It’s the fourth and final week of Virtual Vocations’ 2017 summer telecommuting blog series! To date, we’ve given jobseekers hot insider secrets on virtual summer jobs, discussed ways telecommuting families can care for loved ones when working remotely, and provided food and fitness tips for a sedentary work style. We’re wrapping up our summer telecommuting series with a list of successful job search practices to strengthen jobseeker hireability throughout summer and beyond.
Have you been pondering the decision to telecommute, but wonder if there’s a certain way to search for a remote job? Are you intrigued by remote work perks like greater job flexibility, more family time, and less time on the road traveling?
If you’re ready to commit to a telecommuting job search, take our advice. After more than a decade of screening telecommute job postings and working with remote companies, we’ve compiled our experiences into a list of nine successful job search practices to help you improve your hireability and land a remote job.
Timing is Critical – Apply Quickly
When you find a telecommuting job that matches your skills and experience, do your best to apply for it within 48 hours.
“Employers and hiring managers, especially those who operate remote teams and virtual companies, may receive hundreds of applications for each open telecommuting position,” said Laura Spawn, CEO of Virtual Vocations, adding,
“Once you have identified a job opening that matches your qualifications, apply promptly and follow directions – steps critical to demonstrating your ability to communicate remotely and allowing you to be one of the first candidates considered for the position before the employer is inundated with additional applications.”
At Virtual Vocations, approximately 500 new remote jobs are added to the Telecommute Jobs Database every day. To ensure jobseekers have access to the freshest job leads anywhere, remote jobs posted to the Virtual Vocations job board expire within 30 days, so time is of the essence.
Put Aside Time to Work on Your Search
From the time you hit the “Apply” button to the time you finish an application, you’ll be asked thought-provoking questions, designed to learn more about how you’ll communicate and work remotely. Take the time to answer each thoughtfully and ensure that you use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Strive to make your online application as polished as any finely written cover letter.
According to The Balance, the average job seeker who is not working at an internship or interim job should spend 25 hours per week searching for jobs, and those working should shoot for 15 hours of dedicated searching. Author Alison Doyle notes how the 25 hours of search time per week might break down:
- Composing job search communications, like resumes – 5 hours
- Searching and applying for jobs via job sites and employers’ websites – 3 hours
- Identifying locations of interest to target, completing online profiles and applying at employer databases – 3 hours
- Traveling to and participating in interviews – 3 hours
- Networking activities – 11 hours
Keep in mind that some remote jobs may never require you to interview in person, but rather they may interview you by phone and Skype, saving you a chunk of travel time per week that you could dedicate to another job-search task.
Keep Your Job Search Organized
When you’re applying to multiple job postings, it’s important to organize your search with a spreadsheet or other tracking system.
Virtual Vocations makes it easy by keeping track of each job you apply for and giving you a spot to take notes – even jobs you may apply for at the employer’s site. Whether you use one online system or several, compile all of your information in one place. Jot down the date, employer, name of the job and note which resume and cover letter you used (if you have multiple versions for different industries). You’ll thank yourself later for having your ducks in a row!
Get the Details Right
Many remote employers are providing at least the beginnings of online applications via online forms like Google Forms, where you give basic information about yourself, answer general questions, provide links to your work samples. Pay careful attention to these forms.
In a recent job application I reviewed, there were instructions on the job posting asking applicants to answer a bonus question on the last box on the form, which was intentionally left blank. Stay focused to not miss little details like this – details designed to ensure you’re paying attention and crossing all your T’s and dotting your I’s.
Don’t Overlook the Basics
Even in an online job search, your resume and cover letter still matter. In How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Offer and Land Your Dream Job, resume advice writer Natalie Severt offers tips and tricks to call out your skills and tailor your resume to suit each job description. Even if you don’t heavily customize your resume every time you apply to a new position, you should have a version for each job category within which you’d be willing to work to show how your experience relates to that industry.
Speak Volumes Through Your Online Presence
Like it or not, to a future employer, your past Facebook posts, tweets, and LinkedIn comments become online examples of who you are. You can be sure employers will look at your social media accounts (if they are public) and do a general online Google search about you. Some potential employers may even ask you to share your private Facebook feed.
Make sure your online presence shows that you know how to communicate. Consider the following:
- If you have a website, ensure the content reflects a professional impression of you
- Avoid making negative or political posts when job searching, to avoid offending any potential interviewers
- Join LinkedIn groups related to your industry and make searchable posts that demonstrate your knowledge and experience within your verticle
Final Tips to Consider When Searching for a Remote Job
To really be prepared beyond a great resume or cover letter, check out these tips about what employers are looking for so you can prepare a more thorough response in your applications.
Figure out What Employers Want to See
Employers often look for certain characteristics or top traits when hiring remote employees. In the article Successful Remote Workers: 8 Ways for Employers to Recognize Them, we outline winning characteristics remote employers look for, like being able to prioritize work, producing results, and having excellent communication skills.
In a virtual office environment, it’s important for you to be able to resolve conflict as it arises, since a face-to-face talk to work things out may not be possible. Employees that show initiative to reach out others, show new team members the ropes, collaborate and mentor will likely be more successful working remotely.
Learn Online Collaboration Tools
Even if you’re not working remotely today, you’ll want to be familiar and learn about online collaboration tools that are currently being used in remote work.
- Google Docs allows employees in the same time zone to create, upload and share documents in real-time, making online collaboration easier. The tool is free with a Google account (which also includes a Gmail email address).
- Slack is another popular tool for virtual offices to use to stay in communication. Slack allows you to have different channels – a general one for information for everyone and customized ones for different deliveries of work, conversations or areas of interest. You can share documents, upload documents and share information among team members with fun emojis and even a checkmark to indicate that you saw a post someone made for you.
- Trello has boards, lists and cards to organize online work, and is popular with graphic design, user experience and other creative teams that want to see their work develop as they’re creating it with their virtual teams.
Create your own Google Docs and Slack accounts to experiment and become familiar with the terminology within the programs and how they work, so you’ll be prepared if your future employer uses those tools.
Follow Up and Show Up
Once you apply for that remote position, make sure to take the initiative to follow up. Telecommuting employers receive hundreds of applications, often within 48 hours, so follow up to show that you really want the job. You may need to do some research on LinkedIn or the company’s website to get to the right contact name, but make every effort.
And finally, think how you’ll show up. Some employers today won’t interview in person, so make sure you understand how to use Skype, Zoom or other online tools where you may interview virtually. Set aside a quiet place to talk, do your research on the company, be expressive, articulate and do your research in advance of any in-person interviews, and you’ll be in a perfect position to land a remote job.
Related: Are you following Virtual Vocations on LinkedIn? Check out our profile for the latest updates in telecommuting news, trends, tips, and remote company services.
Do you have your own list of successful job search practices; what advice can you add for summer telecommute jobseekers? Share your answer when you connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
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