All digital nomads start pretty much the same way – with zero experience. I know I did. When I decided to go for it, I had no idea how to land a remote job. All I knew was that I was tired of chasing after dead-end jobs and facing wall after blank wall with no end in sight (except for the occasional vacation and weekends that seemed to conclude too soon).
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to landing a remote job that works for you. A lot of people I know started this way before launching careers as full digital nomads. So don’t worry if you’ve never held a remote job before this. There is a current trend for employees who prefer having remote workers because of all the benefits associated with the practice. It’s an excellent time to seek remote jobs. You will need to learn some of the best practices for getting one.
Give your resumé an upgrade
You can’t just pass your decade-old resumé to a potential remote employer and hope for the best. You will need to give it an upgrade – preferably one that reflects your intention to become a remote employee.
To start with, trim away the unnecessary stuff such as awards, quotes, pictures, etc. Then add all the references and past jobs that reflect what makes you an effective remote worker. These can include projects that highlight your communication and problem-solving skills, or ones where you collaborated with a virtual team. If you have a personal website or a blog, make sure to mention them, as well.
Next, add a cover letter for a remote position, specifically. In these days of electronic correspondence, “cover letters” can come to mean an introductory email that mentions the company where you intend to send your application, as well as the specific position you are aiming for. But please – never send a generic cover letter for every application! Personnel managers can see through that right away. Instead, do some prior research and look up the person to whom you will need to address the cover email, and other vital details about the company along with why you want to work with them.
Highlight the skills you have and the tools you know
…tools that are needed for remote work, that is. You may be skilled at lengthy, face-to-face conversations, but remote jobs typically use technology for virtual communication. Your resumé has to feature those tools that you’re familiar with (examples are Telegram, Skype, Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Google Drive, DropBox, Trello, etc.). These apps or software are often utilized by remote employees and the companies they work for. So even if you’ve never worked remotely before, chances are you will be using these tools again when you get hired to do stuff virtually.
Those companies seeking to hire remote employees often look for independent people who know how to manage time, resources, and workload without much supervision. Excellent communication skills are also a must. If past jobs and projects showcase these traits of yours, then by all means, highlight them.
Beef up your network of remote workers and employers
One of the most useful lessons I’ve learned on how to land a remote job is to network, network, and network. This is why I find LinkedIn particularly useful as a digital nomad. It’s easy enough to find companies that are looking for remote workers in particular because of the way they categorize members and encourage connection. Their search function is reliable. LinkedIn also has discussion groups of different topics. Joining some geared explicitly towards remote employment can give you valuable resources for new job opportunities, as well as tips and expert advice.
I also like how other people in your LinkedIn network can “vouch” for your candidacy as a remote worker – there’s a feature there where they can endorse your experiences and special skills. So make sure to add people you’ve had positive working experience with because they can help you take that next big step towards being a remote worker.
Search in all the right places
Remote jobs are there for the taking – you just have to know where to look! I’ve already mentioned LinkedIn, but there are more sites to help you on your journey as a digital nomad. Unlike other employment resources that lump all sorts of jobs (whether remote or office-based) in one portal, sites like FlexJobs and Working Nomads have search features for those specifically looking for remote work.
You can also ask for referrals from digital nomad colleagues and friends. A lot of companies that look for remote workers prefer referrals from employees who can vouch for their skills and reliability. While you’re at it, do some research on the companies that have opened up to remote work, and see which ones are a good fit with what you’re looking for.
Use keywords to help companies find you
Aside from having your website, a bit of SEO knowledge will go a long way into getting hired for a remote job. It can be as essential as knowing the right combination of words to optimize the search function of a job resource site. Or, you can already use specific keywords like “remote position,” “work from home,” and other combinations on your online resumé or website profile to make you searchable.
We are seeing a dramatic shift in companies opening up to the idea of remote workers due to many reasons. Convenience and economic concerns are chief among them. Businesses no longer need to have a physical space to conduct their work process, thus significantly cutting down on electricity, rent, and other expenses. Perhaps one of the most attractive benefits of having remote workers is the overall reduction of carbon footprint.
In turn, those seeking to work remotely – whether it’s in the comfort of their own homes or anywhere else they find comfortable – do not have to deal with traffic, office politics, and the traditional costs of physically being present in a workplace. It’s a good thing that there are now plenty of opportunities to get hired as a remote worker, even without prior experience.