Your telecommute job search isn’t a unique situation. Thousands of people (if not more) are searching for home-based work every day. While you can take comfort in knowing that not everyone is searching for the same types of jobs as you, it remains that jobs allowing us to work from home continue to gain in popularity.
Despite the competition, a job search doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are a few things you can do to streamline your search, find “hidden” jobs, and get your resume in front of the right people.
Make the Most of Your Telecommute Job Search
What follows are a few hacks to try when looking for a remote job or opportunity. (Affiliate links may be used in this post.)
1. Use filters on job search engines
If it feels like you’re weeding through the same job results on the same job search engines, you might be able to make a more productive search for yourself using keyword and filters. For example, if you rock using specific software or you’re an expert in a specific tool or industry, use those as your search terms. Here are some filters to consider:
- Date: Set the telecommute job search so you can see only the most recent jobs. This helps to weed out the job ads that are too old, or jobs you’ve already seen before
- Salary: Avoid wasting your time looking at opportunities that pay too little. Set your search tool to your desired range and you won’t even have to look at low paying opportunities.
- Level of experience: You won’t have to hear the words “under qualified” or “overqualified” if you set your search to your specific level of experience. Use keywords such as “Junior,”Senior,” or “mid-level” to find jobs you’re qualified to handle – or to up your level of expertise.
- Brand names: Use brand names in your keywords to find opportunities within the companies you wish to work.
2. Don’t make your search location specific
Branch out beyond your neighborhood. The beauty of remote work is you don’t have to stick to jobs in town. Use words and phrases such as “remote,”telecommute,” and “home-based” to find remote opportunities that aren’t location specific.
3. Find new places to search
Avoid relying on one particular source for hunting for work. Mix and match.Instead of sticking to one or two popular search sites consider checking all available resources. Sometimes it means you have to weed through a lot of clunkers (I’m looking at you, Craigslist), but it’s worth it – especially if you find and land an awesome job as a result.
4. Don’t only rely on search engines and listing services
Using search engines such as Indeed is helpful, but don’t only rely on those search engines to find jobs. For example, using LinkedIn or Facebook groups geared towards job sharing, or Twitter job search hashtags are also helpful. Conferences and local networking events can help you learn about opportunities face to face, and friends and relatives can tell you about available opportunities where they work. Searching for a job isn’t only about searching online for five minutes. There are plenty of ways to look for work if you’re creative about it.
4. Send resumes out first thing in the morning
Email inboxes begin filling up around 10:00 a.m. and keep filling up until about 2 or 3:00 p.m. This means if you send an email during a peak time, it may not get the attention it deserves. However, if you send a resume out before 9:00 a.m., it has the best chance of getting looked at. Why? Because it’s the first thing a hiring agent sees when s/he logs in, before the day’s rush. Thus, if you see a job you like at 3:00 p.m., wait until 8:00 a.m the next morning to apply as it has a better chance of really being seen.
6. Monday morning is a good time to send resumes
Before you send that resume, think about what day you’re sending it. It should stand to reason that if you send it out Saturday morning no one will see it until Monday morning – where it’s getting lost in the weekend’s mail. In fact, your resume has the best chance of beeing seen if you send it first thing Monday morning.
By sending your resume at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, it’s at the top of the pile. As the day and the week go on, the email in a hiring agent’s inbox grows. While your email isn’t going to be thrown away, the chance of it getting someone’s full attention diminishes as the day and week progress.
It should probably go without saying that Friday afternoon is a really bad time to apply for a job. Everyone wants to go home for the weekend, they don’t want to work late and read resumes.
7. Apply to places that aren’t listed as remote
Sometimes a job isn’t listed as remote because it didn’t occur to the hiring agent to allow people to work from home. Unless a job specifically states “no remote,” there’s no harm in applying to a job that isn’t local to you. You’ll have to make it clear you’re a remote applicant, but if you stand out as the best candidate, there’s no reason why HR shouldn’t consider it. It doesn’t hurt to try!
8. Read all instructions in the job ad
Cookie-cutter resumes and cover letters are a thing of the past, as is blindly scanning a job ad. People who hire want to know you understand what the job entails and candidates know how to follow directions. Thus, it’s important to read an entire job ad through before applying. In fact, many job listings now have specific instructions to follow, in order to weed out “scanners.” Sometimes they’ll ask you to put specific words in the subject line, or ask for certain details in your cover letter. Not following directions can mean your resume is automatically trashed.
9. It’s OK to follow up but don’t be a pest
The people who hire love when candidates show initiative. There’s nothing wrong with following up on a job application providing you give HR personnel enough time to mull over applications, and providing you’re not pushy or inquire more than once. If you’re going to follow up, it’s best to wait a couple of weeks to make sure HR had enough time to mull things over. If you don’t hear from anyone within a reasonable period after the follow-up, assume you didn’t get the job.
10. Use industry-specific search engines
Use job search tools and services geared towards your specific industry. For example, if you’re a coder, find services that only list coding opportunities. This will streamline your search and you won’t waste time weeding through jobs that don’t apply to you.
11. Personalize your resume and cover letter
HR personnel read hundreds of resumes and cover letters for every available job. If you’re going to have the same cover letter and resume as everyone else, how will you even stand out? Take some time to personalize each cover letter so it’s specific to the individual job application. Also, add some personality to your resume. Keep it professional but don’t be afraid to add color, humor, or other creative aspects to make your application different from all the others.
12. Don’t be afraid to network
There’s no shame in letting others know you’re available for interviews. Whether you attend local business networking events, conferences, or you’re networking online, spend some time talking to people who are looking to hire. Having a conversation and finding out what a company is looking for – and discussing how you’re qualified – can put you front and center before other applications. That isn’t to say you should stalk HR personnel, but there’s nothing wrong with striking up a conversation and seeing where it takes you.
13. See who is viewing your resume on LinkedIn
Recruiters, HR personnel, and talent scouts spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. It might be in your best interests to see who viewed your LinkedIn profile and where they’re from. It could mean they’re searching for worthwhile candidates for a job opening. If so, you can research their business, look into available opportunities within that business, and even reach out to that person directly to see if there’s a good fit.
14. Use keywords in your resume
I’m sorry to tell you that the chances of hiring personnel reading every word of your resume and cover letter are slim to none. Most use scanning software to search for buzzwords and keywords. Use job specific keywords and phrases in your resume, taking care to make it sound natural. Once HR is interested, they’ll read the whole thing through.
15. Research the companies you apply to
Companies love it when they know you do your homework. First, it shows that you’re truly interested in the job. Second, it shows your thorough and that you’re not just sending out applications willy-nilly. Finally, knowing something about the company and the job you’re applying to means you’ll go that extra mile to get the job done.
Searching for a job doesn’t have to be a full-time gig
It’s simple, really. Streamline your telecommute job search so you’re not wasting time, send your application in at a time when it’s most likely to get full attention, and do what you can to stand out from the competition in a positive way.