The popular adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is ubiquitous in nearly every traditional job hunt. But in the rapidly expanding world of remote work, perhaps this idea doesn’t apply nearly as much as it used to. Instead, the key is becoming more qualified for the job you want.
So how do you become more qualified? The answer varies widely from industry to industry. However, following a few simple guidelines can put you on the path toward the job you want, not the job you have. Here are some tips you can use to put your plan in action and become the qualified candidate that hiring managers pine over.
1. Learn the Basic Skills You Need in a Majority of Jobs
Not all job descriptions have the same requirements. However, learning some basic skills can enhance your opportunities to land the job you want. Some of the most common soft skills that appear in job descriptions often include:
- Collaborative and social skills
- Leadership and adaptability
- Communication (written and oral)
- Time management
- Problem-solving and critical thinking
- Collaborative personality
If you can manage to accumulate these soft skills, you’ve already started on the path to better qualification.
But if you don’t have all of these talents, don’t worry. You can develop them over time. The internet has numerous free resources for soft skill development, including YouTube and podcasts. That said, paid sources may provide more insight and specialized instruction. Self-help books and online courses can also help you build your soft skills for a fee. Once you’ve gained this knowledge, put it into practice at your current job. The more you use these skills, the more honed they will become.
2. Find the Qualifications for the Job You Want
Before you delve into becoming more qualified for the job you want, you need to know the skills that those types of jobs require. The best way to find this information is to look over the job description for your ideal remote position. While you’re glancing over these descriptions, look for your qualification shortfalls. These may include:
- Proficiency in a software or a program
- Basic skills necessitated by the industry
- Soft skills that you can develop
Once you’ve analyzed each of these aspects, you can formulate a plan to achieve skills and certifications based on the job you want.
For example, if you want to become a web developer, you may find that you need to study Java, Python, C++, or other programming languages. If you can find a certification that’s industry standard, that’s even better. The idea is to knock as many of these off your list as possible to increase your skillset and hireability.
3. How to Know Whether to Apply for a Job
As a general rule, don’t apply to a job if you have fewer than half of the desired requirements for the job description. Filling out applications for jobs you won’t get can lead to a sense of rejection and a lack of confidence—two things you don’t want when you have a strong desire to find your dream job.
So how do you decide whether you have enough of the desired qualifications and whether you should apply to a job? Use these suggestions to get a better idea:
- Assess your personality in comparison to the company culture
- Investigate the company and read reviews about your wanted job
- Compile a list of your top skills/education for comparison to the job description
In some instances, you may want to apply for the job even if you don’t meet at least half the requirements. This might include applying to a job posted by a reputable company, applying to a job with great pay or benefits, or applying to a company that is more likely to keep your resume on file for later employment opportunities.
4. Choose the Right Certifications
With the emergence of internet education, classes and certifications are seemingly everywhere. Because of the sheer number of them, you may find it difficult to discern which certifications are legitimate and which ones are far less valuable. Yet these certifications are vital to becoming more qualified for the job you want. Here’s a list of certifications in some of the most popular industries for remote jobs.
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Microsoft Azure Certified
- Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP)
- Certified Sales Executive (CSE)
- Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA)
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
- Strategic Account Manager Certification (CSAM)
- Certificate in Analytical Skills from the American Management Association
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Business Process Associate (CBPA)
- Certified Workforce Professional
- Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP)
- Certified Customer Service Manager (CCSM)
- Certified Management Consultant (CMC)
- Small Business Consultant Certification
- Hubspot Inbound Certification
- Certified Brand Manager
- Google Analytics
These are just a handful of the most reputable certifications. However, you may find that employers ask for a more specialized certification or one from a different organizational body. Discovering which certifications are the most prized in your industry can definitely help you decide which route to take in your continuing education.
5. Soak Up Every Bit of Information
Although certifications may impress employers, every bit of knowledge you gain can improve your job candidacy. Thankfully, instructional videos and free content have flooded the internet. This gives you ample opportunity to soak up information that can make you a better and more coveted worker.
One of the best places to gain information is through online courses unaffiliated with a university. Udemy and Coursera are two online education platforms that provide instructional courses on a variety of topics. In some instances, these platforms work directly with universities to create certification programs. When completed, these courses can add a touch of clout to your education. College professors and industry leaders teach some of the other classes, which may have a final exam or a project for you to showcase what you learned.
If you’re in the midst of becoming more qualified for the job you want, remember to network. Networking is an integral chance to learn from other successful individuals or find jobs. With just a few pleasantries, you can ask questions that can provide the foundation for your future success.
When you’re networking and meet someone in the career path you want, ask all the questions you’ve wanted to know. You just might be surprised how willing other people are to help you on your journey. Remember to inquire about:
- How the person got their start in the industry
- What companies have the best reputations
- Classes, courses, or certifications to improve your chances of employment
- Jobs that can give you the skills you need in the meantime
- Where else you can meet more like-minded people
In addition, you don’t have to limit yourself to industry-specific networking events. Not only is this difficult during COVID-19, but you may miss out on a connection in other ways. You may never know that person who works in the career path you want also likes trivia or a specific type of music just as much as you. So when you find the opportunity to meet someone new, turn on the gift of gab and see what happens.
7. Watch Out for Scams and Don’t Give Away Work for Free
Unfortunately, the remote work world is full of scams. The good news is that these scams are fairly easy to identify. In most cases, the salary or benefits are too good to be true. You may also find that these individuals come to you and ask you for a job unsolicited.
But even while these scammers sully remote work to some degree, you’re the one who has to look out for yourself. Many people looking to break into remote work end up completing projects for “exposure” or “experience.” Don’t be one of these people.
To give away your work for free (as long as it isn’t an unpaid internship) doesn’t do anyone—including yourself—any favors. You wouldn’t go to work at any other job without pay, so why would the one you want the most be any different? Plus, you risk pulling down the salary and pricing of the industry if you’re willing to give away your hard work for free.
8. Practice Writing Cover Letters
In some circles, experts believe that cover letters are finally obsolete. Yet even if hiring managers and recruiters don’t always read your cover letter, they’re still important. Some companies automatically disqualify you as a candidate if you don’t have a cover letter. Plus, it gives you the chance to toot your own horn right out of the gate. In particular, you can highlight the certifications that are helping you become more qualified for the job you want.
Cover letters are especially important if you have specific metrics. These numbers can get easily lost when scanning a resume. But when you tell an employer that you increased sales by 12% at your last job or increased social media reach by 23%, you’ll pique their interest.
If you still aren’t enthralled by the idea of writing a cover letter, let Virtual Vocations career services carry the load. With highly experienced individuals crafting your cover letter, you’ll strengthen your candidacy.
9. Tailor Your Resume
Once you’re on the path to becoming more qualified for the job you want, the next step is to tailor your resume to reflect your hard work. That said, tweaking your resume isn’t always easy. Passing through applicant tracking systems and gaining the attention of potential employers may require a professional. That’s where Virtual Vocations comes in. With the help of our professional resume writers, you can turn a lackluster resume into one that gets noticed.
If you want to tailor your resume on your own, more power to you. Make sure to put your relevant qualifications and certifications where they’ll get noticed, pen a solid summary, and make other information up to date. By doing so, you might be able to increase your chances of employment in the job you desire.
Becoming more qualified for the job you want isn’t just a matter of getting a certificate or more education. It’s an investment in yourself. As markets fluctuate and your employment changes, your newfound knowledge remains. That’s just another motivator and reason why becoming more qualified is the ideal way to spend your free time.
iStock Image: fizkes
Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background. Register for free or contact us for more information on our service guarantee.
Check out our menu of Career Services provided by our team of certified professionals, including resume and career coaching services for remote jobseekers. Resume assessments and writing, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and cover letter writing are available to maximize the success of your remote job applications. Discounts on all services available to subscription members, become one now.