Securing a great remote job is not always easy. There is a lot of competition out there and you must know how to differentiate yourself with careful branding and a solid value proposition. Not sure where to begin? These tips will get you off to a great start!
My friend Anna was in her late 30s and had been working remotely for the last 5 years. She loved the flexibility that her job afforded. Having two kids and a husband whose career required constant travel, she was thankful to be able to structure her days in a way that could balance her work and family responsibilities.
She loved the work as well. But lately she’s been feeling a sense of unease at the end of the day. She had been with the same company from the beginning, but came to realize over time that it was not the best culture fit. She wanted to pour herself into projects and causes that were more meaningful. She was ready for a change.
Fortunately for Anna, and many like her, remote work opportunities have exploded in recent years. Many industries, ranging from technology, legal, accounting and finance, pharmaceuticals, HR and education, to name a few, now offer flexible job options to those who can show they are qualified and able to manage this more non-traditional working arrangement.
Of course, as a result of this proliferation of opportunities in the remote work environment, there is also more competition. To stand out, you must know how to differentiate yourself –through careful branding and a solid value proposition. You can say that’s the case for any type of job these days, be it traditional full-time, part-time, freelance or remote, but it seems to be especially true for professionals who want the independence of working outside the office walls.
If like Anna, you are looking for a great remote position that fulfills you professionally, but haven’t had to make a change in a while, here are 4 tips to make you a top candidate.
1. Sharpen your elevator pitch
If you were chatting on the street with a new acquaintance, and they asked what you did, what would be your response?
Would you be able to rattle off (casually, but confidently!) not just the company you worked for, but what your job was all about – what you did, what problems you solved, and how you made a difference.
Yes? Then you are in great shape!
Not yet? No need to despair.
As with pretty much everything in life, practice makes perfect. Know what value you add, be succinct with your message and practice, practice, practice!
2. Dust off your resume
If you’ve been with the same company for a few years, chances are you haven’t laid eyes on your resume in just as long. Yes, the time has come to dust it off. There aren’t too many of us who will look forward to this undertaking. But you know it must be done and it must be done well. Aside from chronicling your work experience, your resume needs to communicate the right message – who you are, what you offer, and how you can make a difference. It’s really just a detailed extension of your elevator pitch.
Do it right – and you will be on the phone in no time, setting up your next interview. If you are a do-it-yourself type, there are many free templates available online to help you jump-start the process. But not everyone can dedicate themselves to this task. After all, a well-written resume requires a focused chunk of time – and not all of us have the time. If that’s you and time is limited, or you’d prefer a trained set of eyes, you are in luck.
This is the bread-and-butter of professional resume writers and career coaches. Why not outsource this task to a good one?
3. Show that you are a self-starter with strong communication skills
Remote companies look to hire people who can work independently with minimal supervision. If you’ve had even one remote job, you are well aware of the challenges involved. Being physically apart from your team, working solo can be draining and at times de-motivating. It is tempting to get distracted and experience a drop in productivity when you are lounging around your house in your pajamas with no one looking over your shoulder.
Which is why in order to succeed in a remote work arrangement, it is imperative that you love what you do and are internally motivated to get up each morning excited to do it! Remote companies will love you if you can show that you are a self-starter who can handle working independently and can produce deliverables under appropriate timelines.
They’ll love you even more if you can show that you are a nimble communicator and relationship builder – after all, there is certain nuance to written and virtual communication that you must master – not necessary more or less challenging than communicating in person, just different. Being able to communicate in a way that’s clear and leaves little room for misunderstandings is key in a remote work situation.
4. Show that you fit with the company culture
No company wants to hire someone who will become unhappy and want to leave in a few months because of the fundamental misalignment in values. Even in a remote work arrangement, where on-boarding and training costs are generally lower than in a traditional work situation, any company seeking a long-term hire will be careful to screen for culture fit. It’s always easier to work with others you like who have a shared sense of purpose and attitude.
So, when your interviews are lined up and you are ready to talk about your skills, experience, and background, don’t forget to think about how you will respond to most common culture fit questions.
Look out for questions like:
1) Describe your best day;
2) Describe your worst day;
3) Tell me about your hobbies; or
4) Tell me about a problem that stumped you and how you handled it.
Are you ready to find your next opportunity? Don’t delay – a great job is closer than you think, even if it’s a few thousand miles away. Yes, there is someone out there looking for exactly what you have to offer, as you are for them.
As for Anna – after a couple of months of targeted searching, she found a great remote position, and she couldn’t be happier!
Be sure to check out our Career Services to find out how our expert team of Career Coaches can help you to differentiate yourself and create a unique value proposition an employer can’t refuse.
About the Author – Natasha Kosoff
Natasha is a certified career coach dedicated to helping others build fulfilling careers aligned with their true passions and strengths. She believes that all of us have unique skills and talents and the power to create and live our best professional lives. Natasha has over 15 years of experience spanning business, government and nonprofit sectors. She is based in the United States, but loves to connect with individuals from all over the world. She has worked remotely for the past 5 years and is a flexible work advocate. When she is not career coaching, she spends her time writing, running outdoors, and parenting her two rambunctious girls.