3/1/2021

Standing Out as a Remote Job Applicant

The popularity and growth of remote employment is nothing new. In 2018, there were 4.3 million remote workers in the U.S. That made up over 3% of the American workforce. 

Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become the norm for millions more. 

Remote work is so appealing because it tends to offer more flexibility and a better work-life balance. But, because it’s so popular, that can make it harder to stand out when you’re applying for the jobs you want. 

Now, more than ever, the remote market is competitive. You’ll only have a short window of time to grab an employer’s attention. Even if you do, going through the hiring process might be different than what you’re used to. 

So, how can you stand out from your competition, land the remote job you want, and feel comfortable with the process?

Start with a Solid Resume

A good resume is still as essential for remote jobs as in-person positions. Standing out on your resume is also just as important. It’s estimated that hiring managers spend six seconds looking at a resume before moving on – unless, of course, something grabs their attention. 

So, what can you do to your resume to help it stand out in a pool of qualified remote applicants?

The most important thing is to keep your resume achievement-centered. That means focusing on effectively displaying your career achievements throughout your resume. But, it’s not about just listing them off. A list can let an employer know your accomplishments, but it’s not enough. Instead, write your achievements in a way that makes an employer want to know more. 

Outstanding achievements require action. So, after jotting down the achievement, include why or how it was achieved. List specific challenges or obstacles you had to overcome. 

Centering your resume this way will tell an employer a lot about you in a very short period of time. It will not only tell them you’re a dedicated worker but when you talk about how you accomplished things, they will learn about your hard and soft skills without having to go through another list. It’s a creative approach to resume writing and a great way for you to stand out. 

Apart from the good resume, you can also consider creating a portfolio website to demonstrate your experience and skills in a visually compelling way. Portfolio websites are widespread in the creative industry, but if you’re any kind of professional, especially a virtual worker, like a virtual assistant, it’s really worth having one. 

Prepare for a Remote Interview

Despite remote employment growing in popularity, there are still plenty of individuals who aren’t familiar with it or aren’t yet completely comfortable with it. If you’re one of those people, preparing yourself for a remote interview can make a big difference. When you’re uncomfortable on the other side of a computer screen, it shows. 

But, it’s something more people are going to have to get used to. One OfficeTeam survey discovered that 63% of human resource managers said their company often does job interviews via video. 

So, what can you do to feel more comfortable during a remote interview, and how can you make sure it goes smoothly? 

First, think of it as any other in-person interview. Look your best, be confident, and be prepared to answer a variety of questions. Common interview questions are the same whether you’re doing it in-person or virtually. Questions about your leadership style, goals, and past accomplishments are bound to be on the table. If you’re still nervous, keep some of the following tips in mind: 

● Don’t forget to smile on screen

● Have your own questions ready and written down

● Do not interrupt the interviewer – make sure they’re done speaking before you do

● Sign on to the video call early

● Find the right backdrop

The last thing you’ll want to worry about during the interview is your internet connection. So, make sure you’re participating in a place with strong WiFi and minimal distractions. It’s a good idea to do a test run of your audio and video before the interview to make sure everything looks and sounds the way it should. 

Best Communication Practices Behind the Screen

Whether you’re preparing for an interview or a chat with other potential team members, effective communication is essential. You might benefit from a day office-space to make yourself look and feel more professional. That can add a level of comfort if you’re used to working in an office setting. 

But, even if you don’t want to go that route, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to communicating virtually from home. 

Talk to your potential employer about their company’s cybersecurity practices and how they can help you stay safe while you’re working from home. Ask about daily communication and how it works. Bring up questions you might have about connecting with fellow employees. There are never any “wrong” questions when it comes to preparing yourself and communicating online. The employer will likely be glad to know you want your communication efforts to be as clear as possible. 

The remote workforce will continue to grow as technology moves forward. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t land an incredible remote job, as long as you have an edge over other applicants.

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