“Make sure your resume is focused and speaks to the role for which you are applying. Remember to include relevant keywords and phrases and frame yourself in a way that shows you are a good fit for their role. Since they are looking for a remote employee, be sure to highlight your remote experience as well.”
In this month’s installment of Ask a Job Coach, we chat with Holly Leyva, manager of Customer and Career Services for Virtual Vocations about how to write resumes for remote jobs. As a certified job coach, Leyva provides her insight on what to include in this important document, including:
- Key features of a successful resume
- Passing the applicant tracking system (ATS) test
- How to catch an employer’s eye in a resume for remote jobs
- Marketing yourself if you’re new to virtual positions
What Are the Key Features a Resume Must Have to Get Noticed for a Remote Position?
First, applications for remote positions will most likely be submitted online, so they need to be formatted for ATS. Second, highlighting any previous remote experience is important. Employers like to know that you’ve been successfully working remotely. Not everyone does well in a work from home position, so showing previous remote experience is important. Remote experience can take many forms:
- Working from your home 100% of the time
- A combination of working remote and onsite
- Working onsite but working/collaborating with remote teams, clients, patients, etc.
Pro Tip: So what should you include on your resume for a remote job that will show you have the skills to work from home? Here are some suggestions:
- Great time management skills
- Can work without supervision, self-starter
- Excellent digital communication skills
- Software and hardware that applies to the position (Google Suite, Microsoft Office, Fax/Scanner)
- Any other tech-savvy attributes
Is a Traditional Resume Okay for a Virtual Job? Or Do I Need to Modify It?
Yes, a traditional resume is okay for a virtual position as long as the format is ATS compliant. Stay away from graphic style resumes, columns, text boxes, or shapes. Many ATS systems cannot read information with this formatting or translate the information incorrectly. A traditional one-column format is best. Also, be sure to keyword-optimize your resume for remote applications. Review the job description or similar job descriptions and make a list of the keywords, phrases, skills the employer is looking for. Make sure to use these in your resume. In context is best, but a Key Skills section below the professional summary is a great place to list your relevant skills as well.
How Do You Keyword Optimize a Resume? If you’re new to keyword optimization on a resume for remote jobs, you probably don’t know where to start. But here are some extra tips to get you started:
- Look at multiple job listings for similar job titles to see what words employers use frequently
- Always write out the full title of certifications, honors, and distinctions, as well as their abbreviations
- Don’t keyword stuff; make all keywords sound natural within the body of the resume
- Only use Microsoft Word or a PDF file for your resume, as image files can’t be read and your keywords won’t be recognized
What Do Remote Employers Look for First in a Candidate?
Remote employers look for the same thing onsite employers look for: a good match for their position and work culture. Make sure your resume is focused and speaks to the role for which you are applying. Remember to include relevant keywords and phrases and frame yourself in a way that shows you are a good fit for their role. Since they are looking for a remote employee, be sure to highlight your remote experience as well.
Did You Know? According to some studies, recruiters and hiring managers only spend six seconds reviewing your resume before they decide whether to pass or continue. While subsequent research has somewhat debunked this theory, simplistic, scannable formatting has been found to increase your chances of getting past the six-second mark by 25%. To make your resume for remote jobs more scannable, make sure to highlight these key features:
- Use a simple overall format free of graphics and shapes
- Balance text and white space
- Use horizontal lines to break up text or sections
- Choose an easy-to-read font
How Do You Market Yourself If You Are New to Virtual Positions?
To market yourself if you’re fresh to online jobs, look for any experience you have that shows you will be successful working remotely. Some examples might include:
- Ability to use and learn technology
- Working well on your own
- Troubleshooting hardware and software issues
- Meeting deadlines
Remote experience can take many forms, so be creative. Have you:
- Taken any classes online?
- Attended or facilitated meetings using online technology, especially since COVID?
- Worked with a co-worker in another building, state, or country?
Tips to market yourself if you’re new to virtual positions:
- Add quantifiable achievements, such as “boosted sales by 12%”
- Write in an active voice
- How you achieved any goals and any recognition you received
- Add any volunteer roles (especially virtual volunteering roles) and contributions to the community
And if you don’t have any virtual volunteering experience, make sure to check out this article:
Resumes for Remote Jobs: A Learning Process
Writing a resume for remote jobs takes a bit of shuffling to appeal to online employers. But don’t worry: it’s a science, and one that you’ll come to master over time. The key to success is to highlight any skills transferable to a remote position, include keywords to pass ATS, and keep it simple. By doing so, you can put your best foot forward, and hopefully, get one step closer to your aspirations as a remote worker.
Job Coach Bio
Holly joined Virtual Vocations in 2011 after deciding to take a break from corporate life to focus on her family. She enjoys using the skills and experience gained from her previous role as a corporate trainer and hiring manager to coach jobseekers in their career search strategy so they can achieve success and satisfaction in their careers.
She has earned certifications in both resume writing (ACRW) and career coaching (CPCC), is an “Ask the Experts” contributor for the National Association of Resume Writers, and has been featured in several online publications. When she is not working, Holly enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, hiking, and learning something new every day.
Do you have questions to ask a job coach about creating a resume for remote jobs or any other questions? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and questions. We’d love to hear from you!
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