When you’re jumping into the job market for the first time, it’s normal to be nervous. After all, many find the job search process overwhelming and stressful. But even if you’re just out of college, don’t let that feeling hold you back. With the right tools and resume upgrades, landing a remote job in your field of interest as a recent college graduate is an attainable goal.
1. Emphasize Your Unique Skills
Working from home in any industry requires a unique skill set that comprises both technical abilities and soft skills. Since employers are searching for these skills in potential employees, you must emphasize them on your resume. Whether you list them in a separate “skills” section or incorporate them into your professional summary, work experience, volunteering, or relevant coursework sections, these abilities will set you apart and greatly improve your likelihood of securing an interview for a remote job.
Hard skills, or technical skills, essential to working remotely include expertise or experience with:
- Video-conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts
- Real-time communication platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams
- Online project management tools like Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Wrike
Soft skills, meanwhile, are treasured by hiring managers. Possessing these skills assures the employer you have what it takes to gel with company culture and work from home. Some examples include:
- Time management
- Written and verbal communication
- Problem-solving skills
Remember to include experience from any freelance work, summer jobs, or part-time gigs. You may also want to showcase remote skills you learned while finishing your college courses online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Quantify Your Achievements
Your resume isn’t just a list of your duties at your previous job. It highlights the ways you improved the organization or company you worked for. Remember, your resume is your personal marketing tool. While it may feel strange to brag, you won’t get points for modesty.
Quantifying—or providing statistics of your achievements—has become a hot resume item to recruiters and employers. Not everyone is lucky enough to possess these numbers, but if you have them, you can increase your credibility with hiring managers.
As you work to quantify your accomplishments, try to be as specific as possible. Rather than sharing that you were “responsible for large sales,” try something like:
- Negotiated sales with five Fortune 100 companies, raising yearly revenue from these accounts by as much as 12%
- Expanded viewership of social media profiles by 24%; increased readership of company blog by 9%
Quantification can provide a more concrete assessment of your capabilities. And what type of business doesn’t love to see exponential growth?
3. Include Your LinkedIn Profile
Today, a vast majority of hiring managers and recruiters use social media to research candidates. Among social media platforms, LinkedIn—a social network for professionals—is the most used. Therefore, a lack of a LinkedIn profile can severely hurt your chances of employment. Owning a profile becomes mandatory.
An active and up-to-date LinkedIn profile is a very persuasive resume upgrade. Including the link to it in your application helps recruiters take you seriously as a professional. In fact, Forbes’ Allison Cheston says many hiring managers even consider it a red flag if a candidate cannot be found on LinkedIn.
While LinkedIn may seem like just another method for displaying your resume, the popular social network provides recruiters with far more, such as recommendations from former supervisors, co-workers, and clients and examples of projects you’ve completed or collaborated on. If you need help, enlist the professionals at Virtual Vocations who can revamp, rewrite, and upgrade your LinkedIn profile.
4. Use Action Verbs
Word choice is powerful—especially when you’re aiming to be within the top 2% of applicants—the approximate cutoff point for getting an interview.
Use strong action verbs within each bullet point of your resume to improve readability and grab the attention of the recruiter. This also helps minimize the length of each description, which is crucial when you’re working with limited space. Examples of action verbs you could use in your resume include:
Check the job description or similar job descriptions for insight into exactly what the hiring manager is looking for in an applicant.
5. Ensure Your Document Is Mobile-Friendly
In an era capable of rapidly modernizing technology and on-the-go lifestyle, it’s no surprise handheld devices have become preferred. Many professionals, including recruiters and hiring managers, open more emails on their smartphones than their desktops, according to a 2019 report from Campaign Monitor. As a result, your list of resume upgrades should include mobile-friendly files.
Ease of use and the expectation of a high-speed response from smart devices has increased human expectation for immediate gratification. As such, busy recruiters or hiring managers are not going to sit around attempting to open your resume time and again because it’s not mobile-friendly.
In order to avoid losing your chances at a position due to these seemingly minor technology failures, make sure your resume is mobile-friendly before you send it out to talent communities by:
- Making all hyperlinks live
- Sticking to a one-column format so it’s easy to scroll through without missing content
- Using a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial, which almost all devices recognize
- Avoiding extra lines, images, and colors which might appear differently on different devices
- Creating a few versions of your resume so it can be easily run through an applicant tracking system (ATS) or browsed by a recruiter
6. Consult the Experts
A resume is a company’s first impression of you. However, 77% of managers say they will disqualify a potential candidate over typos or bad grammar according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey. Therefore, asking for outside help is one of the smartest moves you can make, especially with those who may have more career experience than you.
Spellcheck and keywords can only do so much. So when you’re looking for a remote job as an entry-level employee, having an experienced individual pore over your resume is a godsend. Right before or after graduation is one of the best times to consult with an editor or resume expert. In fact, many resume writing services offer discounts for new graduates, and some university career centers even provide these services as part of tuition.
Whether you hope to save the whales through remote data analysis, teach English to students around the globe, or protect the security of the nation as a cybersecurity contractor, telecommuting is a true possibility for hard-working college graduates. Implement these resume upgrades and you’ll be well on your way to the start of a rewarding remote career.
iStock Image: AndreyPopov, vicky_81, hocus-focus
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