Writing A Resume and Cover Letter for Remote Work
The number of teleworkers has increased by 140% since 2005, and these figures will continue to grow. Companies use telecommuting as a benefit to retain and attract the highly-qualified top talent. Remote employees are happy in their jobs 29% more than onsite workers, and maintain a healthier balance between work and life.
Here are just a few statistics that describe the benefits of remote work and its popularity across many industries. Remote work itself assumes that you have a number of extra skills that aren’t mandatory for in-house employees. And your resume should highlight these traits to prove that you will deliver if hired for a remote opening. Today’s tips from the top resume writing services will present the subtle art of crafting a perfect resume for a remote opening.
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Resume writing tips
At first sight, a resume for a remote position doesn’t look much different from the one for a full-time office role. It still has to capture the recruiter’s attention with an informative summary, accurately describe your past experience, projects, and education. Yet, there is a number of specifics to write a resume if you’ve decided to climb career path ladder from your home office:
1. Be mindful of the job description
Obviously, you want to apply for as many jobs as possible to get hired faster. However, it’s essential that you read the job posting top to bottom, paying attention to each and every requirement. This will save you from applying for jobs you’re underqualified for (for instance, if the job requires 3+ years of experience in an account management position and you’ve only worked in retail sales).
When it comes to remote jobs, employers often include a small request to weed out inattentive candidates (such as including the word YELLOW under your contact details). Applying only for jobs you’re qualified for and following the employer’s directions closely will give you more interview chances.
2. Work your way through applicant tracking software
ATS is used by 98 out of Fortune 100 companies, as well as the majority of large- and mid-sized businesses. If your resume is not enriched with necessary keywords, it will be weed out even if your qualifications are just right for the opening.
Is keywording all Greek to you? Here are a few simple steps to make your resume more ATS-friendly:
- Consult the job posting. highlight the frequently mentioned qualifications and skill names in the job posting and use them in a resume in the same form.
- Use online resources to pick keywords. For instance, Jobscan.co and Skillsyncer.com compare your resume against the job description and show which keywords are missing as well as suggest other improvements to ensure that your resume will pass the robots.
- Read our online guide. Here, our resume consultant explains why keywords are important and how to add keywords in the right way.
3. Make it relevant
Resumes for remote jobs need to be relevant and closely tailored to a greater extent than those for onsite vacancies. Remote employees are often hired to complete the highly specialized set of tasks, and your goal as a job-seeker to maximally highlight this relevance.
It’s acceptable to leave out your early and irrelevant jobs and focus on previous experiences that match the target job description. For instance, if you want to apply for a copywriting role that requires writing how-to guides, highlight the experience with similar types of writing in the first place.
4. Make your intentions clear in the summary
Some companies simultaneously hire employees for office jobs and remote ones. Hence, your resume should specifically mention that you consider remote work only. The best place to do it is at the end of your career summary.
Write the summary section as usual, focusing on the strong traits that will help you excel at the role and key accomplishments. At the end of the summary, say ‘Looking for a telecommuting software developer role with an edtech company’. You might want to specify the company name and mention how they could benefit from hiring you either. Making it clear that you’re after the teleworking role will weed out the irrelevant interview calls.
5. Show off your remote work experience
When listing your previous employment and projects, specify that those were remote positions. For remote openings, companies prefer hiring someone who already has experience working from a home office and knows what it takes to manage tasks and operate under no supervision. You might want to create a ‘Remote experience’ section if you’ve worked remotely for some time. There’s also an option to mention it along with the position name, e.g. Project Coordinator (Remote) if you’ve alternated remote positions with onsite ones.
It's also important that you mention skills essential for your success as a remote employee. We’ll talk about them later.
6. List skills specific to remote work
In addition to hard and soft skills you use in your daily work, it’s important to show your ability to perform effectively when working on your own. And the best way to do so is through mentioning skills which are essential for remote professionals.
- Soft skills for remote workers include written communication, self-motivation, organization, time management, adaptability and ability to work independently.
- Hard skills to mention include operating systems (Windows or Mac), office packages (Google and Microsoft Office suite), communication and conferencing tools (Slack, Skype, Zoom) and others depending on your industry.
Want to set effective and achievable career goals? Here’s how to do it: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-set-achievable-career-goals-for-2020.
7. Edit before sending it out
Typos, grammar issues, poor punctuation and other mistakes in writing can sabotage your interview chances. As a remote employee, you are expected to communicate in flawless English and to be attentive to detail, and your resume should prove these traits through error-free writing.
Give your resume a few rounds of editing before submitting it. Read it aloud sentence by sentence to spot awkward phrases and incomplete sentences. Use an online spell checker such as Grammarly.com or Online-spellcheck.com to fix routine typos and misused commas. As a part of the editing process, you might also want to work on the structure and formatting of your resume to make it easy on the eye. Finally, consider hiring a pro resume editor to make sure your resume is spotless.
8. Attach a tailored cover letter
Accompanying your resume with a cover letter is a must, since many recruiters won’t even read a resume without it. A cover letter for a remote job should expand on your previous remote experience and skills in further detail. For instance, if your resume states that you’ve managed social media and doubled the number of unique visitors, you can use a cover letter to explain what helped you succeed. You can also mention any details relevant to what the employer specifically asks for, i.e. write that you have a fully furnished home office or that you can work under tight deadlines.
A good cover letter should be 3-4 paragraphs long. Make it concise to ensure that the busy recruiter takes time to actually read and pay closer attention to your candidacy.
Bonus: 4 secrets for effective remote work
- Develop a schedule and follow it strictly. It’s no secret that working from home makes you more relaxed, so you tend to postpone the tasks till the evening and then stay up late trying to meet pressing deadlines. Treat teleworking as a usual job. Set yourself working hours, and don’t allow any distractions during this time.
- Make to-do lists and task managers your best friends. Again, you need to organize your day just like if you were doing it in the office. Determine your workload for the day and plan the order of tasks, prioritizing them by importance. You might use simple to-do lists and cross out the completed items. If you’re a fan of technology, try the electronic helpers such as Trello, Todoist or Google Tasks.
- Schedule short breaks. Avoid falling into trap of mixing working time and countless distractions. Instead, block all distractions as you work and give yourself 5- or 10 minute breaks each hour or so. Use this time to stretch up, chat on social media, or to do the laundry. Longer breaks are less efficient since you’ll lose the flow, whereas the short ones will recharge your energy.
- Alter the work locations. Your cozy home office might feel like a perfect fit, and the commute takes you only a few seconds every morning. Yet, changing locations time after time will give you a sense of novelty, increasing your focus or productivity. Try working from the back yard, a quiet restaurant or coffee shop, or a coworking space.
Get a professional resume for a remote job
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