One might think that the way to get a remote job is to just apply for one! Simple, right?
Actually, it’s not that simple. Sure you can hit that apply button and keep it moving but you wouldn’t be maximizing your chances of getting an interview or even showing up on the “desk” of a hiring manager.
Whenever you fill out a job application online, it goes into what is called an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS. The ATS is pretty much a database storing your information and providing the most relevant information to hiring managers. On average, a job posting can get anywhere from 300 – 7,000 applicants. That’s a lot of information in an ATS for a recruiter to sift through so you’ll need to do a bit more to stand out.
Here are four things you should do before applying for a job:
Check out the company on Glassdoor
Let’s start by confirming this is a reputable company that you actually want to work for. A quick search on Glassdoor.com can provide some insight into what current and previous employees think about the company, the average company salaries, and even the hiring process.
I often get asked how to tell if a remote job is a scam. Glassdoor is also a good way to verify that the company you’re applying to is legit.
Make sure your resume is remote ready
I have this framework I created for The Remote Ready Bundle to help job seekers create the best resume template. There’s also a workbook in there to walk you through the steps and a copy of my resume.
The framework I created for making sure your resume template is an acrostic – S.A.S.S.Y.
- Short – Keep it to 1-2 pages max. No one needs to know that you worked at McDonald’s in the 90s. Make sure your resume shows relevant experience to the position
- Accomplishments – most people make the mistake of listing their tasks only. Here’s the thing, if your title was Project Manager, the assumption is that you did Project Manager stuff. You don’t really need a ticklist of PM tasks. Instead use powerful action verbs to detail your accomplishments in each position you’ve held.
- Skills – be sure you highlight your hard AND soft skills on your resume. Hiring managers are looking for technical skills but they often care more about your soft skills. Technical skills are the skills you acquired from education or from experience. Soft skills are more like personality traits – excellent communicator, problem solver, collaborative, etc.
- Story – your resume should tell the story of how you’ve progressed in your career. It should lay out how you’ve grown, developed, or even changed careers.
- Your Brand – try to identify what your brand is and be sure it’s stamped across your resume. For me, my brand is that I get shit done and improve everything I touch. It’s weaved throughout my resume. In almost every position on my resume, I’ve shown examples of executing on a project or improving a process.
Update the keywords on your resume
Now that you have a resume template, please don’t just use the same template to apply for every job. This is what I call “slinging stale resumes”. Remember I mentioned that the ATS is a database? Well, recruiters are not combing through that database looking at every application. They’re doing searches in the database, much like your Google searches. They are searching for the keywords in the job posting to get the most relevant resumes/applications to review. If your resume doesn’t have the keywords, it simply will never show up.
It’s a good idea to scan through the job posting and identify any important keywords and include them in your resume. If, for instance, a job posting mentions “collaboration” multiple times you should probably have the word collaboration in your resume at least once.
Check your network
Find out if you know anyone who works there. Social media is a great tool for sharing photos, funny memes, getting into debates about the most random things, but it can also be a powerful networking tool.
Start with Linkedin, go and search for the company name and find out who works there. If you have any 1st and 2nd connections that work there reach out to them!! Post to FB and ask if anyone you know works at the company. You don’t have to “put all your business on FB” but someone in your friends list may work there or know someone else who does and you can DM them for the inside scoop AND a referral.
Recruit a referral
If you don’t have 1st and 2nd connections on Linkedin, that’s ok. Look for people who are in the same position you’re applying for and send them a connection request. In that request, simply let them know that you’re interested in their company and you’re curious if they enjoy working there. That’s how you get the conversation started. Then you can ask them if their company has a referral program and if they think you’re a fit, would they mind submitting you as a referral. This is a mutually beneficial situation. If they do have a referral program and you get hired, they get money! Win-Win!
Hopefully, these tips prove helpful in your journey to do great work from anywhere!