Answers to remote work questions

Questions asked during webinar on remote work for librarians

Raise hands for questions
Raise hands for questions

The LibGig recruiting team and everyone at LAC Group was excited about the turnout for our November 13 webinar on the pros and cons of working remotely, focused on library and other knowledge and information management jobs.

Over 100 people participated live and an additional 300 people registered to watch the recording on-demand, confirming the high level of interest we’re seeing among job candidates. Because we were unable to address all the questions live, we have compiled and answered them here. If you have further questions, please use the Contact Us form and we’ll make sure they get forwarded to the recruiting team.

How to find remote work openings

  • How do you find remote work? – Sara F.
  • What are some good places to find those opportunities, besides LibGig? – Monica H.
  • How do you advise going about finding these remote jobs? Any specific sites? – Moy M.

Several sources are available to help you find jobs online. Doing a quick Google search will turn up several sites where they offer remote work. Even big job boards like Indeed offer the option of searching remote jobs. Many positions will not be listed as simply remote unless they are fully remote. Most companies will let you work a day or 2 a week remotely and this is usually listed somewhere in the position description or will come up in an interview (which is obviously not searchable). You can try searching with other terms such as “flexible” or looking at positions that offer you the opportunity of multiple locations, as many of these they will consider a remote worker.  

A lot of remote positions are contract or part-time and there are specific “gig” websites that post these types of positions including Upwork as well as Indeed, Careerbuilder, FlexJobs and LinkedIn.

You can also post your resume and profile online and let companies know that you are looking for remote positions so that hiring managers and recruiters are aware of your preferences.

How to work remotely in current onsite job

  • How can you make a business case to move your position from an office position to a remote position? (I’m moving, but love my job) – Jaqueline W.
  • I was thinking of setting up a trial time, what would be a good length of time to trial? – Jaqueline W.

In our experience, most employers will be open to trying out a position remotely (if possible) if you are a good employee. The costs of finding and training someone new usually are greater than simply having someone working remotely. It really depends on your relationship with your manager in regards to how to discuss working remotely as an option.  It tends to help to have a really great reason for wanting to work remotely (like a move) as opposed to just wanting to do it for better balance. Depending on your work environment, the business case for companies is that they can save money one office space, parking and other expenses not needed for a remote worker.

As far as a trial, I would say a 30-90 day window would suffice. Within 30 days both parties should know if it will work out, but by 90 days both parties should be fully integrated and familiar with the new work arrangement.

How to stand out and get noticed as a remote work candidate

  • In a sea of hundreds of applications for a remote researcher position, how does an applicant get noticed? – Sarah B.
  • How can you stand out from the crowd? – Tanya S.

The best way to stand out and get noticed for remote work is the same as on-site work: skills.  Your resume must put your best foot forward and speak directly to the qualifications and responsibilities the position requires, regardless where it is working from. Your skills will set you apart and get you the interview and then the interview will be where the employer will cover questions and assess if you would be a good employee for remote work.   

It’s also important to communicate with the corporate recruiter handling the position. There are a number of resumes that come in, but submitting your application and contacting the recruiter through e-mail or LinkedIn and setting up a call is a great way to get yourself noticed.

Finally, it’s important to note that working remotely requires a good deal of self-discipline and motivation.  If you have previous experience with remote or virtual work, you can indicate that in an executive summary at the top of the resume.  This tells a prospective employer that you have demonstrated success working in a virtual environment.

Remote work skills questions

  • Is there advice for recent grads for skills needed to become a competitive hire? – Jackie C.
  • What LIS skill areas are growing in remote work opportunities? – Jackie C.
  • If I don’t have remote working experience, what are the best skills and experience to highlight when applying for a remote job? – Ali R.
  • What if there are jobs you are interested in, you aren’t completely qualified, but it’s something you want to learn? – Tanya S.

As far as recent grads go it’s important to have a resume that shows not only your skillset but your focus. If you’re looking for a position that involves media archiving, highlight your media archiving practicum and internships and give detailed descriptions of what you did on those projects.

The biggest skills you can have in remote work are the ability to work flexible hours (sometimes evenings or weekends), strong communication (especially over video chat and phone) and an aptitude for getting tasks accomplished quickly and accurately. You can always apply for positions that you are interested in even if you don’t think you meet the qualifications. Sometimes there is additional information that is not in the job description or a hiring manager is looking for someone they can mold, and you may have the skills they’re looking for (even if you don’t have the experience). Often times you apply for one role and may get contacted about another role in the future.

Adding remote work experience to resume or cover letter

  • I work from home one day a week now, but I can’t put it in my online resume.  In previous positions I have worked from home multiple days a week. My question is really how to make this more obvious in my resume? – Kristina A.
  • I’ve been working remotely for almost 3 years in my current position for an offshore client; by specifying this in a resume, does it work as a remark on my communication, organizational, self-management skills? – Julio V.
  • What should I include my cover letter or resume if I have no previous remote experience? – Marrette P.

Usually it’s easiest to just add on the position title line something about the position being virtual or remote. Most hiring managers won’t hold your remote status against you in considering you, though if you’ve only worked remotely and then you’re moving into an office setting, they might want to discuss this with you to make sure you’re comfortable with it. In your cover letter or resume objective, you can specify that you are looking for a remote position. You don’t have to note that you have not worked remotely before, but that’s something you can discuss in an interview.

Man on laptop at airport

Library careers outside the United States

  • I am a Library Technician, in Ontario, Canada and am hoping you can also address careers in Canada. – Sara F.
  • Do you hire remote workers based in other countries? Do you have any locations in Canada? – Aarash K.

While LAC Group has no offices or recruiting focus in Canada, we may on occasion get a client request for openings and opportunities there. We do have employees working on projects and long-term client engagements around the world, with a focus in the UK. We encourage you to use the job search function on the LibGIg job board to see if we have any current openings in a location near you.

Time zones and other “work day” considerations when working remotely

  • Given that there are hard deadlines for work completion, how does time zone impact hiring chances? – Charissa F.
  • Are remote workers often expected to be online completing work during specific hours (ex. 9-5 PST), or more open to complete work on their own time frame? – Charissa F.

Some remote positions have specific schedules that must be adhered to and they aren’t always “typical” office hours. For instance, you may be asked to work a second or third shift starting in the afternoon and ending in the late evening. This is partially due to time zones, but also business needs. Companies on the west coast may want remote workers on the east coast for more coverage in the morning, while east coast companies may want remote workers on the west coast for more hours in the evening.

As for specific hours, it depends on the employer and the project deadlines. In our experience, most remote workers are hired to cover work in a specific time zone and are expected to be available and online during their shift.

Remote work tools, communication and supervision

  • What tools do you advise employers use to help bridge the communications gap? Sure there’s Slack, Skype, Trello, but any that you know are especially helpful or popular? – John F.
  • I’m wondering how your organization decides what type of communication needs to be synchronous (meetings) and what happens via email – or does this vary quite a bit depending on project/context? – Marjorie L.

Regarding collaboration and communication tools, our policy is to utilize the systems and standards of the client employer, giving them advice only if requested or we believe there’s a better solution. It’s another advantage for candidates to have working knowledge of popular systems like Slack, Skype and Trello, and many of them offer free trials or free subscription options.

As for determining when and how to communicate among the various options available—email, phone, online chat or meeting, project management tools, etc.—it is situational depending on context. We use the best method for the specific communication need.

Working on laptop

Remote work tools, compensation and other considerations

  • Do remote workers provide their own technology/computers, or are those provided by the employer? – Kristine J.
  • Any idea how many companies monitor your activity? Should I be concerned that my employer monitors my activity? – John F.
  • Should I expect to get paid the same if I’m not going into the office? What types of things would the employer pay for? – Tanya S.

Depending on the type of your work you do and the company, most will provide you with a company laptop and other necessary equipment to complete your work. These are monitored the same way the company would monitor activity on their office computers. You should try not use your work computer for personal use or vice versa. Some virtual positions pay less than office positions due to decreased office/management responsibilities but others are equal. Some employers–mainly larger companies–may offer to cover your internet and phone charges while others do not offer any reimbursement.

About LibGig and LAC Group

  • What is an example of a client you serve? – Clare J.
  • What are examples of reference work do you provide to clients? – Alison W.

Our clients cross all major industry groups—government, medium-large law firms, medium-large corporations in sectors from finance to manufacturing, media/entertainment and universities. While the LibGig job board often includes public library job listings, most of our work is in special library settings.

The research and reference work we do is equally varied—legal research for case law and client matters, competitive and business intelligence, financial research, copyright and other IP research, individual people and social media research, scientific research.

Learn more about the industries and clients we serve and all our services.

About specific kinds of work

  • How can I find more contract cataloging jobs (remote) that focus on foreign-language cataloging skills?  For example, I am an experienced remote contract cataloger of Middle Eastern language books. – Carol J.
  • I would like to inquire about how to gain more experience cataloging to become more viable as a candidate for remote opportunities.Tanesha A.

LAC Group posts contract cataloger positions in a variety of foreign languages as they come up. Using a website like Upwork to advertise your skillset is also a possibility. Look for opportunities that allow you to do cataloging or receive training from catalogers or look into taking cataloging classes at a library college program.

  • I worked for AT&T from home 23 years ago in a research position. I had a very successful experience working from PA and VT for an office in NJ. Do you have part time work for retirees with lots of experience? – Mike L.

We often have part-time and project work opportunities that are perfect for retirees with relevant experience. We invite you to search our listings and create a profile on our job board, using the search criteria to see if any current openings meet your needs.

In the meantime, here’s a story of one of our employees who retired from a federal library position but is back working as an LAC Group employee under more flexible arrangements that suit her needs. Her story may be similar to what you’re looking for.

The future of remote work

While not all employers have remote work policies or support working remotely, more of them are seeing the benefits. And while interest is high among many job candidates, not everyone has a preference for virtual work and not everyone is cut out for it. Yet the library, knowledge management and information services arena has many work needs that can be done from anywhere, as long as you have a secure and reliable internet connection.

Meanwhile, if you missed the remote work webinar, you may watch the recorded version at your convenience. We also invite you to join our Career Connection list to stay informed on future events and gain access to other valuable career resources and information.

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers is the Director of Recruiting and is responsible for running LibGig operations and web services and managing recruitment for LibGig and all LAC Group’s divisions.
Brad Rogers
Brad Rogers

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