Fastest growing remote jobs for 2021

Many workers have no plans to return to an office full-time in 2021, and these are the top jobs for remote workers in the new year.
Feature Top Remote Jobs Panel

It’s little surprise that millions of Americans are still working remotely nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. For as many professionals who crave daily in-person interaction with their colleagues, there are plenty of others for whom remote work just works.

For perspective, in April 2020, at the height of restrictions on businesses and schools, Gallup polling showed 51% of American workers logging into their jobs remotely. By mid-September, that number was down to 33%. The downward trend is expected to continue into 2021, but only to a point.

According to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report” released in mid-December, one in four Americans will continue working remotely in 2021. However, that 25% mark appears to be the sweet spot, as by 2025, 36.2 million Americans are expected to be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels, the study revealed.

A new report from FlexJobs, an online job service for professionals seeking flexible work, shows more than half of companies have hired new staff remotely during the pandemic. U.S. Census data also found that in major metro areas such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Seattle, more than half of the labor force is working from home, a trend that may not be replicated in rural Wisconsin but is much more obvious in Madison and Milwaukee.

That said, remote work is growing more quickly in some fields than in others. FlexJobs analyzed more than 50 career categories in its database, comparing the number of remote jobs posted in March 2020 vs. December 2020. FlexJobs did this to determine which 10 career categories offering remote jobs have grown at a high rate — more than 25% — since the pandemic started, indicating they will be promising fields for remote job seekers in 2021.

“While a number of factors contribute to remote job growth, including the influence of the pandemic, all of these fields are naturally highly compatible with remote work,” says Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “But because of the unprecedented focus on remote work, we’ve seen a big increase in people looking for jobs that let them work from home, as well as more companies than ever allowing remote work and hiring for remote positions across a variety of fields.”

Per FlexJobs’ criteria, a “remote job” is defined as a professional-level job that allows the worker to work from home either entirely or part of the time. Remote jobs are also known as telecommuting jobs, virtual jobs, and work-from-home jobs.

The following 10 jobs are in order from highest to lowest growth, with each category having grown more than 25% from March 2020 to December 2020.

  1. Marketing;
  2. Administrative;
  3. HR and recruiting;
  4. Accounting and financing;
  5. Graphic design;
  6. Customer service;
  7. Writing;
  8. Mortgage and real estate;
  9. Internet and e-commerce; and
  10. Project management.

In order to secure a remote job, FlexJobs recommends job seekers frame their application materials like resumes and cover letters very specifically when applying to a remote job vs. non-remote jobs.

Betsy Andrews, a career coach at FlexJobs, notes, “While remote-friendly employers will consider an applicant that has never worked remotely before, it’s always a good idea for an applicant that has remote experience to highlight this in their resume as it may ‘give them a leg up.’ Reflecting this experience catches an employer’s attention because it shows that an applicant possesses self-initiative as well as the communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and time and task management that is paramount within a remote environment.”

Specifically, on your resume and in cover letters, highlight any previous experience you have working remotely. If you’ve worked at a distance from your co-workers, across time zones or physical distances, that counts. If you’ve worked from home occasionally or regularly, that counts. If you earned a degree or certification online, that counts. If you volunteered on a project where you did most of the work from your home office, that counts. Remote work skills and experience can come in many forms and they should be mentioned on your resume if you want to land a remote job.

Three ways to highlight your remote work experience and talents on your resume:

  1. State it clearly. List “Remote Work” next to your job title. For example, Director of Marketing (100% Remote Work).
  2. Include it in the descriptions of your past jobs. For example, “Led a team of five customer service reps in a completely remote work environment, and successfully earned an average team satisfaction rating of 94%.”
  3. Build it into your skills section. For example, make sure you talk about the types of skills it takes to be a successful remote worker — time and task management, communication, self-management, the ability to work independently, and comfort with technology are some of the top skills employers like to see when hiring for remote jobs.

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