About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

At the time of writing, it has been 7 years since I quit my office job to work remotely and travel. I secured 4 remote jobs with medium-sized companies to a Fortune 500 company during this time.

Here’s what I learned from 7 years of applying for remote jobs.

It took me 6 months to secure my first interview; yes, it did not start off too well for me due to making many common mistakes.

What you are going to read today is invaluable. Those who are smart enough will learn from my experiences. Introducing these techniques into your next application will result in an interview.

Now, that’s confidence!

What I Learned from 7 Years of Applying for Remote Jobs
Stand back and reflect on mistakes

It all changed when I took a step back and looked at my resume and cover letter from an employer’s perspective. Being self-critical and making improvements will increase your chances of getting hired.

If, in the last week, you’ve sent less than one or more than five job applications, then you’re likely making one of the many mistakes I made early on in my journey. Focus on quality over quantity every single time.

Avoid these common mistakes

The big AHA moment was when I realized that none of the common words from the job listing were included in my resume. This included skills and experience that I have but hadn’t included. Take 5 minutes to highlight popular keywords from the listing and include them.

In 2015, applicant tracking software was not widely used, but most fully-distributed companies will use this now. Still, if a human cannot find the essential criteria for the job in your CV, it’s game over.

Another mistake was thinking that the cover letter was a condensed version of my Resume. Wrong. I used it to introduce myself.

This was an opportunity to tell the company why my skills would benefit and help them achieve their goals. When I asked a friend to read it, her response was, this is boring, Darren! Eeek. Yes, a wake-up call.

Rather than list every mistake I made, here’s a guide on common mistakes when applying for remote jobs. It’s a great read.

Networking gives you superpowers

No, one morning, you will not wake up in a Superman or Wonder woman costume; that would be a little weird! Or is it weird? I am digressing!

Networking is a superpower that so few applicants take advantage of, and we all have it in ourselves. People confuse this with hitting the follow button on Instagram or Twitter; no, you need to make more effort.

Great networking will make getting a remote job easier when you have a group of people with whom you have built a relationship.

It’s one of the reasons why I always leave a job on good terms and keep in touch with people within the company who can help me in the future.

Build relationships with people who can positively impact you when applying for remote jobs in the future. Ideally, the people in your network need some authority within a company or industry.

Networking is powerful. I acquired my first remote job because I attended a WordPress event a few years earlier. I kept in touch with one guy, and when looking for work, I reached out to see if he knew of any opportunities. By chance, the company he worked for was looking for a quality assurance analyst.

It takes time to build relationships, so keep in touch with your network even when you’re employed. Read my guide on using Twitter to get a remote job; if I say so myself, it’s a great read.

LinkedIn is the best place to network online for careers and business, so let’s quickly go through why that is.

You’re missing a trick with LinkedIn

The majority of remote job candidates will leave their LinkedIn profile dormant. Read my guide on creating content on LinkedIn because several hidden gems will super-boost your remote job search.

Always keep your profile up to date. Include your role and what experience you gained throughout your employment. When you finish working for a company, add an entry in the previous work experience.

Look for the companies within the industry you have experience. Start to engage with recruiters and founders and network with them. Over time, your name will stand out, and they will check out your profile.

The fact that you’ve worked for one of their biggest competitors will stand out immediately, attracting intrigue.

They will reach out to you, and then you can start a conversation that could lead to employment. Over the last seven years, several recruiters have approached me on LinkedIn, resulting in an interview.

Be creative to stand out

It can be as simple as spending time learning more about the company.

Do your research – read blog posts and consume social media content. What can you take from that content and write an eye-catching introduction in your cover letter?

Another strategy is to highlight an area of the business that, with your skills, you can improve. It’s time to get creative.

Read more brainstorming ideas in this quick guide, including one strategy I use to land remote jobs as a Quality Assurance analyst.

Show you’re interested in the company

When applying for remote jobs, one of the tasks I do first is to search Google News for the company name. Then, read blog posts or social media content to find helpful information that can be brought up in my cover letter and during an interview.

For a recruiter or HR person, this shows you have made an effort to learn more about the company and its services and products.

That’s it for now – please subscribe to my free remote work email, the Hive. You’ll receive more valuable content like this in your inbox every Sunday. Hopefully, sharing what I learned will help you.

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