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tips + resources for remote job hunting

So, you want to work from home.

I can’t blame you! I love being able to wake up ten minutes before I have to work, roll out of bed, let my dog out, grab breakfast, sit at my desk, and open my computer to begin working — all in my pajamas. No commuting is required (saving money on gas!), which is especially wonderful if you are unfortunate enough to live in an area that’s plagued by snowstorms.

It’s a truly magical thing to be able to go to the bathroom and eat a snack whenever I want, while listening to music or a podcast all day while on the job. And last but not least, I can cuddle with my dog throughout the day — she loves to sit on my lap whenever I have a 1-on-1 with my manager. (She likes to feel important!)

A problem with work at home jobs is that almost everyone wants to do it. More and more companies are starting to hire remotely — after all, if you can have your pick of talent from anywhere across the country and even the world — why wouldn’t you?

Of course, this means that you’re competing with hundreds or thousands of applicants instead of just your local pool of candidates or maybe people who are willing to move. It’s a difficult journey to find the right job with the right company culture for you — and to land an interview is also a difficult feat in itself. Even a rejection email is acknowledgment compared to no response at all. Trust me, after applying for well over fifty jobs over eight long months, I get it. It’s defeating and far too easy to lose hope.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to keep at it! Even if you don’t think you’re 100% qualified, why not apply? The worst that can happen is you get a no and you’re back in the same place you were before. You simply never know! Rejection does not mean failure. Make it your mission to get over hearing (or reading) “no.” It’ll be one of the greatest things you ever do for yourself.

Now that the best advice is out of the way, here are some other tips (in no particular order):

Have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile

With the not-so-recent news about Facebook, it seems a lot of potential employers aren’t checking this particular social media platform as much now. This isn’t a guarantee that they won’t see you complaining about your sister-in-law causing family drama, but one thing I’ve seen consistently asked for on applications is a LinkedIn profile. This is another way to see your experience and more of you that’s different from your resume, such as awards, courses you studied, volunteer work, and more!

Networking is very easy to do by connecting with other people — hey, maybe that kid you went to college with for two months turned out to be the next CEO of a hot new startup! You never know and it’s can be like seeing a yearbook in the motion of people’s accomplishments.

Networking is also an easy way to start a dialogue, especially if you have a connection who’s worked or is working for a company you’re interested in. References can be very valuable. Don’t be afraid to get a conversation going!

Have a cover letter

I had a co-worker who once was the only applicant out of about a hundred people who used a cover letter. Guess who got the job? Spoiler alert: her.

Cover letters can be a pain to craft, but they’re pretty much essential for applying for jobs — especially remote roles. Even if it says optional, take the time to submit a cover letter! It’s a second opportunity to show off your writing skills, introduce yourself in a fun and personal way that matches the company culture, and maybe even throw in something you couldn’t fit in your resume. It’s also a chance to connect with the recruiter/hiring manager (you can even show off the research you’ve done about them on your current and up-to-date LinkedIn profile) and show your personality besides your business autobiography.

Research the company

In this day and age, it’s very easy for scammers and people who want to steal your identity to trick you into getting ahold of your information such as your name, address, Social Security Number, and banking information. If a company you’re interested in applying to seems shady at all, trust your gut and do some research first! Google reviews from a customer standpoint and look the company up on Glassdoor to make sure you’re investing your time wisely.

Glassdoor is a wonderful resource to see general reviews about what it’s like to work at the company — for example, pros, cons, and suggestions current and past employees have for the business moving forward. You can also see what reported interview experiences, the salary range for the job you’re applying for, and what benefits are like; all important information that’s part of the job-hunting process. Businesses also can’t moderate or censor any reviews, so it’s a great way to see the dirty if there is any before you commit. Also, if a company ever wants you to pay them money or buy a starter kit during the application process, that’s a red flag.

Have a dedicated office space

Even though you might be at home, you’re still working when you’re on the clock! As a result, most companies want to make sure that you have a space that you can use specifically for work where you won’t be bothered — especially if you have kids or loud pets when you’re answering calls. You may be handling sensitive information that others should not have access to.

A lot of remote gigs will let you work from anywhere you have Internet and a computer such as your local coffee shop, but you should have a place where you can say “this is my workspace and this is where I’ll be productive.” It’s also important to at least have this in mind while applying — I may have lost out on a job offer myself solely because of not having a space ready and was unable to present one when asked during a video interview.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback

This can be a hard one — not just because it can be difficult to ask for constructive criticism in general, but also because it’s not always easy to obtain feedback from your interviewer. Ideally, it’s good to know why a company might have chosen another candidate over you. Did you lack work from home experience? Did you not have a degree? Was it your resume and/or your cover letter? Were you too awkward during the interview?

You may not get any of the above feedback at all, even if you ask nicely — but if you do, it may make all the difference in the world for you nailing the next application/interview and being passed by again.

Resume advice

This can go for any job, not just remote ones. With resumes, I’ve learned five very valuable lessons:

  1. Keep it to one page.

  2. References and a headshot are not necessary.

  3. Use a template.

  4. Show, not tell.

  5. Have several specialized resumes handy.

Keep it to one page.

When a recruiter and/or hiring manager reviews your resume, there’s a good chance they might be skimming over it. Just think: they may be looking at hundreds of these. As a result, it’s important to keep all of the relevant information condensed and easy to read. They don’t want to be reading an essay — we’ve left those behind in school for a reason!

References and a headshot are not necessary.

This is important! References add to the length of your resume, wasting precious space. If your potential employer wants a reference, they will typically ask in the job application itself or after your interview before a job offer. A picture can also lead to space being unnecessarily taken up and can induce potential bias before even reading your resume — it’s judging a book by its cover at its finest. Disclaimer: not saying recruiters/hiring managers do this.

Use a template.

Just like keeping your resume to one page, this will go a long way! No one wants to read a plain document that lacks color and personality. There are a variety of templates available on Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other platforms that are readily available with a quick search!

It’s easy to insert the relevant information where needed and simply looking up examples can give you an idea of what an appealing resume looks like. They’re already aesthetically pleasing and can stand out amongst the crowd if they’re eye-catching. Alternatively, if your industry is related to graphic design, perhaps creating your own would be a better choice to demonstrate your skills!

Show, not tell.

This is another common mistake that I struggle with. When it comes to elaborating on the details of your work history, it’s imperative that you make this unique — and I don’t mean go on and start throwing out words that people need a dictionary to understand!

Besides the skills needed for your job, this is the best place to brag about your accomplishments and achievements shortly and sweetly. And I mean to brag — this is your time to shine! So you led a project that ended up in streamlining a process for the entire company, saving everyone immeasurable time as an executive assistant? You should mention that. It may seem like no big deal to you, but this is what stands out. It shows what you accomplished in the past and can lead to the imagination of you accomplishing similar tasks/projects at the prospective employer’s company. There are a lot of people out there who can answer phone calls, so why you?

Also, don’t lie on your resume — it’s not worth the risk.

Have several specialized resumes handy.

You might have a resume that’s geared towards sales and customer service — awesome! But what happens if you want to apply for a job related to accounting or programming? If you use the same resume you would to apply for a sales development representative (SDR) position for an accountant position, then you may get passed over without any thought — even if you studied finance in college and you were the top student in your whole class.

You could do what I did and just kept tweaking my resume as needed, but you could also just have several copies on hand that are relevant to the industries that you’re applying for. Obviously, they shouldn’t be completely different and it’s expected to share your educations and some skills, for example — but it’s worthwhile taking the time to do. Don’t forget to tailor to each company to stand out based on your research and the job description!

Job listing websites

During my search for remote jobs last year, I came across some wonderful websites that I trust with real job postings for legitimate businesses. This can be difficult to find and I wanted to share the wealth! They are the following: Pangian WeWorkRemotely WorkingNomads Remotive Freemoter Indeed LinkedIn AngelList Glassdoor

I’ve had much more success using these websites than simply searching “work at home jobs” on Google that often lead me straight into an abyss of companies that were both shady or not worth the time. The first six websites are dedicated to remote work specifically and have been extremely helpful, as they have the option to sort by industry. You may come across several duplicates by searching in this regard, as companies post on multiple job boards. For Indeed, LinkedIn, and AngelList, you do have to specify that you’re looking for a remote job. For Glassdoor, you can also do this.

In the past, I’ve also noted companies I’ve come across that have work from home positions when they didn’t have a position open I wanted to apply for or if I was rejected — it never hurts to look again in the future.

With that being said, here is my personal list that I’ve compiled of companies that post remote jobs (all career pages linked for you):

Acuity Scheduling American Express Apple Aira Articulate Automattic Basecamp Blend Buffer Chatfuel Coalition Technologies Coffee Meets Bagel Dataquest Esanjo Forward GetFeedback GitHub Glint Harvest Help Scout Hipcamp HiringThing HubSpot Insignia SEO Jack Henry and Associates Karat KellyConnect Loom Medium Modern Tribe Nava Ninja Cat Noom npm OKCupid Owl Labs Over Partner Hero ReCharge Stream Labs TaxJar Teamweek Thorn Tidelift Toptal Webflow You Need A Budget (YNAB) Zapier Zendesk

As can see, quite a few of these companies are start-ups. With how technology is advancing, it seems most start-ups are willing to invest in remote employees for the skill sets that are brought to the table — which is amazing!

Working from home or at least having the flexibility to if you desire is becoming the future. It’s truly wonderful to see how businesses develop different strategies for this which I believe contributes to employee happiness. At the end of the day, employees are the soul of the company — without them, there would be no business operating, after all.

I really hope that my personal experience can come in handy to all of you remote hopefuls out there! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’d be love to chat. Remember, keep on applying and you’ll get there! I’m rooting for you!

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