The Return to Work mandates has changed the landscape of the remote job search market. The competition is fierce with more people looking for remote jobs than ever before. In this blog post, we will break down what you need to know to find remote jobs and stand out in the application process. We will discuss the best ways to search for remote jobs, how to write a stand-out resume and cover letter, and tips on nailing the interview.
Remote Jobs v. Hybrid Jobs
Before diving into how to find a remote job, it is important to first understand the differences between a remote job and a hybrid one. A remote job is a position where you work entirely from home or from a remote location all the time. A hybrid job means that you are partially remote and partially at the office. In many cases, a hybrid job means 2 - 3 days in the office with the remainder of your week remote.
A job that is advertised as hybrid means that the job will require the person selected to be in the office on a regular basis. However, that amount of time in the office may vary or be negotiable.
A job that is advertised as remote means that the person will be working remotely throughout the course of the search. Increasingly, there are jobs that are advertised as "Remote in California" or "Remote in Eastern Time Zone." This means that the person can work remotely from anywhere in California or anywhere in the Eastern Time Zone respectively. Thus, if you are outside of the designated area for the remote role, the company will likely reject you for not being qualified for the role.
The Current Remote Job Search Market
Why do companies put those location requirements on remote jobs? It is because of the current state of the remote search market. People who worked fully remotely through COVID are now being forced back to the office with a number of mandates by their employers. Many people made changes to their locations because of the flexibility. Others found the work-life balance they had wanted. So, many cannot or do not want to an office at this point.
As a result, there has been a shocking increase of applications for jobs that are fully remote. Many of these positions will close due to the cap of applications within days if not hours. Companies may think that by putting a location requirement, they will filter out candidates who cannot physically make it to the office.
So, if you are looking for a fully remote job in the current search market, you need to do so with an entirely different approach than if you are pursuing an in-office or even a hybrid role. Keep reading for tips on how to navigate the current highly competitive remote search market!
Build a Resume for Remote Jobs
Once you have decided that you want to look for a remote job, you need to build a resume for a role that is fully remote. Applying to jobs in the current market with such a high volume of applications means that you will need a resume that gets through the applicant tracking systems (ATS) and connects with the people that will skim the resume in the hiring process.
To build your resume for a remote search, make sure to:
Highlight Your Remote Work Skills
Remote work is not for everyone. Employers will tend to pick people that have a history of successfully working remotely over a candidate that hasn't. So, make sure to highlight your prior experience working remotely and the skills that you used during that time. Be clear and explicit to make sure that these skills are on your resume. The ATS won't know that you have the skills if you don't put it on your resume and you will get rejected.
Use the Right Keywords
Keywords are critical to the performance of your application for remote jobs. Make sure that you are putting relevant keywords across your resume. This will improve the performance of your resume in the ATS and the likelihood that a person will see the application. This also means that many people with broad searches may have different types of resumes to pursue different types of roles when conducting a remote job search.
Customize your Resume for Each Job Posting
Customize your resume to match the job description of the role you are applying for. Highlight your relevant skills using the same language and phrasing used in the job posting. This will maximize your visibility in the ATS and improve the performance of your resume. The time spent making a quality application is well worth the effort as you will likely get rejected if you do not with such steep competition.
Emphasize Your Achievements and Results
Use numbers and statistics to highlight your achievements and results. If you worked on a remote project, talk about the outcomes and how you contributed to the success of the team. This demonstrates your ability to add value to your work and it will help you stand out to the people that will skim your resume in the hiring process - from application through interviewing.
Best Search Engine for Remote Jobs
There are tons of job search sites out there now. There are even job boards that are focused exclusively on remote only jobs. But, what are the best remote job search sites?
Indeed is a great job board to find remote jobs. This is because it has a high volume of jobs and it is easy to use the filters to find the remote jobs. The pros and cons of Indeed as a remote job board are:
Pros: Has tons of jobs because employers can post for free. There are also a number of other filters to make sure that you can find a variety of jobs.
Cons: You have to be creative to build the right searches. This means knowing what types of jobs to look for, how to structure the searches, and how to apply the filters. You also need to be mindful of scams because it is free to post on Indeed and that can make it easy for people to abuse the platform.
ZipRecruiter is also a top pick to use for a remote job search. ZipRecruiter is a job board aggregator just like Indeed. This means that employers can post their job on ZipRecruiter and push them out to 1000s of other job boards. The pros and cons of ZipRecruiter as a remote job board are:
Pros: Has tons of jobs and filters to use that help you to find the right types of roles for your remote job search. Scams are less likely than on Indeed because companies have to pay for the postings or to have a subscription for the postings.
Cons: Smaller and midsize companies don't tend to use ZipRecruiter as much. This is because you have to pay for so many job postings per month rather than per job post. So, you may not find the right types of jobs on ZipRecruiter for your search.
LinkedIn is the top social media platform for professionals and it has a job board with a ton of information about the company.
Pros: Employers can post for free, so there are more jobs on the platform. And, the company has to have a page or at least someone on LinkedIn, so there are some controls to try to minimize scammers. The person posting the job can also say who they are and you can message them directly via LinkedIn. Plus, you will easily find tons of great information about who you know, connections to the job, and other details about the company through the platform.
Cons: You have to have a profile on LinkedIn to access the jobs. Not everyone does and that can limit your access to the job board. You also need a strong LinkedIn profile that is fully built or you risk being rejected quickly by the system because it will provide insights to the recruiter reviewing your application about your qualifications based on your profile (NOT your resume).
Company Job Boards
Many companies have their own job boards. These job boards are often a direct feed into the company's applicant tracking system. So, going direct by applying on the company job board is the best way to ensure that you get in the ATS and that your information goes in the system the right way. However, you have to know what companies to target in order to find their job boards.
Target Remote Friendly Companies
The most effective remote job searches are those that also include a focus on particular companies. By creating a list of companies that you want to work at, you are better able to focus your job search efforts. The process of building a list of places that you would like to work next also enables you to research whether or not those organizations are friendly to remote jobs.
You may even be able to make connections through a company's website or social media presence that can help you get your foot in the door. Taking the time to build this list of companies also enables you to set up more effective job alert emails, focus your networking, and to be one of the first people to apply.
Network, Network, Network
Networking is as important as applying for jobs in your remote job search. Why? Because, in most cases, someone with a referral will automatically get shortlisted for an interview. In fact, there are even separate systems used first by recruiters to review and engage candidates that have a referral by an employee. So, those relationships matter - a lot.
Moreover, keep in mind that only about 11% of jobs are filled through cold applications to the job through the job posting. Alternatively, referrals reflect the largest percentage of sources for people that get the job. This number is even higher in the remote job search because of the comparatively higher volume of candidates. So, make sure that you are spending equal time networking as you are applying to jobs in your remote job search.
Stay Patient & Persistent
A remote job search takes time and persistence. You will be rejected and ignored, a lot in this process. Keep positive through this process and put yourself out there. You cannot get the job if you do not try.
Staying positive in your job search can be hard for anyone, that is particularly true for people looking for remote jobs. To do this, make sure that you are clear on why you want the remote job. Defining the why makes it easy for you to stay focused and to keep working towards what you want.
And, stay persistent in your remote job search. This means that you have to constantly look at and apply for jobs. As noted above, many fully remote jobs are closing in days if not hours currently. So, you cannot wait. If you see a posting for something that is of interest - go for it quickly. This means leveraging your network and getting your application in. You may not have the time to fully think it through or to build a perfect application, but that is ok. Because it is better to apply than to miss out because you took too long.
Ask for Help
When looking for a remote job, don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from people who have been successful at getting a fully remote role. You can also find mentors in your industry who can provide guidance and support as you go through the process of finding the right job. They can also tell you what it taken for them to get that job, and what you can do to make your application stand out from the rest. Furthermore, don’t forget to leverage your network as well. Reach out to colleagues and former bosses - they may just know of a position that’s perfect for you.
If you are finding that you are stuck or that you have applied to tons of jobs with no results, then it may be time to ask for professional help. Companies like The Contingent Plan with professional resume writers and career coaches can make a difference in your search. They know what the market and technology are doing and can provide you with guidance to overcome whatever it may be that is holding you back.
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