Everyone’s a job search expert. Or so it would seem once you start looking for a job.
When you tell people you’re on the job hunt, the advice will start flowing in from all corners of your personal and professional network. That’s exactly what happened to me after I quit my corporate job to pursue remote work.
Well-meaning friends and family offered unsolicited advice to help me conquer my work from home job search. The problem? Their “tried and true” words of wisdom weren’t always on point.
In fact, some of it was antiquated. Or, as was the case for me, didn’t really apply to a remote job search. With so much ‘noise’ out there about finding a job, it can be difficult to know what’s good advice and what you should skip.
Fear not. I’ve been in your shoes and can help steer you away from some downright awful work from home job search tips that just don’t work.
1. Apply For Every Work From Home Job You Can Find
Job searching is a numbers game, right? The more you apply to, the greater your chances of getting hired — at least that’s what I was told.
But the truth is, your remote job search is better focused on the right kind of work for you. Maybe you need the flexibility that comes with freelancing. Perhaps you’re ready to start your own virtual assistant biz. Or you might need the steady pay and perks of a remote-friendly employee position.
And then there’s the type of job to consider. This was my a-ha moment. After a particularly tough week in my corporate job, I spent the entire weekend searching for and applying to every single work-from-home job I could find. It wasn’t until I was applying for a remote sales job I was both unqualified for and uninterested in that it hit me: I wasn’t after any ol’ remote job. I wanted something that was flexible, let me be my own boss, and allowed me to flex my creative muscle.
At that moment I hit the ‘pause’ button and vowed to only search for the type of remote job that I would actually want to work. Once I did, I actually made progress in my quest to kick my cubicle to the curb. And just six short months later, I am proud to say I was earning a full-time income as a freelance writer.
Had I not taken the time to reflect on my work-from-home goals and narrow down my job search, I would’ve continued to spend years spinning my wheels.
Sound familiar? That’s ok. Remember, not all work from home jobs are created equal. Figure out first what kind of job you’re after — freelance, employee, business owner — and then identify that type of work you want to do — administrative, customer service, marketing, etc.
These two determinations will make it so much simpler to make progress in your remote job search (and save you lots of time, energy, and frustration!).
2. Show Up In Person To Introduce Yourself
Sometimes, a remote position allows a person to either work from home or come into the office. Other times, you can work from home but must live in a particular city.
Either way, if you happen to live near a company that is hiring a remote role, don’t just show up unannounced to introduce yourself.
You’ve probably heard how effective it is to meet in person, shake some hands, and drop off your resume, but this doesn’t really apply to a remote role. Remember, this isn’t a traditional job search. And the hiring manager won’t necessarily appreciate you dropping in to introduce yourself for a job, especially when it is a work-from-home one. It shows you don’t respect the hiring manager’s time and aren’t really up to date with your virtual office etiquette.
Instead? Apply the old fashioned way and, where appropriate, like your cover letter, let the hiring manager know you’re local and would love the chance to meet up in person, if need be.
3. Save Time By Sending The Same Resume
Resume templates can make it quick and easy to apply to several jobs in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is upload it, hit send, and voila application complete. Convenient, right?
It is. But a standard, template-style resume isn’t the best way to actually secure an interview. In fact, a cooke-cutter resume may never even be seen by an actual human.
The Rise of ATS
Today, more and more companies turn to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage the hiring process more efficiently. With ATS, a recruiter or hiring manager simply plugs in a few keywords and can seen in an instant which resumes match their criteria.
As a job seeker, if your resume doesn’t have these keywords, you can bet it finds its way into the garbage, never to be seen again.
So, before you hit send on a job application, make sure you take the time to properly customize your resume to the specific job you’re applying to. A big part of this is keyword optimization, the process of strategically placing keywords throughout your resume so it’s more easily searched (and foudn!) by ATS.
The simplest way to incorporate more relevant keywords into your resume is by scanning the job ad you’re applying to. When reading it, jot down keywords that stand out — often these are the job title itself as well as must-have hard skills and soft skills.
JobScan Can Help
As a newbie to resume keyword optimization, I can’t recommend JobScan enough. It’s a super simple tool that analyzes your resume against the job ad you’re applying to. It’ll give you a percentage match as well as places you can make improvements. You can try JobScan for free before signing up for a premium account.
Remember, a work from home job search is all about quality over quantity. It’s infinitely better to send out one really well done, optimized resume than it is to send out a dozen generic ones. When you take the time to tailor your resume, you’ll be rewarded with more callbacks and interviews!
4. Just Be Yourself
A whopping 80% of recruiters will scope you out online. And since you won’t get a chance to meet your recruiter in person as a remote job seeker, your online impression is the only impression you’ll get to make. Needless to say, you want it to be a positive one, right?
Right. And while I’m all for being yourself and showing your unique kick-ass personality, it should also be done in a professional manner.
It’s like when you visit your grandparents. You feel comfortable being yourself around them, but also show respect by not dropping massive f-bombs, showing up plastered, or bad mouthing the rest of your family. The same should hold true when you’re in the job market and interacting with possible network connections, recruiters, and hiring managers.
When you share things online, feel free to be yourself but be the best version of yourself. Watch your language, keep images PG-friendly, and never, ever, ever bad mouth current or former companies or coworkers you’ve worked with.
Recruiters and hiring managers scope you out on social media to get a feel for who you are and to see if you’d be a great fit with the company culture. Give them a reason to hire you with your online footprint. Don’t give them a reason to shake their head and cast you in the ‘no’ pile!
Not sure what counts as okay and what you should skip? Keep this in mind. When surveyed, recruiters said these things on social media would make them NOT want to hire someone:
Work From Home Job Search Tips To Ignore
There you have it, 4 downright awful bits of work from home job search advice you should completely ignore. Instead, focus on finding the right jobs for you, perfect your resume each time, abide by virtual office protocol, and clean up your online footprint.
Did I miss something? Is there a piece of job search advice you think is way off point? Let me know in the comments below!
And for even more advice to help you say goodbye to your daily commute, sign up for the remote workers’ free library below. You’ll gain access to cheat sheets, guides, and other freebies that’ll help you say #HelloHomeOffice.
P.S. This post contains affiliate links for JobScan, a website I use and love. Learn more about my use of affiliate links by checking out my disclosure statement.