New College Grads: 10 Success Secrets for Your Remote Job Search

new college grads

Virtual Vocations identifies 10 success secrets for new college grads ready to begin their telecommuting journey.

If you are one of 2017’s new college grads preparing to enter the job market, Virtual Vocations has advice to help you succeed in your remote job search.

Job Outlook for New College Grads

Good news, graduates! The job market is ripe with opportunities for new college grads. According to Career Services and the Collegiate Employment Research Institute’s Recruiting Trends 2016—2017 survey of approximately 4,350 employers, 87% of respondents “…hired at least one new college graduate during the 2015-16 academic year.” This hiring boom is expected to continue from the 2016-17 academic year, as only three-percent of employers who hired during the 2015-16 academic year do not plan to hire new college grads in 2017.

The Recruiting Trends 2016—2017 survey also offered insight into the types of jobs companies recruit for within the collegiate setting. Nearly three-fourths of respondents utilize college recruiting to fill full-time positions across every major industry.

Among the key economic sectors the survey identified as critical to college recruiting, including professional, business and scientific services, educational services, government, and nonprofits, all industries are representative of popular telecommuting career categories new college grads can apply to work within as soon as the ink dries on their diplomas.

10 Success Secrets for Your Remote Job Search

While no amount of advice guarantees new college grads will triumph in their remote job searches, these 10 insider tips strengthen the likelihood of success.

1. Know How to Identify a Telecommuting Job Description

The number one success secret for a remote job search is knowing how to read the job description to determine if the job opening is, in fact, for a telecommuting position. Here are our top three tips for identifying a telecommuting job description during your remote job search:

  1. Recognize telecommuting keywords – Scan the job description for the following keywords and phrases: telecommuting, telecommute, telework, remote, work remotely, work from home, work at home, online job, virtual job, flexible, flex-time, home-based, home office
  2. Look for location information – If the job location is listed as “Remote,” “U.S.” or “Anywhere,” it’s safe to assume the job is a telecommuting position. Keep in mind, job openings with a city, state, or region specific location may still be telecommuting in nature. A remote job that’s location specific could be one that requires the hiree to appear onsite on occasion to attend in-person meetings or training sessions. Also, partial telecommuting jobs, in which hirees are based out of their home offices but are required to travel or work onsite part-time, may require hirees to live in a specific location in relation to a large international airport or to a company headquarters.
  3. See the signs among the qualifications – Employers filling telecommuting jobs are looking for candidates with a very particular set of skills (No, we’re not talking to you, Liam Neeson, so put down the phone.) When examining a job description for telecommuting clues, qualifications like “self-starter,” “works well under minimal supervision,” and “effective virtual collaborator” are all indicators that the position will allow you to work remotely.

2. Learn About Remote Job Types

Remote jobs are as diverse as new college grads themselves. During 2016 alone, Virtual Vocations’ staff screened and posted more than 117,000 telecommuting job openings to the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Jobs Database. These jobs represented openings in more than 50 job industries, from account management to writing, with the greatest number of remote job openings originating from the following top 5 categories, according to the Virtual Vocations 2016 Year-End Report:

  1. Information Technology
  2. Project Management
  3. Sales
  4. Management
  5. Healthcare

Related: 25 Best Telecommute Jobs of 2016

3. Present Your Best You

Remember those key telecommuting qualifications mentioned in our first success secret? Presenting your best you is all about showcasing those qualifications through your remote resume and cover letter. Even if you’ve never held a telecommuting position, highlighting job qualifications and professional traits that illustrate your self-discipline and responsibility will convey to telecommute-friendly companies that you have the skills to succeed in a remote position.

4. Put Together a Winning Portfolio 

New college grads may not have paid professional work experience in their industry, but working to earn a degree offers its own measure of experience. Have you completed an internship, practicum or senior seminar under which you produced high-level examples of your work? If you are applying to telecommuting job openings in a field like graphic design, instructional design, marketing, teaching or freelance writing, use those high-level work examples to build a portfolio illustrating the best of your talents, which you can display and discuss during the hiring process.

5. Think Outside the Box

Let’s say you’re looking for a remote information technology job. Consider that you aren’t limited to only applying to work for household name IT companies such as Adobe Systems, Apple, Inc., and HP. Companies and organizations of a variety of sizes, from start-ups to businesses that have been in operation for decades, and across nearly all industries often hire IT talent for roles in security, programming, software development, and technical support.

Although your first instinct may be to search for telecommuting IT jobs from Silicon Valley employers, think outside the box and also apply to work for a health insurer like UnitedHealth Group or a risk management services provider like Aon plc.

6. Get Social

In 2017, chances are new college grads are active on at least one major social media site. So if you’re already Facebooking, tweeting, Instagramming, or snapping, why not use social media to your advantage during a job search?

Start by performing a Google search of yourself as if you were a potential employer. Examine the search results for red flag material, like statuses featuring a plethora of curse words or excessive drinking, and remove or hide those posts from public view under your privacy settings.

Next, if you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn profile and make connections with college classmates and professors, current and former colleagues and employers, and professionals already working in the job you want. Did you know Virtual Vocations is on LinkedIn? Connect with our company page to get the latest scoop on remote job search advice and the hottest telecommute job openings.

Finally, follow and interact with the social media accounts of prominent companies within your vertical, businesses you wouldn’t mind working for, and industry influencers you’d like to notice you. Think of social media networking as the modern equivalent of “working the room” at an onsite business conference.

Related: 8 Ways Social Media Can Kill Your Career

7. Apply Early

If you’ve found a telecommuting job that’s right for you, apply with urgency. Nearly half of all job openings are filled within the first 30 days of their posting, according to “Time to fill jobs in the U.S.,” a collaborative report from Indeed and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR). Virtual Vocations sets the same bar for job postings published to our database, which expire after 30 days in order to ensure remote jobseekers have access to the newest telecommute job openings available.

8. Be Discerning

Don’t apply to every telecommute job you encounter within your industry. Choosing quality over quantity during your remote job search will increase career satisfaction and longevity in the position you land and decrease the likelihood you’ll be back on the job market in a matter of months.

9. Keep Doing Your Homework

You may have recently graduated from college, but this doesn’t mean you can distance yourself from doing homework. For new college grads executing a remote job search, doing your homework means researching employers for whom you would like to work.

Start by making a top 10 list of your dream employers, then research those companies for details on the following key subjects you can use as talking points during a remote job interview:

  • The employer’s remote work policy
  • Company products and services
  • A who’s who of company leadership, including the head of the department where you want to work
  • Recent employer news and press releases
  • Their mission statement, company culture, and values, especially concerning the company’s approach to interacting with their community and their employees’ communities
  • Employer perks and benefits
  • The company’s financial health
  • Their competitors and overall industry

The good news is the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Companies Database makes it easy for new college grads to research employer known for hiring telecommuters. At the time of this article’s publication, the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Companies Database contained more than 5,600 profiles of telecommute-friendly employers, and more profiles are added daily.

Each company profile contains a company description and key facts, links to the company’s website a social media pages, a graph of the employer’s recent hiring trends, a list of currently available telecommuting jobs with the company which you can apply to in the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Jobs Database, and, if available, an RSS feed of company news.

10. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

The reality of any job search is that you may not succeed in finding the right job on the first try, but you must always be ready to get back on the proverbial horse. After a rejection, review and revise your employment documents, rethink your interviewing strategy, and remember these wise words:

“No mistake or failure is as bad as to stop and not try again.”
—John Wanamaker

Related: 8 Reasons Why Employers Aren’t Responding

New College Grads: Start Your Remote Job Search Today with Virtual Vocations

It’s Virtual Vocations’ mission to ensure our members receive fast access to the most current and best virtual job listings anywhere, including thousands of opportunities to telecommute as a freelancer in more than 40 top career categories.

We’re unlike other job boards because we publish hundreds of new telecommute job vacancies every day, ensuring each job posting will allow you to work from your home office at least 20% of the time.

We even provide Virtual Vocations members with options for customizable email alerts, giving jobseekers instant access to newly published telecommute job openings curated based on their job search preferences.

Why register? Here’s a sampling of some of the exclusive Virtual Vocations telecommute job resources designed to give jobseekers like you access to the right telecommute jobs and clients:

  • Action plans and downloadable resume templates
  • Industry Guides to help you navigate your search for a telecommute job in popular categories like Education and Nursing
  • Telecommuting Handbook and Interview guide downloads
  • A Telecommute Toolkit featuring e-courses like “Create a Winning Telecommute Resume” and “Telecommute Job Searching for Mid-Level and Professional Jobseekers”
  • Free access to our Telecommute Companies Database filled with thousands of profiles of telecommute-friendly employers known for hiring qualified professionals to work remotely
  • Search Filters that allow you to search for human-screened telecommute jobs by job category, type, telecommute status, travel requirements, and more—all to ensure you are applying to the most appropriate telecommute jobs for your experience level, skill set, and job flexibility needs
  • A team of experienced customer service professionals ready to answer your questions about utilizing Virtual Vocations during your telecommute job search via phone at 1-800-379-5092, email at, and Live Chat Support on our Homepage

Visit our Services Page to learn more about these and other remote work perks you can utilize during your telecommute job search.

Employers: Appeal to New College Grads Via the Virtual Vocations Employer Portal

The Virtual Vocations Employer Portal will transport you to a new dimension of remote recruiting! It gives companies streamlined, secure permissions to post their telecommuting job openings for free as well as receive applications from from Virtual Vocations’ member list of high quality job candidates—half of whom work from home as freelancers, according to the Virtual Vocations 2016 Year-End Statistical Report.

Companies who elect to become Virtual Vocations Employer Partners will not only be able to post an unlimited number of telecommuting job openings for free, but also enjoy a multi-faceted promotions package ensuring their telecommuting job openings receive maximum exposure through the following avenues:

  • Virtual Vocations Employer Profile, including a company summary, website and social media links, feed of recent company news, and more, added to the Virtual Vocations Telecommute Companies Database
  • Promotion via Virtual Vocations’ social media accounts
  • Priority email alerts sent to more than ONE MILLION jobseekers
  • Jobs featured in the weekly Virtual Vocations Employer Alert blog post highlighting the most recent telecommuting job submissions made by Virtual Vocations Employer Partners
  • Dedicated Employer Relations Manager to help with hiring needs

Visit the Virtual Vocations Employer Portal to post your telecommute job openings at no cost and join more than 3,500 employers using Virtual Vocations to find and hire top quality telecommuting talent.

Are you one of 2017’s new college grads embarking on your own remote job search? Tell us about your dream job when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you! 


VVlogoJoining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Our family-owned company is committed to helping you find quality job leads. We strive to help make your work-at-home job search faster, easier and safer by bringing you scam-free jobs that offer some form of telecommuting or virtual work.

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.

About Kimberly Back 780 Articles
Kimberly Back is the Senior Job Data Content Producer at Virtual Vocations and has been a member of the Virtual Vocations team since 2012. She brings to the role more than a decade of experience in writing, editing, content management, and graphic design. She is an honors graduate of Morehead State University and works remotely from Kentucky.