When Remote Work Is “Experience”

The surprising skill on my resume.

Anna Burgess Yang
3 min readFeb 8, 2021


Image created via Midjourney

For the first time in 15 years, I found myself actively looking for a job. My resume needed a definite upgrade (made easier with Canva), I made some tweaks to my LinkedIn prifole, and made sure my portfolio was polished. At that point, it was applying, applying, applying.

I knew that I would only consider jobs that were 100% remote. After all, I have been a remote employee for 15 years. I can’t imagine going into the office during the day when I have become quite comfortable working from home. I hit up sites like WeWorkRemotely, Remote.co, Remote.io, and RemoteWoman regularly, on the hunt for a job that might be the right fit.

As I would peruse the “desired skills” from potential employers, I knew to take the requirements with a grain of salt. Some employers were clearly looking for a unicorn. Others had required hard skills that I did not possess (I applied anyway, and here’s why). But I noticed one skill that came up repeatedly from some employers, one that I had never considered to be a “skill.”

Prior remote experience preferred.

Some companies were clearly new to remote work as a result of the pandemic, while others noted that once the pandemic was over, they expected the employees to return to the office. But others — companies that clearly had always been remote or been remote for a long time — were aware that candidates with experience working remotely have a “leg-up” over others.

I have hired and onboarded remote employees myself. Most came from a background of never having worked remotely before. It was challenging. It took extra effort to build rapport. Remote employees have to be self-motivated, sometimes in a way that they don’t even realize when they accept the job.

They think that working from home sounds amazing and like a dream job, without actually understanding what it takes. It is about balance between the needs of your job and the needs of the employer — and figuring out how and when to attend to both.

I’ve worked with newly-remote employees that ran the gamut. Some would tell me that they needed to “step away from their computer” to run and pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Others seemed to disappear, and no…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. • https://start.annabyang.com/