6 Tips for Applying to a Remote Job
Having recently sifted through dozens of applicants for a remote position, it became quite clear to me that many job-seeking nomads can’t nail down the key points in their applications and resumes. It was also clear that some of the applications were just horrible.
Some had no names on them. Some had multiple spelling errors in the cover letter for a content writer job. Others were massively long emails or emails with almost no info at all. And the list goes on.
Getting well-articulated resumes and scribbled excuses for applications are just part of the hiring process. Getting nothing but great applications is rare. In fact, having just a handful of promising applicants can make the hiring manager’s decision easier.
Applying for a remote job isn’t much different than applying for an on-site one, but putting emphasis on your ability to work independently, and showcasing your experience and understanding of the project can play a bigger role in landing a remote position. Having this featured in your cover letter or introductory email can help push your application to the top.
It’s also important to remember that the cover letter and resume are just a few pieces of the puzzle. Interviews and communication are also important for a remote position, and they can differ from the 9-to-5 corporate world too.
As the applicant, if you don’t want to get tossed straight in the “no” pile, read my six tips on applying for a remote job.
1. Master the First Few Lines of Your Resume
Hiring managers sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes and emails, so what makes yours stand out?
You have about 30 seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so if the heading and first few lines don’t paint a clear picture of who you are and what value will you bring to the project, your resume likely won’t draw much interest. You need to stand out in those first few lines.
To stand out doesn’t mean to go overboard with emojis and exclamation points – yes, some of our recent applications were riddled with them. In my opinion, standing out in a positive way simply means writing down the key information about yourself and your relevant experience clearly and concisely.
Overall, you should aim to showcase your understanding of the job or project and why you’re the perfect candidate.
2. Do Your Homework
The hiring manager will likely notice if you’ve done your homework and gotten to know the project or company you want to work at.
Recently, we had dozens of applicants for our junior country manager position, yet, only a handful of them seemed to have researched our service before applying for the job.
If there’s information available online, you should at least look at it. Check out the company’s website or do a Google search to see if there are articles written about it. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to get insight on the company. Get to know the company’s values and mission, and try to convey your understanding of what the company is doing in your application. For example, Forbes recently featured our company’s founder, and that article piqued many applicants’ interest.
3. What Makes You the Right Person for the Job?
A great way to positively stand out is to show what value you bring to the job in your resume and cover letter. Show your familiarity with the company or project and write how you could improve it.
Outlining your previous work experience is an obvious thing to do, but you can take this one step further by explaining how you can use that experience in the job you’re applying for. Explain how you could improve the project or if you have connections that might be helpful down the line.
4. Devil’s in the Details
It’s easy to overlook qualified applicants if they clearly haven’t put effort into formatting their cover letter or left it riddled with grammatical errors.
Remember to check these details in your next remote job application:
- English isn’t everyone’s native language – myself included – so mistakes happen. That said, poor grammar doesn’t leave a good first impression, especially if the work includes writing or editing.
- If you include links to a portfolio or LinkedIn, make sure they look good.
- Double-check your attachments. Are they appropriately named and up to date?
- Is your contact information accurate?
Written communication is especially important in remote work. If you fail to express yourself properly in your application, it might be a sign of trouble down the line.
5. Keep it Concise
My advice is to avoid making the cover letter or application email too long.
Keep it short and simple. Rather than rambling on and on about everything you’ve done in life, focus on what matters most for the position you’re applying for. Great communication skills are vital in any remote job, so make sure you get your point across in your cover letter and resume.
6. Prepare for the Interview
Ending your cover letter or email with an invitation to speak further in an interview can be a good idea. Should you get the opportunity to interview for the position, you need to prepare for it.
If you’re asked to interview, research the company and the work you’d do in this position. If you learn who the hiring manager is, it’s a good idea to look at their LinkedIn or Twitter profile to get a better idea of who the person is. Now, I don’t advise stalking anyone, but having a grasp on the interviewer’s background might be to your advantage in the interview.
Jussi Yli-Korhonen is an expert in SEO and affiliate marketing. He is working as a country manager and teamleader at Financer.com – one of the largest financial-product-comparison services in the world.