tools to use to excel in a remote job

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Working from home has been growing in popularity – whether it’s owning your own business, freelancing, or contracting for a larger company, there are many ways you can start working from home. No more commute, no freezing office, and no annoying cubicle neighbors – sounds awesome, right? While it is really great, it’s not always as easy as it sounds, and these kinds of jobs are competitive. Today I’m sharing some of the most popularly used tools at a lot of virtual companies! The exact programs and apps you might use in yours can differ based on your company and position, but this is a good start on tools to start using that you could see in your position.

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Slack: There are a few team communication tools out there, but Slack is by far the most popular. It’s super comprehensive – not only is it built for instant messaging, they also recently introduced a built-in voice call integration, and you can even upload and share files. Lots of other programs have apps that can be installed (even Giphy!) so you can do things like search for travel with Hipmunk, get calendar reminders, and even use Stop. Breathe. Think. to meditate. This is probably one of the most important tools to have on your resume – and it’s super simple to use. Though Slack isn’t a remote company, they do have a job search site for companies that use Slack, and you can search for remote opportunities with Slack At Work!

Basecamp/Asana: Project management software can make your work life so much easier. Basecamp and Asana both make communication among teams easier with different project “boards” for various products, allowing you to set to-dos, timelines, and even more. I’ve used both Asana and Basecamp, and I prefer Basecamp more. (They’re also a virtual company, so watch for opportunities with them once you’ve gotten comfortable!) They also have free classes every week to help you learn and use Basecamp super effectively.  You can use my referral link as well to save on your Basecamp account.

If you want to learn these programs better or try out classes in hundreds of other subjects, join me on Udemy!

Trello: Sort of like a virtual whiteboard, Trello is another way to organize your projects. I first used Trello at work and loved it so much that I wrote a post on how I use it to manage my blog, travel blog, and even to help plan our move. Another virtual company, be sure to check their jobs page for a potential fit!

Todoist: An app that’s exactly what it sounds like, ToDoist is a to-do list app that you can use to schedule your tasks. You can share them with other people as well. (They’re another remote company – check out what they’re hiring for now.)

HTML: Depending on your position, you don’t have to be a coding pro. But learning a bit of HTML can make you more employable, and it also helps out in building your own website (even if you use a super simple website builder, a little HTML can help you customize your site for a more unique look!) General Assembly has a really great free course that’s easy to use and would be a great intro, even for newbies!

Photoshop/Design Software: Much like HTML, it might not be a tool you need in everyday life, but it certainly makes you more employable, and it’s a good skill to have. You can check out a free course on using Photoshop from Adobe, or if you don’t want to go that big, give Pixlr a try. It’s an online photo editor very similar to Photoshop. If you’re just making social graphics, check out Canva – it’s very easy to use, and many bloggers love it for their featured images.

Google Drive: Google Drive is the best. It’s so well built that I almost never use desktop word processors or spreadsheet tools (like Word, Pages, Excel or Numbers) anymore. Upload your files to back them up, or write new documents using their tools. You can also share files and folders with different permissions, which is useful when collaborating or presenting.

Github: If you’re going into a development or web design position, you’ll use Github every day. Depending on the type of support or QA position you’re in, it can be beneficial to get familiar with the setup so you can check in to see the status of projects and upcoming changes. There’s also a wiki element that many companies are starting to use for internal support documents. Github is also a remote company, so check their jobs page for openings.

Evernote: This is a relatively new-to-me app – I had used it very briefly in college, but have been using it recently to organize my blogging. Evernote allows you to create an overall “notebook” and tag specific “pages” in that notebook so you can easily view related project notes. This would be really beneficial for note-taking, especially when starting the training process or organizing projects and reports. Evernote has a web application as well as a desktop client and mobile app for easy syncing. I wish I had been using this when I started my job – I often still refer back to my original training notes, but they’re such a mess it’s hard to navigate. This would make it so much easier to flip through notes.

Email Marketing Programs: If you’re going into any type of marketing position, even social media, it’s really helpful to learn how email marketing works. ConvertKit is really gaining in popularity, and MailChimp has been around for awhile and is super easy to use. ConvertKit offers a lot of free training sessions that make it easy to learn, and they’re also a distributed company – check out their openings!

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