR job boards include:
- SHRM’s job board. This is one of the places where you could find senior positions. Although many of them aren’t remote, you can click on the “Location” tab in the results area to see remote jobs.
- HRJobs. HRJobs is another HR-oriented job board for professionals and companies who are looking to hire. Again, the website is not specifically oriented towards people looking to work remotely, but you can search for remote positions.
Among the traditional job boards where you have a higher chance of finding a senior or a specialized remote position, you could keep an eye on:
- LinkedIn. Senior-level HR jobs get listed on LinkedIn frequently, so keep an eye for them. You can filter by seniority level to zero in on relevant openings.
- FlexJobs. Given that FlexJobs is one of the biggest job boards for remote work, your odds of finding a position that suits you are higher here than on other sites (although most of them will be US-based).
- Indeed. Indeed is one of the largest job boards with many local websites in different countries, and you can definitely find senior or specialized positions on it.
- Glassdoor. On Glassdoor, you can often find remote HR positions for senior professionals.
How to apply for remote HR jobs
Once you’ve selected a few job postings you’d like to apply to, what do you need to do? You're probably pretty familiar with this process, but let’s go through it and see what you can do to stand out.
1. Prepare a killer resume
It’s not easy to write your resume, even if you've seen thousands in your career. So, how can you build a rockstar-caliber resume that knocks everyone's socks off? We’ve covered the basics of writing a great HR resume in detail in our article on HR resumes, but here are two tips specific to getting a remote HR job:
- Showcase your remote skills. Call out any achievements that demonstrate your remote work skills. Employers will want to see that you are independent, collaborative, self-motivated, organized, good at managing your time, and have strong writing skills.
- Create a remote work section. In addition to highlighting your remote work skills, you may want to create a separate section for your remote work experience.
2. Write a personalized cover letter
That goes without saying, but many applicants are simply changing the name of the receiver (if that). But you work in HR. You wouldn't do that!
So, as usual, adapt your cover letter to the specific position you’re applying for, by outlining the specific skills you have that match the company’s requirements.
The only difference between a cover letter for a remote HR job and one in an office is that you'll need to mention the skills and work experience that make you particularly well-equipped for a virtual role.
3. Showcase the tools and technologies you’re proficient with
Remote work is all about having the right organizational skills and mindset, but being a proficient user of software applications and tools that facilitate remote work will make your resume stand out—tools like SAP SuccessFactors, Workforce Now, Bamboo HR, Oracle Cloud HCM, and Greenhouse.
You can also mention apps that facilitate remote work in general, or remote project and team management in particular. These include Slack, Google Drive and Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Jira, Asana, Airtable, Basecamp, Monday.com and more.
What are the skills you need to apply for remote HR jobs?
In this section, we’ll look at the remote work skills that’ll help you stand out if you’re looking for a virtual HR job.
To work remotely, you need to be a self-starter. You’ll often need to juggle between lots of different tasks, prioritize between them and manage your time successfully.
How to prove that: In your resume, outline previous experience where you needed to be independent and work on your own, and how you handled it. Having experience as a remote worker is also a huge plus.
Excellent written communication skills
Since so remote workers rely more on emails, Slack, and other text-based communication channels, written communication is a must-have skill for remote HR jobs.
How to prove that: Show it! Prepare a resume that stands out, along with a well-written cover letter, and follow up on your application.
Intercultural communication skills
Remote teams are often distributed globally, which means that you might be working with teammates from several countries and cultures. Therefore, you need to prove you can effortlessly communicate with people from all over the world.
How to prove that: Highlight international experiences in your resume and discuss them during the interview. These can be internships abroad or student exchange programs and work with big multicultural companies or diverse teams.
Being tech-savvy and adapting to new technologies easily
Since remote work relies heavily on technology, being comfortable working with computers and different software is essential. It's not so much about the specific tools you’ve used but rather about the ease with which you learn to use a new application or technology and your willingness to learn.
How to prove that: On top of listing and discussing specific tools you’re currently using, show that you understand the principles behind the new applications for remote work. Take some time to understand the basics of cloud technology, software integrations, collaborative practices, and processes to be well-prepared for the interview.
In a world where everything is changing fast, adaptability is everything, and companies know that. When working remotely, sometimes you’ll have to figure out workarounds and alternative solutions to problems, and these won’t always be laid out in workflows and procedures.
How to prove that: Discuss a time where you adapted to a rapid change, or how you supported your previous company’s growth or expansion to a new location.
Remote HR jobs are out there
Remote work is no longer the exception. Many companies have switched to remote work or flexible work-from-home arrangements. This means that the demand for remote HR professionals will only grow in the next few years. On the other hand, competition will be global, too. As a result, keeping your skills up-to-date is more important than ever, as well as marketing yourself well with your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter.