By Marie Johnson, Contributing Author at Enlightened Digital
Does the idea of a remote job appeal to you? Are you longing for the opportunity to spend your time traveling to exotic locations and working off free Wi-Fi at a beach resort? Hoping to work from home so that you’re there when your kids get home from school? Whatever your reason may be, remote work is becoming more and more popular for professionals from many different backgrounds. It is also becoming more widely accepted by today’s business professionals. In fact, FlexJobs reported that remote job listings increased by 51% from 2014 to 2017.
But the mass amount of people who want to work remotely means that remote jobs have become extremely competitive — so how can you set yourself apart from the other applicants vying for the same remote position? Here are a few tips to help you land the remote job you’ve been dreaming of.
Acclimate Yourself to the Company Culture
One aspect where remote employees often fall short is aligning themselves with the company’s culture. This is totally understandable — it can be tricky to learn the ins and outs of an office culture when you don’t physically show up to work there every day. This is a common reason many companies hesitate to hire remote employees to begin with. They fear that employees who are unable to fit the company’s culture will be less likely to effectively communicate, connect with their team members, and work together to achieve the company’s goals.
As a prospective remote employee, you need to do everything you can to learn as much about the company culture as possible. Be sure to do a bit of digging beyond the job listing to get to know the company. What’s their mission and how do you relate to it? Who are the founders? What’s their story? Understanding the culture to the best of your ability and applying this knowledge to your cover letter, email to the hiring manager, or interview will demonstrate that you’re dedicated to the company’s culture and are willing to be a team player (even as a remote employee).
Highlight Previous Remote Experience
Have you worked remotely before? If so, this is something you should be highlighting in your application and on your resume. Not everyone is suited to working remotely. Notifying the organization that you’ve already had this experience is a great way to signal to the employer that you aren’t just trying out remote work on a whim — you really love it and it works for you and the companies you’ve worked for in the past.
Make sure to mention your previous remote work experience in the first paragraph of your cover letter or application. Detailing the type of work you did remotely, how you were able to benefit the companies you worked for, and why you’re eager for other remote opportunities. If you can, include references on your application or LinkedIn profile of people who have worked with you previously in remote capacities.
In the competitive remote space, you need a little more than a resume to stand out, so forget about the “apply and wait” mindset that you might have used in previous job hunts. Remote positions aren’t always readily available, so it can often take a bit more leg work to really make it happen.
Don’t feel as though you need to wait until a job listing is posted to express your interest in a position. Take the initiative to reach out and explain why, as a remote employee, you feel you can be a great addition to the organization. One of the best ways to get noticed is to ask about job openings before they’re advertised. Even if the organization isn’t hiring, you might be able to capture someone’s attention for future reference if you submit a well-written inquiry email. If you can, even offer to meet the hiring manager for coffee so they can get to know you before they commit to hiring you as a remote employee.
Dress for the Role
Although it’s true that working from home affords employees a more casual experience than working in an office does, that doesn’t mean showers and professional attire should be optional. Should you land an interview via Skype or another type of video chat, don’t let your appearance and personal hygiene fall to the wayside. Sure, you might feel a bit silly sitting at your kitchen table in a suit, but even remote employees need to look polished and presentable during an interview.
This is important to keep in mind if you land the job too. In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s always best to assume that your boss, coworkers, or clients may request a video conference at a moment’s notice. In those cases, it’s always best to be properly dressed and ready, rather than needing to ask for additional time to get yourself together. In addition, getting yourself ready for the day can help you get in the proper head space for a day of work.
Emphasize Your Communication Skills
Working remotely can be challenging because a lot of communication happens online or via email, and unfortunately, you can’t just stop by a colleague’s desk to clarify things. For this reason, it’s important to include your communication skills in your cover letter, on your resume, and during the interview.
Are you available to talk anytime via phone, email, Slack, or video conferencing? Are you in a different time zone, which means you might be available earlier or later in the day? This information is important to note as it could be seen as an asset when an employer is hiring. Be sure to mention any communication skills you’ve learned while working remotely in the past or, if you’ve never worked remotely before, communication skills you already have that would be beneficial.
A Remote Job: The Wrap Up
Landing a remote job isn’t an impossible mission — it just requires a proactive mindset and the right level of preparation. If you think remote work is right for you, start applying! While it might take some extra effort to land a remote job, using the tips above can help you land the remote job you’ve been searching for.
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