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When I was growing up, my high school counselor talked about “dressing for success” and “communicating confidence through your handshake” when you went for a job interview.
But what if you’re applying for a remote job and interviewing over video with a manager who lives halfway across the world? Your ability to dress business casual or deliver a bold handshake isn’t so important anymore (if it ever was).
Work from home jobs are a relatively new phenomenon, and they come with their own set of rules. For help navigating the remote job search, check out the nine useful job search tips below.
1. Use a remote job board to find openings
Whether you’ve had enough of office life or are fresh on the job hunt after graduating, you know being tied to one location isn’t for you. So to find jobs you can do from anywhere, head to job boards that specifically feature telecommuting opportunities.
We Work Remotely, for instance, is a great resource for professionals who work in programming, marketing, copywriting, sales, or customer support. Remote OK is another excellent resource for online jobs. Some others include,
Although traditional job boards feature some remote opportunities, they don’t always have as many as these niche job boards. Plus, sometimes their listings are outdated. And third, giant job boards can mean you’re just one more anonymous applicant among thousands.
Narrowing your search to job boards that only contain remote work will help you find the right opportunity faster, as well as show you just how many remote opportunities are out there for job seekers. Head to this guide for the full list of work from home job boards to find your next great gig.
2. Search hiring pages on company websites
Besides scouring job boards and setting up email alerts for new openings, you can also look for job opportunities directly on company websites. Some companies, such as Aha! and Doist, rely entirely on distributed teams, so no one works in an office.
This guide features 24 other forward-thinking companies that are 100% remote. If any pique your interest, head to their careers or hiring pages to see if there are any openings in any of their departments.
Some also give you the chance to subscribe and get emails when any openings come up. Apart from these remote companies, you could also check with larger companies that offer telecommute opportunities, such as Humana or Amazon.
FlexJobs has a great list of the top 100 companies hiring remotely in 2018 to get you started.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of networking, even if it’s just online
While job boards and company hiring pages can help you locate work-at-home opportunities, you can still boost your chances of getting an interview by making a personal connection with someone who works at the company.
According to a survey by The Adler Group, 85% of all positions are filled by networking. Although it can be challenging to network when you’re remote, you can still connect with people in your industry online.
Join industry Facebook groups, for instance, or ask friends (or friends of friends) to set up an introductory email. And while sending random LinkedIn requests is still frowned upon, you might have luck if you craft a thoughtful message to someone you want to communicate with.
Not only can growing your network help you land a job, but it can also help you stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your field.
4. Craft an eye-catching resume
So, what should your resume look like in 2018? Most experts recommend leaving out the “objective” section at the top and instead replacing it with your skills and experiences.
This recommendation goes in line with a good interviewing practice, which is to show the employer what value you can bring to them rather than talk about what you want from the job.
After your skills and experiences section, highlight your most relevant recent jobs. Make sure to include a few achievements you made and quantify them with concrete data, if possible.
Customize your resume to each position you’re applying for, especially when it comes to the language you use. A lot of employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort through resumes. The ATS scans the pile of resumes and rejects some before anyone even sees it.
To get past the initial ATS scan, try to incorporate some key language and phrases that are used in the original job description. This should show the system that you’re a good potential match.
Once it gets in front of human eyes, make sure your resume has a sleek, eye-catching design. Don’t cram in everything you’ve ever done, but rather keep it to one page.
And don’t underestimate the power of adding special interests at the bottom, such as canoe building or beer brewing. You might strike upon a shared interest with whoever sees your resume and make a personal connection before you’ve even spoken face to face.
5. Sharpen your professional skills with online courses
From programming to writing to teaching, there are tons of possibilities for remote jobs. But if you’re new to the workforce or making a career change, you might need to brush up on your skills before landing one.
Fortunately, there are great resources online for learning new skills. Online education platforms such as Coursera and Udemy offer free or low-priced classes in any subject you want to learn.
Having a grasp of SEO, content marketing, website design, or coding could make you an even more competitive candidate for certain remote jobs. If you’re looking to become a programmer, by the way, you could also learn the ropes with a coding bootcamp.
Whatever your field, you might add some tools to your professional toolbox with online courses. Not only could furthering your education give you knowledge to share during an interview, but it could also help you build a portfolio to show to future employers.
6. Build a portfolio of work to show future employers or clients
Depending on your line of work, you could benefit from building a portfolio of work to show future employers. For instance, it’s tough to get hired as a freelance writer if you don’t have samples of your writing.
If you’re in web design, you’ll also want to show examples of past work. Even online teachers could boost their chances of getting noticed by a hiring manager by providing examples of successful lesson plans.
If you’re working in a creative field, gather a portfolio of online work to show future employers what you can do.
7. Create a website to promote your skills or services
Along with optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you might also create a website to showcase your skills, experiences, and services. Having your own website could boost your credibility in the eyes of a prospective employer.
Plus, your website could showcase your resume and portfolio of work. If you’re a writer, for instance, you might create your own blog to show off your writing and areas of expertise.
If you’re hoping to book clients, they can also find you through your website. You can set up a free website with a host such as Wix or Weebly.
If you’re looking to grow traffic and have more options, you can also pay a small fee to set up your website with a hosting service such as Bluehost.
8. Try your hand at freelancing to gain experience
Remote jobs come in all shapes and sizes, from full-time salaried positions to one-off freelance gigs. Whatever you’re looking for, you could dip your toes in the remote work waters with a freelance job or two.
You can use freelance marketplaces such as Freelancer, Fiverr, or Upwork to find jobs. Or you could book clients by reaching out to them directly.
Even if you’re on the hunt for a full-time remote job, freelancing could help you gain experience, build your portfolio, and make some money while you search for the right position.
9. Practice your (online) job interviewing skills
Once you’ve got an employer’s attention, it’s time to prepare for your big job interview. If you’re applying with a remote company, this interview might take place online.
Before the big day, make sure you’re familiar with how the interview will be conducted, whether through Skype, Zoom, or another app.
Make sure you have a quiet space with strong WiFi, and think about what background will show up in your video feed.
Wear something that will make you feel confident. Even though you probably could do the interview in no pants without anyone being the wiser, doing so probably won’t put you in the right frame of mind.
Besides getting the logistics covered, make sure to practice for interview questions. Be prepared to discuss your experiences and the skills and qualifications you bring to the table.
Don’t focus so much on what you want to get out of your career as what value you could bring to the employer.
A lot of interviewers ask behavioral questions lately, which ask you to pinpoint an achievement you made in the past or mistake you learned from, so come ready with specific examples.
And consider how you’d respond to tough-to-answer curveball questions, too, such as “How would your coworkers describe you?” and, “If you were an app, what would you call yourself?”
Finally, make sure to talk about your ability to work well in a remote environment, including how you stay on-task and manage your time.
Remote companies are looking for employees who are self-motivated and can communicate with their colleagues even when everyone’s scattered around the globe.
So make sure to emphasize your skills at succeeding in a remote workplace environment.
Your dream job might be just around the corner
“I love the job hunt,” said no one ever. Searching for a new job can be stressful, exhausting, and time-consuming.
But if you follow these nine job search tips — and practice patience along the way — you’ll have a clearer path to success.
Familiarize yourself with remote job boards and companies, and connect with other people in your industry.
Although finding the right opportunity can take a few months, eventually you can land an amazing new job that lets you work from anywhere.
If you’d love to work remotely while traveling the world, head to this guide with 27 jobs for digital nomads.