Always a final candidate, never a new hire? I get it: not everyone lands a remote role on their first try…or even their fifth, eighth or tenth! If landing a coveted virtual position is something that has seemed out of reach for you, I’ve outlined four helpful tips to get you on the hiring track.
Here are some helpful tips for perennial remote job seekers:
Build up your remote tech expertise.
Not exactly a video conferencing buff or project management pro? When it comes to learning new things online, there are options aplenty. You can check out remote-focused webinars to get a better idea of the skills and mindsets that remote companies are looking for in prospective employees. You can scan a variety of blog posts on the remote work tools you need to master and how to prepare to work remotely, written by those with years of experience.
Consider joining an online community (I recommend the global Slack groups of Buffer or Workfrom) to get real-time insights and advice from peers in your field. You’ll want to be able to hit the ground running in any new role, and there’s no better way to demonstrate that you can than by familiarizing yourself both with the lingo and the tools commonly used in remote work.
Take a strategic approach to filtering.
Submitted dozens of online applications and haven’t heard a peep? Maybe the reason why you’ve yet to be offered a position (or even make the cut for a video interview) has more to do with your remote job search than you’d expect. If you’re approaching this all-important task with scattershot precision, think again. Companies want specificity and are eager to weed out those who aren’t cut out to excel within their vacant roles.
So while it seems helpful on the surface that you have more generalized business development expertise, it’d be best if you drilled down to see which skills you possess that perfectly match or could be easily transferred to a given job. (Bonus if they’re in your field or a similar one!) By focusing your efforts on applying only to roles for which you’d be ideally suited, you’re increasing your chances of moving forward.
Find a virtual “in” to any company.
Remember the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Similarly, you’re more closely connected to others than you might think. It’s possibly the best thing about the internet: even if you’re a self-described introvert or lack a well-cultivated network, you can locate access points to any organization—and anyone—if you simply know where to look. LinkedIn is a great start for conducting a digital who’s-who search, as is AngelList for startups. Perhaps your college roommate went to grad school with the CEO, or a cousin’s pal is on a desired employer’s software development team.
Start putting feelers out there, first via direct messages and then, more publicly as status updates, posts, and tweets. People love to help others and REALLY love to show off their networks, so be sure to take them up on their generosity—and thank them profusely when an introduction is made.
Show off your communication and organization skills.
Right off the bat, hiring managers are evaluating how you respond to simple requests, such as negotiating different time zones, clarifying expectations, scheduling video calls, and troubleshooting tech issues. While a single strike in these areas might not automatically eliminate you, those who handle all digital interactions with aplomb are often the candidates selected to advance. So don’t be the person struggling to download software on a lagging connection minutes before a call, or the one who fails to account for a 5-hour time difference in an email exchange.
You can make your life easier by proactively asking what medium(s) will be used for interviews, and by using smart shortcuts like Google calendar’s dual time zone setting to have an idea of what windows work for all. Showing that you’re on the ball from the very beginning makes the best first impression.
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