I’ve spent the last five years in a remote-first company, which grew from receiving a couple of hundreds of job applicants per week to over 25 thousand job applications every single week. In this post, I’ll try to show you how to hack your way into your first remote job. You might want to bookmark 40 best remote jobs of February.
Full-time remote jobs are getting more popular every single day, there are great career opportunities out there. Skilled individuals and companies are enjoying the abundance of remote jobs and remote workers.
Just like any other major employer, remote companies are also relying on ATSs (Application Tracking Systems) for automating and eliminating noise so they can focus on signals. This may feel robotic or even cruel but there is a valid reason behind this; there are a lot more people than available jobs and companies need to carefully allocate their limited resources for candidate evaluation.
What I’m offering you in this post is a cognitive shift, you are unique and valuable, there’s only one of yourself, but many companies. Let’s build your very own JTS (Job Tracking System) and move on systematically for securing a full-time remote job for you.
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Are you interested in finding a full-time remote job in 2020? Here’s a list of to-dos for hacking your next remote job application.
- Manage your remote job applications in a structured way
The first task is building a Google sheet, an inventory of the full-time remote jobs you’ve applied with this initiative. If you are lucky enough, you will have at least 10 open positions from different companies.
We’re going to use this sheet as the single source of truth and track the response and success rates of your job applications. You can go ahead and add more information about the jobs you’ve shortlisted here, but I suggest keeping it extremely simple for starters.
- Manage your online presence and personal brand
A good employer is going to review your social media presence, your personal brand and the content you’re creating online in order to understand what type of professional you are and the experience you have.
I suggest you use your real name on social media and be visible in a professional way. Make sure you have a continuous flow of professionally relevant content going out of your social media accounts. If I was hiring a Java expert, I’d love to see this candidate experimenting, commenting or even contributing to cutting edge technologies around Java. I’d love to see his contributions and approach to open source projects on Github for instance.
If you haven’t already, you should start by Googling your name and redesigning your online presence. It must be 100% relevant and easily understandable. A great profile picture and a great flow of relevant, edgy content. Pretty similar to designing software, don’t make them think.
Any employer would go ahead and hire someone who is both experienced, skilled and also influential in her/his area.
- Things to do before you apply for a remote job
Let’s say you built a decent list of remote jobs that are 100% related to your profile and expectations. I suggest subscribing to WorkRemote Job Alerts because we’re only promoting 100% remote, full-time jobs. FlexJobs and WeWorkRemotely are also good options.
There are hundreds of job boards out there, just shortlist 10 ideal jobs for you and take action. Apply for globally remote companies.
Yes. Many of the tech jobs or knowledge jobs are available in the US. That is a fact. ‘Remote-US’ or ‘Remote (East Coast)’ is not remote. If you happened to live outside of the US, apply exclusively for global remote positions for keeping your motivation because other companies are not going to evaluate your profile and this can get very frustrating for remote job applicants.
Another important point is Employer reputation, offering a globally remote position isn’t enough, you will need to do your own research about this company on Glassdoor, just log in and see what other applicants think about your potential employer. You don’t want to end up working in a company with a toxic work environment.
So the company is hiring globally, compensation is great, reputation is strong and you think you are the best fit for their open position. It’s time to go deeper.
Start doing research on what exactly is this company doing and what might be their major challenges? Who are the potential decision-makers? Go ahead and learn more about the hiring managers of this position and understand their thought system and priorities. Try to shape your profile, resume and cover letter aligned with their expectations. Don’t lie, just highlight your experiences.
For example, if this is a software company, your homework would be looking at their top products, top customers, their technology stack (Using tools like stack.G2.com) for a better understanding. What are their potential challenges and what can you do to help them overcome?
Applying for a job and getting accepted with no extras is dead. Hiring managers are expecting smart individuals who do their homework, who do their own research and come back with great solutions.
Be the person who is offering potential solutions, even if it’s not 100% doable at that moment, it’s going to impress them because very few job applicants are offering well-thought suggestions, improvement and optimization ideas.
- Before you submit the form or take tests
Expect tough tests and homework assignments before you apply to a full-time remote job. You may not enjoy all of it, but you need to understand a remote company must test rigorously simply because going globally remote means opening their virtual company doors up to billions of people.
Many of the employers out there today are using objective testing tools such as Criteria Corp’s famous CCAT for eliminating the noise and focusing on the signal as I’ve mentioned before.
Objective test results are the baseline for many employers, so if you fail at a cognitive capabilities test, they’re not going to proceed with you for this role. Get familiar with testing tools using prep courses online. This is not going to make you smarter than who you are but help you get better at managing your time and performing under stress.
Do not try to take any job application-related challenge from your mobile device. Try to use your computer and take them in a silent environment. Some employers do a quick 5 mins ‘sanity check’ with candidates before delivering any test, so make sure your mobile number is correct and available for international calls. An HR professional can call you to see if you are capable of communicating in English.
Don’t use nicknames, be as formal as possible with your personal data. Some candidates are trying to outsmart HR professionals with their knowledge. Explain your experience in detail and avoid looking like a smartass. You’d be surprised how much power that HR professional has on your career in this company during the application process.
Don’t make life harder for HR people, it’s very hard to identify you when you define yourself as a ‘Java wizard’ or ‘Kotlin ninja’. It’s very hard to categorize you this way. If they are looking for a Senior Java Developer, they’re going to have to eliminate you.
Do not steal, this is a very important detail which most of the candidates tend to forget.
For example, say you have a coding challenge or a writing challenge or a design challenge in this job application. If you steal assets, content pieces or code pieces while working on your challenge – technology is so advanced today – they can easily identify and eliminate you.
Sit down and do the hard work. If you have to use other people’s work, give credit and be open about it. In the end, we’re trying to optimize your response rate in your very own Job Tracking System.
- Things to do after you apply for a remote job
Now you finished a job application.
It’s perfectly fine to follow up with the company. You put in the hard work and invested your valuable time in it, it’s their moral obligation to get back to you with an answer.
Thanks to your beautiful Job Tracking Sheet, you know how many jobs you’ve applied for and how many of them got back to you.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies publishing fake open positions and using job posts as some sort of advertising tool. These companies are trying to look like they’re hiring tons of people and business is great.
Wait for two weeks after application and ping the potential decision-makers for checking in on your job application if you really believe you are a good fit for this role. Find relevant contacts using Linkedin and other platforms. It’s your right, and they have a moral obligation to get back to you either with a rejection or approval message.
‘How to’ Remote Work Content Series
- How to fire a remote employee
- How to perform shrink-to-grow in a remote team
- How to hire your first remote employee
Would you like to tell your job application story? Go ahead and share it with the WorkRemote community in the comments.