Living and working as a digital nomad is the dream, but the reality is a little bit more of a challenge to set up. Rather than be intimidated by the process of how to find a job online, or getting remote work, you can approach the process strategically and methodically. Here’s our basic guide, based on experience on remote job applications.
Tips for Remote Job Applications
There’s an incorrect assumption that online jobs are very limited to social media or digital marketing. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With the pandemic causing many people to adjust how they work, the business landscape has shifted, and living as a digital nomad has become a viable option for several different professions. This makes remote job applications a hot topic.
Now that you’ve got a bee in your bonnet about traveling and working remotely, it’s time to make honey – I mean, money.
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Preparation for Remote Job Applications
Before you begin physically applying for a remote job, you need to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row. One of the top tips for remote workers looking for a job is to be prepared before you even begin.
Update Your Resume
Depending on when you last applied for a job, your resume could still include your high school babysitting job which may or may not be relevant anymore. Together with your cover letter, your resume is a summary of who you are as a professional and it needs to put you in a good light.
If you plan to leave your existing office-bound job then you’ll need to consider how much notice is needed. Keep in mind that applying for an online job puts you in a global candidate pool and the process can take longer than when you apply for jobs locally.
Update Professional and Social Profiles
Hate it or love it, but we live in a digital world. It’s not unusual for people to go on a deep stalk before going on a date or when they meet a new friend, and, you guessed it, when receiving job applications.
From a social media perspective, you should do a quick sweep of your social media accounts and remove any inappropriate content (or make your profile private). In some situations, having a vibrant social media account can be a valuable expression of your personality and be the deciding factor with potential employers.
Other profiles to update are your business profiles, such as LinkedIn. Make sure that the information communicated puts you in a good light and demonstrates your professional experience in a concise way.
Prepare a Basic Cover Letter
A cover letter is a critical component when applying for a remote job. Most interviews will be conducted online and the cover letter will play a large role in securing these interviews. Take the time to draft a basic cover letter with an introduction, conclusion, and main selling factor.
With each application, this cover letter will need to be tweaked to personalize the application and to showcase your skills relevant to the job. Having a skeleton document that you can duplicate and amend will save a lot of time. Although each cover letter will have its differences, remember to include skills that support your ability to work remotely.
Brush Up on Qualifications
In some instances, you may be able to translate your existing office job to be location-independent. If that doesn’t work out, then you’ll need to look at applying for new jobs. Even after you’ve decided what job best suits your skills set, you may find that you need to brush up on certain skills.
For example, if you’re a software developer that has been working in a certain language with your current position, then you may want to do an online course on another language to remind yourself of the basics. If you’re experienced in Instagram marketing, then you may want to do a crash-course on Pinterest so that you have a bit of confidence when discussing other platforms.
YouTube can do wonders with enlightenment, but there are also several affordable online courses if you prefer that route. Udemy, Shaw Academy, and Coursera are just a few to get you started…
The Search Begins
With all of your documents ready to go, you should have extra confidence to begin looking for remote jobs online. But where to begin?
Websites to Monitor and Creating a Profile
The job application process has adapted to an online world. The traditional corkboard and drawing pins have been replaced by a selection of online job listings that can be searched using various filters, including salary, experience, industry, and location.
There are several reputable online job websites that you should bookmark and monitor. Take the time to create a profile on these sites and assess whether you have the budget to pay for the few that require a subscription.
Here are a few of the websites that I had bookmarked for my job search.
A lot of these websites require a profile with key information, a short bio, and a list of skills. To save time (and energy) you can prepare this information in a Google document and copy + paste the info into the various systems as needed.
Handy tip: a lot of these websites ask for your personal website. I built myself a website, Candice Creator, to serve as an online portfolio and it has made a world of difference in applications.
Set Up Alerts
Once you’ve set up your profile and explored the different job-search platforms, then you need to monitor them. I find it useful to bookmark my favorite websites and save them in a special folder. Another option is to set up alerts whenever a job in your desired field opens up.
Some of these websites have Facebook groups and forums which can be helpful in keeping tabs. Certain job listings are shared and key topics are discussed on these platforms. Some even have tips and advice on companies that are advertising.
Express that You’re Looking
While you’re looking for the perfect job, there are recruitment agencies looking for a prime candidate. Make sure that you mark yourself as available for job opportunities and on your various profiles.
Chat with friends and family who have connections in the field that you want to work in, post on various Facebook groups, and monitor your inbox for messages from recruiters.
Nothing beats the feeling of reading a job description and thinking “that’s the one!”. In my personal experience, I had several enthused moments when I stumbled across an opportunity that tickled all of my professional ambitions. But if you want to secure your dream job, then you need to nail the application.
Tailor Each Application
Make sure that you read the application instructions carefully. Seriously. Take the time to read the requirements, the application process, and any other instructions. If you do the applications properly, then they should take you a fair bit of time.
So, make sure that you only apply for jobs that you actually want. Take note of the job requirements and make mention of these in your application’s cover letter.
Take the Time to Complete The Tasks
In the traditional job application process, you’ll likely be called for an interview where you arrive at the office, shake the hand of HR and practice good posture. In the online world, you’ll be tested in different ways. Getting a job online could require you to complete certain tasks – some of which will be time-consuming.
Once again, make sure that you keep a copy of these assignments somewhere, such as in a Google folder. If you’re applying for various jobs in the same industry then you may find that some assignments and tests are similar and can be duplicated and tweaked.
These tests and assignments showcase your ability to do the work and give the company a glimpse of what you can offer. In the same breath, it also gives you an idea of what sort of work will be expected from you.
Read the Instructions Carefully
Some companies receive a huge number of applications and yours is just a drop in the ocean. It sounds disheartening, but these companies know what they are doing. There are technological tools that monitor applications to make sure that the applicant has followed the instructions carefully and that their profile is a good fit.
As you browse job opportunities, you’ll find strange nuances that companies include to make sure that the applicant has followed instructions.
For example, they may ask you to mention the word “Banana” in the subject line of your cover letter or insist that you are based within a certain timezone. A short questionnaire and glance at the application could immediately disqualify you if you don’t fit the spec. Some applications mention that you shouldn’t follow up by email, so doing so could automatically exclude you.
You’ve hit “Submit” and you’re on to the next application. Make sure that you keep a list of all of the companies that you’ve applied for and the estimated turnaround time for response. Set alarms to follow up with these job opportunities and document your communication.
Research the Company Before Emailing
Before you send an email and drop to the bottom of their inbox, make sure that you do some research on the company. Work on a catchy subject line that both gets to the point and attracts attention. In the copy, remind the reader about why you’re suitable for the job and why you’d be a good fit for the company (remember what you researched and personalize the message).
Keep in mind that some companies may explicitly ask that you not follow up on your application. There’s no quicker way to be disqualified for the position than by spamming them with a follow-up.
Do the Tests
Some applications will have you completing tests and assignments in the application process, others will get you to submit examples of your work as a subsequent step in the process. If this is the case, remember the tips from above and take your time to put your best work forward.
You may find that some of these tests are very long. This is an opportune moment to take a step back and decide if this job is actually something that you want, or if you’re settling to earn an income. When potential employers are dealing with hundreds of remote job applications, they have to be picky.
Be Professional for the Interviews
When you’re looking for remote work, then you probably won’t have your interview in person at a physical location. There’s a higher probability that you’ll fire up your laptop and communicate through a Zoom call (or something similar).
Make sure that you are prepared for the interview and have a strong and reliable internet connection. Doing a sound test beforehand can also put your mind at ease. You can choose to keep your boardshorts on your bottom, but make sure that the visible part of your body is well-presentable. And again, make sure that you have a decent internet connection!
Good Luck in Your Remote Work Journey!
Remote job applications aren’t too different from a “normal” one. You just need to know where to look and how to follow the correct processes without alarming your potential employers or getting lost in a sea of applicants.
Each job application will be unique and there’s a good chance that you’ll earn a fair bit of your own lessons along the way. At the end of the day, applying for remote work requires discipline, persistence, and resilience. When you’re competing with global applicants, you need to be confident in what sets you apart and advertise these traits.
Once you’ve got your dream job in the bag, you can begin exploring whichever destination you want to make your new home.
You got this – good luck with your remote job applications!