You need a resume and a cover letter. You need to ensure your online presence is cleaned up and polished. You need to be prepared to knock your interview out of the park.
Job searching is job searching, right? It’s easy to think that it’s the same across the board—regardless of industry or what sort of role you’re applying for.
That’s mostly true; there are some staples that always carry importance. But, when you’re hunting for a remote position, there are a few subtle ways that the job search is just a little different from what you’re used to.
Here are five things that differ during a remote job search:
1. You might not meet that employer in person.
Alright, so this one is probably way more obvious than it is subtle. But it’s important to remember that you might not have the benefit of getting to actually shake hands with that employer at any point in the hiring process.
That’s not such a big deal, right? It’s certainly not an insurmountable hurdle. However, it does have an impact. Corresponding only via digital methods makes it tempting to skip any polite small talk and get down to business. That means it’s that much tougher for the employer to get to know you on a slightly more personal level.
Make an effort to share a little bit about yourself outside of just your professional competencies. The opportunity to bond with the hiring manager over your marathon training or your shared love of labradors will make you all the more memorable.
2. Prompt communication carries even more weight.
Of course you never want to leave a potential employer hanging when coordinating details or interview schedules, but your timely and clear communication skills hold even more importance when you’re applying for a remote position.
Remember, since you won’t be working side-by-side with these people on a daily basis, you’ll be using these same digital means (things like email, video calls, and chat tools) to interact with them most of the time.
Show that you can handle that by always being clear in your messages and responding to emails in a reasonable amount of time. There’s a big difference between saying that you’re an effective communicator and proving that you are one.
3. Other elements of the company culture become more important.
If you land this remote position, you’ll have the flexibility to work from wherever you want. But that also means you won’t be working in that company’s office.
While company culture isn’t solely defined by the space a team works in, things like foosball tables and beer fridges certainly don’t hurt when it comes to cluing you in on what sort of atmosphere that company fosters.
That’s not something that’s going to matter if you’re working remotely, so you need to get a feel for the cultural elements that will have a greater impact on you.
How do team members collaborate and bond with each other? How does that company foster a positive culture—even for people who aren’t in the office? Do they have any fun traditions that apply to everyone?
Ask questions to get some insight into aspects of the culture that will resonate with you as a remote team member. This is important for ensuring that you find an employer that’s actually a good fit for you.
4. You’re probably going to have some stiff competition.
The job search always feels competitive—however, remote positions can have even stiffer competition.
Applicants often aren’t limited by geographic area, which means the pool of candidates is that much larger. Plus, since remote jobs are so desirable, those positions typically garner a lot of interest from eager job seekers just like you.
Don’t let that discourage you. Instead, use that as your motivation to do whatever you can to stand out and elevate yourself above the other applicants.
5. You need to ask more thoughtful questions.
You can learn a lot through observation. Your time spent sitting in the lobby waiting for your interview gives you a feel for the overall vibe of the office. During your walk to the interview room, you get to see how colleagues interact with each other and whether team members are working quietly or are buzzing around and collaborating.
That provides a lot of enlightenment about a particular employer—but it’s a benefit you’re losing if the entire hiring process is being conducted remotely. While thoughtful questions are always important during your job search, they’re even more so when you’re in the running for a remote position.
Think of the things that you really want to know about what that company values or how they operate and then ask questions related to those. That will empower you with the information you need to determine whether or not this is the right opportunity for you.
There are many job search staples that hold true regardless of what sort of position you’re applying for. However, there are also some notable differences when you compare a remote job search with a traditional one.
Knowledge is power. So keep these differentiators in mind, and you’re sure to impress—even from afar!
Ready to start your search for a remote position? Browse open remote jobs.
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