97% of workers desire some form of remote work.
Remote jobs also means remote hiring — a challenge newly remote companies are still trying to solve to attract the best remote workers. Since a massive number of workers want to work remotely, organizations are flooded with job applications. And unlike traditional in-person interviews, it can be harder to build rapport over Zoom calls and email threads.
But standing out in a sea of applications boils down to one key strategy – understanding what employers are looking for.
#1. Highlight your remote experience
Most companies prefer candidates who have experience working remotely in some capacity.
Here’s a peek at what various employers shared when asked what they look for when hiring remotely. A common thread ran through all the comments — previous remote experience.
So if you’ve worked a remote job before, tailor your resume to highlight that. In fact, if you have a mix of remote and in-office experience, prioritize your remote work experience by placing it at the top of your resume.
Also, update your experience on LinkedIn to showcase which positions you worked at remotely. Add “remote” to the location field when adding a new position.
#2. Share your “why”
Whether you’ve worked a remote job before or not, your “why” matters.
Why do you want a remote job? What about working remotely appeals to you?
Hint: Companies are looking for more than you saying “it’s convenient.”
Think about your reasons. Perhaps it’s easier for you to enjoy a greater work-life balance or it takes away the stress of commute. Maybe remote work allows you to move closer to your family or live the life of a digital nomad.
Now, tie your reasons to the benefits employers experience with remote work. Less stress, zero commute, and the ability to work from anywhere equals more productivity, increased retention and engagement — important metrics all companies care about.
Make sure you share this in your application or cover letter. You may even be asked this by recruiters. This Indeed article has a few sample answers you could use:
- “I am excited because working from home allows me to collaborate with a company I admire. I would not have been able to offer you my services in other circumstances because of the distance. My creativity is at its best in my home office, and I am convinced I can contribute to the success of your business.”
- “I understand your company prioritizes work-life balance and effectiveness, and I share those values. I know I thrive in such an environment and will be more productive when I work from home.”
- “Working from home allows me to begin my workday sooner. I can skip traffic and avoid delays due to weather conditions, which gives me two more hours daily that I can dedicate to my job.”
Quick Tip: If you’re not camera-shy, include a quick video of yourself explaining why you want to work remotely with your application.
#3. Show your personality
In an article for ProofHub, Anthony Martin, CEO and Co-Founder, Choice Mutual shared his #1 problem with remote hiring:
“The main challenge I faced with hiring employees remotely was that it was difficult to gauge a candidate’s personality and background in a virtual setting.”
This isn’t a unique stance. Recruiters and hiring managers that are new to remote hiring miss the cues they were able to pick up on in face-to-face interviews.
While Anthony and other recruiters find ways to get around this problem by monitoring communication, elongating the hiring process or inviting potential candidates to a virtual happy hour, you can proactively share more of who you are.
Your resume, LinkedIn, and even your Zoom background should be infused with your personality. Don’t be afraid to bring your whole self to work. The right company for you will embrace your professionalism and your quirks.
In fact, you can use Airspeed’s profiles to easily show prospective employers who you are at work and your interests outside of it.
Here’s an example from Doug Camplejohn, CEO at Airspeed:
You can share all your interests, your social media profiles, your favorite places, and a picture of you looking awesome at work and in your personal life.
And the best part? You can create a profile and pop that link in your email signature, on your LinkedIn profile, or on your resume.
Recruiters can easily get a glimpse of your personality without having to scour through your social media.
#4. Display remote-specific skills
Aside from job-related skills, companies hiring remote workers look for a specific set of traits:
- Ability to work autonomously
- Great communication skills
- Inclination to learn
- Interests outside of work
- Ability to collaborate remotely
- Focus on results over activity
Here’s a peek at things Github values and why:
Craig Hewitt, Founder & CEO at Castos explained how these soft skills are tested:
“Candidates are assessed on communication skills, emotional intelligence, and self-management. A big part of this is observing how they answer questions and interact with the interviewer.“
While other companies monitor your interactions from the minute you apply. How quickly do you respond to emails? What kind of questions do you ask? Do you join interviews on time?
Every bit counts.
It isn’t enough for you to include these skills in your resume. You have to demonstrate them throughout your interview process.
Look at Glassdoor interview questions, the company’s career page, or talk to employees that work there to find out more about the organization’s culture and values so you can work those things into your conversations.
#5. Build an online brand
You’ve probably heard this one a lot. Build a brand and your next job will come straight in your inbox.
A consistent online presence means you can generate more brand awareness or even help close deals quicker because you’ve built trust with your network and they see you as a trusted advisor. This is especially true if you’re vying for a sales or marketing position.
And you don’t have to resort to oversimplified Twitter threads that add zero value or broetry on LinkedIn.
Your brand is an extension of your work. Share lessons you’ve learned from first-hand experience, your current projects, small wins, and your roadblocks.
Here’s a prime example of how you can leverage LinkedIn, courtesy of Amanda Natividad, VP Marketing at SparkToro:
Quick Tip: If the idea of self-promotion still makes you nauseous, consider picking up Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work.
Imbibe. Implement. Iterate.
The best advice for anyone looking for a remote job can be summed up in three words: Imbibe. Implement. Iterate.
Learn what remote employers are looking for. See if those findings align with your values. You’re more likely to thrive when you find your person-organization fit.
Then, implement your learnings in your application process. Spruce up your resume, invest in your online presence, and dust off your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t make the cut, follow up and ask for feedback. Most recruiters and hiring managers are happy to share what you could improve and what stood out for them.
Absorb those insights and iterate. For instance, if it’s a skill you need to work on, take on a consulting project or an internship to build it.
Even though the competition is fierce, remote work is here to stay. And your dream remote job is only a click away. (Okay several clicks away, but you get the idea!)
A cool tip you can implement in 5 minutes? Create a profile with Airspeed to show recruiters that you’re both a professional and cultural fit – add it to your email signature, resume, or LinkedIn.