Resume Tips for Telecommuters
By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Going to work used to exclusively mean commuting, office buildings and face-to-face interactions with coworkers. But that’s all changing with the increasing number of Americans who telecommute, according to Jack Nilles, author of Managing Telework: Strategies for Managing the Virtual Workforce and president of JALA International, a group of consultants that helps employers work with teleworkers. “My forecast for this year-end shows an increase of about 8 percent to 32 million,” says Nilles, a pioneer in the field who coined the terms telecommuter and teleworker in the ’70s.

Robert Smith, director of nonprofit ITAC: The Telework Advisory Group for WorldatWork, breaks down the terms: “Working from home is commonly referred to as telecommuting. Working from anywhere is referred to as teleworking and includes working from home as well as at a hotel, coffee shop, airport or even in a car…literally anywhere.”

So if you’re ready to jump on the teleworking bandwagon, make sure your resume proves you’re a strong candidate by following these experts’ advice.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

“Businesses are not usually looking for telecommuters but, rather, are looking for people with expertise in marketing, sales, law, operations, customer service, etc.,” Smith says. “This expertise needs to be demonstrated first and foremost, and then if the position being offered requires working out of the main office, they will be looking for people who are self-motivated, independent, responsible and comfortable using personal communications and computer technologies.”

Barbara Aiken, VP of the office of people and culture for HomeBanc Mortgage, agrees. “When screening resumes, we look to see if the person has the skills and experience for the job.” Aiken says. “It doesn’t matter that the employee will be telecommuting in the job — we look for people who will excel in their field and fit in with the corporate culture.”

With 37 percent of its workforce telecommuting regularly, HomeBanc Mortgage made Fortune’s 2006 list of highest-ranked companies for telecommuting benefits.

Stress the Benefits of Telework

Nilles recommends not only highlighting your top job qualifications but also how the employer would benefit from you teleworking. “Emphasize the primary requirements — the desired work skills and expertise — plus the additional feature that the telecommuter will contribute more to the organization’s bottom line (because of higher effectiveness and lowered demand for costly office space) than someone who would work only in the traditional mode,” he suggests.

This cost/benefit analysis may also be incorporated in a telework proposal, submitted after you have already proven yourself in the main office.

Emphasize Telework Experience

Smith suggests job seekers with previous telework experience mention it on their resumes, such as in the qualifications summary. “Say something like, ‘Proven success as a virtual worker for XYZ Company managing a remote team of 20 people across 12 states,'” he says. “In the interest of keeping a resume short, note that the job seeker is accustomed to working alone and has the facilities — and privacy — at home to continue doing so.”

While many employers offering telework benefits supply the necessary equipment, it doesn’t hurt to mention the technologies you have available as well as any home office setup. This can include access to a high-speed Internet connection, equipment, mobile technologies, specific computer program knowledge and fax capabilities.

Your office setup and computer skills can be added to a qualifications summary, skills section or the Additional Information section of your Monster resume.

Show Character and Leadership

Smith suggests those looking for telework demonstrate traits such as time management, ability to work independently, productivity, responsiveness, innovation and creativity. A resume rich with accomplishments will help prove your dedication as well as motivation to achieve organizational goals.

Aiken also urges workers to include volunteerism on the resume. “Include your community involvement and board experience; volunteer work is important to us and shows leadership and strength of character,” she says.

Keep in mind that you may not start your position as a teleworker. WorldatWork spokeswoman Marcia Rhodes says successful teleworkers may first need to earn the employer’s trust. “At WorldatWork, our customer service advisors have the ability to telework, but they spend the first few months in the office, building trust and rapport with teammates and becoming familiar with office processes and procedures,” she explains. “This way, they can telework with confidence.”

This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.

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