Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. But rest assured that all opinions remain my own. You can read my full affiliate disclaimer here.
If you’re on the hunt for a remote job, you know landing one is easier said than done. With applicants from all over the world competing for a single position, you’ve got to work hard to make your application stand out.
To help you get a hiring manager’s attention, we’ve spoken to career experts about the secret to landing a remote job. Here are their pro tips on how to get hired and start your location-independent career.
1. Tailor your materials to each job
Whenever you apply to a job, it’s important to customize your resume and cover letter to each position — and remote jobs are no different.
“Do not use the same, generic resume for all jobs you apply for,” said Martin Luenendonk, co-founder and CEO of online job portal Cleverism. “Customize it depending on the requirements of the job.”
Ciara Van De Velde, Career Engagement Manager for Employment BOOST, also recommends reflecting the requirements you see in the job description in your own materials.
“When searching for a remote job, be sure to look at the qualifications within the job description and tailor your experience, accomplishments, [and] skillsets to focus on those areas,” said Van De Velde. “If you have any prior experiences to remote work or working with staff in remote locations, be sure to highlight these positions or skills on your resume for the hiring manager to see.”
By reflecting the job description in your cover letter and resume, you can explain that you have the skills the hiring manager is looking for. Plus, incorporating key words and phrases may help you get past an Application Tracking System scan, if the company is using one to filter resumes.
2. Consider adding a video to your application
Sean Pour, co-founder of car-buying service SellMax, says his team has completely embraced remote work. When hiring remote employees, he’s been particularly impressed by candidates who add a video to their application.
“In order to stand out from the competition, you should submit a unique resume,” said Pour. “The applicants we like the most are the ones who stand out in the resume by shooting a fun video, while also demonstrating their knowledge.”
According to Pour, adding multimedia can help your application stand out from all the others.
“We got one great applicant who was making programming jokes in his video,” said Pour. “He really put effort into it, which showed us he was serious and wanted the job. This is the type of messaging you want to give off when competing for a remote position. Show us that you have character, humor, and you’ll fit in with the team culture.”
Taking the extra step to add something unique to your application could pay off in a big way.
3. Show you’ve done your homework on the employer
It’s also important to research your potential employer and show off what you know about the company.
“Doing research on the company and knowing things about them is important as well,” said Pour. “If you’ve done your homework on us, we are more inclined to believe that you genuinely want this job.”
A hiring manager can tell if you’re sending off generic materials to lots of jobs at the same time. So tailor your materials to each position, and explain what it is about the company that makes you want to work there.
4. Send follow-ups to your application
If you’ve sent off an application and haven’t heard back, it’s worth sending a follow-up message. Email the hiring manager expressing your continued interest in the position or find someone to communicate with on LinkedIn.
“Follow-ups work really well,” said Pour. “Sometimes we miss an email — we get busy, and it gets buried in the inbox. If you send a follow-up, it shows us that you’re persistent and serious.”
While you don’t want to over-do it by sending too many emails, following up with the employer could mean the difference between getting an interview and getting ignored.
5. Showcase your “remote working” skills
While lots of people want the flexibility of working remotely, you could impress a hiring manager by showing that you understand the skills needed to succeed in a virtual role.
“Job seekers for remote positions can stand out by portraying an analytical appreciation for remote work,” said Emma Liebmann, head of talent acquisition at Collage.com, a fully remote company with employees all over the world. “Demonstrate an understanding that [you] recognize and have thought thoroughly about the challenges, such as creating effective engagement with colleagues and and building relationships or having to be more proactive about seeking out help.”
According to Liebmann, showing that you understand the ins and outs of telecommuting will show that you’re prepared for remote work. And if you have a history of working remotely, make sure to highlight your experiences.
“Think about the qualities that you believe would make someone successful in a remote work environment such as proactiveness, independence or problem solving,” said Liebmann. “Then highlight examples where you have demonstrated these qualities.”
6. Scour remote job boards for the latest opportunities
Although you might be able to find some remote jobs on giant job boards, such as Monster and Indeed, you’ll have better luck heading to niche job boards that focus specifically on remote roles, such as Remote Bliss and FlexJobs.
Set up email alerts so you see new job offers every day. Remote Bliss also hosts a Slack community where you can stay up-to-date on the latest jobs, as well as connect with other remote workers in your industry.
Luenendonk also recommends searching for openings on company websites directly.
“Search ‘hiring’ or ‘careers’ pages of different companies,” suggested Luenendonk. “Go to company’s websites directly and check if they are offering any remote positions.”
You might also try reaching out directly to a company to find out if it’s hiring.
7. Network, network, network
You know networking is important, but just how important is it? Well, according to LinkedIn, a whopping 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. If you can meet people who work in your industry or at your target company, you’ll have a huge leg up in the job search.
“Make connections,” said Luenendonk. “You can boost your chances of getting a remote job by making a personal connection with someone who works at or familiar with the organization. For example, join industry Facebook groups or build LinkedIn connections by sending a personalized message to someone you want to connect with.”
You could also use professional networking apps to meet people online or in your area. You never know, your new connection could lead you to your next great job.
8. Show that you’re tech savvy
Mark Webster, who manages the fully remote marketing business Authority Hacker, says he looks for technical competence when hiring team members.
“For us, since it’s possible we may never actually get to see your work style up front until after employment, we need to be sure that you are technically competent and can handle the day to day things that are relevant to working in a remote environment,” Webster said.
Here’s what Webster says impresses him in a job application:
“There are a few simple things that you can do to make sure you stand out when submitting your resume and put our minds at ease that we can trust you’re technically sound,” he said. “For example, including a screenshot of an internet speed test, adding your computer or laptop specs or including your time zone and working hours (if you’re applying internationally) are all clear indicators that you understand the consequences of working a remote position.”
Including these details could put the employer’s mind at ease and help your application stand out from the pile.
9. Go the extra mile in preparing for your interview
Getting invited to interview is a huge step, and you want to keep your positive momentum going. Van De Velde has a few recommendations for putting your best foot forward:
“Prior to the interview, research the company and make sure you can identify the organization’s values and mission, and be prepared to ask the interviewer questions,” said Van De Velde. “State why you are interested in pursuing a position with that specific company … and provide examples of how you have been successful with communicating with others in or out of remote positions.
Rob Williams, CEO of remote job site Folyo, has another useful tip for candidates who want to go the extra mile, called the “briefcase technique.”
“Spend an hour researching the company, and prepare a plan for improving the company through your role,” Williams said. “Once you’re done answering the interview questions, ask the interviewer if you can have a second to share some ideas. Go through your list quickly, and you’ll be amazed at how impressed you’ll leave the interviewer.”
This extra effort could show that you’re eager to help the company grow. And of course, don’t forget to dress appropriately, find a quiet room, and make sure your computer is working ahead of your video interview.
“Be sure to have high-quality audio and video,” said Pour. “As the primary form of communication will be through these methods, you want the employer to know that you’ll be able to communicate just fine.”
Take these steps, and your next communication from the employer will hopefully be a job offer!
Follow these tips to put your best foot forward
Searching for a job isn’t easy — many people say it’s a full-time job in itself. But there are tricks to sending off an impressive application that will get a hiring manager’s attention.
By adding unique elements, showcasing your remote working skills, and growing your network, you’ll be a huge step closer to landing an amazing new job that lets you work from anywhere.