How to land your remote job in 5 easy…wait…no, that was a lie….just 5 steps. They’re not going to be easy. I just said that to get you here. It’s not going to be easy. Just like anything that is worth having, you’ve got to put in the hard work. If it was easy, you would have a remote job and you wouldn’t be googling how to find a remote job.
So…let’s get to it.
When I made the decision that I wanted to go fully remote, I hit the ground running with a plan. You need a plan…you can’t just sit around wishing for a remote job because there are thousands of other people just like you who want to revolt against pants. That’s right…we all know the truth…we hate pants. Remote job = no pants. If you want to join #teamnopants, you’re going to need a plan.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Step 1: Make a list of what you want
Seriously. I’m not kidding. Sit down with a piece of paper and draw a line straight down the middle. At the top on the left side write “Must Have” and on the right you’re going to write “Nice to Have”. On the left you’re going to write down all the things that are your absolutes…like REMOTE. Yeah, that’s kind of a big one…since this whole post is about nailing that remote job. For me, personally, I started by writing what I MUST make…and then on the right…what I’d LIKE to make. Think about benefits, hours, management structure, what kind of work you want to do. It sounds like a daunting task, but you can do it. I have faith in you. Plus…it’s totally fluid. you’ll find that you’re actually pretty flexible on your must haves…trust me. Really think outside the box here and think about what you want? Do you want a position where you’re flying solo under the radar and getting your job done with minimal interaction or do you need GoToMeetings and Skype and teamwork? If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what to look for.
Once you write down what you want, it’s time to figure out WHO you want. I sat down and gathered my resources, which were a number of websites that featured remote jobs. I was not looking so much at the jobs themselves, but the companies.
Step 2: Identify companies with a remote culture.
By identifying companies that embraced a remote culture, I was able to research the companies, the CEOs and other officers and get a general climate for the company culture.
Since I was looking for tech/developer positions, these are the resources I used to determine which companies had a remote culture:
Now that you’ve corralled a few remote ponies…it’s time to dust off your GoogleFu and do some hardcore research…
Step 3: Research the companies with a remote culture.
1 word: GLASSDOOR. Start there and read the reviews. Read the good ones and the bad ones. Google the company, find their youtube channel and their twitter accounts. Is the CEO visible? Do they participate in charity events? Have any of the leaders done TED talks? Do they speak at conferences? Dig into all their LinkedIn profiles.
I cannot stress how important this part is. There is a large company in the healthcare industry that has amazing salaries, amazing positions, flexible schedules…it all sounds too good to be true. Guess what? It is. A peek into GlassDoor and some handy google searching and I found that employees were MISERABLE. They were numbers, they were treated poorly and they lasted a few months…if that. For you, hey…that fat, yet temporary, paycheck may work for you. Maybe you have low self esteem and you’re a glutton for punishment, maybe you just like poopy companies…not me. I want my work to be valued and I want to work for a company that has a great track record with employees. Yeah, that’s right…I value the “H” word…..HAPPY.
Once you find a few companies that you identify with and don’t appear to completely suck, start looking at their open positions.
Step 4: Research open positions.
Find something that sort of kind of fits. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get your resume in their hands. Even if there is nothing that fits …SEND IT ANYWAY! What’s the worst that happens? They don’t get back to you? You’ll never know if you don’t try! Hearing NO is a part of life and you’ll be better for it. There was one company that I REALLY wanted to work for and they had the PERFECT position…so I thought. I sent my resume and my phone interview lasted 3 minutes. It was horrible. I was devastated. She wanted nothing to do with me because I wasn’t a master at MDX. I matched every other requirement except that and I could’ve gotten up to speed quickly. So, that didn’t work out…but I dusted my bottom off and I got back on my unicorn.
Step 5: Apply. Suck it up when you get rejected. Keep applying.
You’re not Stuart Smalley and not everyone is going to like you. Get over it. You’re not a special snowflake and people are going to tell you no. Don’t let it get to you. Use the rejections as an opportunity to figure out what you did wrong and how to do it better next time.
How do you keep moving forward? Send your resume. Repeat. SEND YOUR RESUME. Hit those companies that you identify with hard. Apply for multiple positions. GET YOUR RESUME IN THEIR HANDS. Maybe the timing was wrong, maybe the positions don’t seem right…so just keep putting your resume out there and keep going after those companies.
….and that folks…is where the magic happens….wiggling door knobs.
There was a company I loved. I watched speeches by the founder, I read countless old articles about the failures and successes of their startup. I researched their culture and their employees. I knew I wanted to work for them. They had multiple remote positions open that sort-of-kind-of fit but I wanted IN and I didn’t care if it wasn’t something I absolutely love. I wiggled their door knobs…I knocked…I rang the bell…I licked the windows until they let me in.
Note to self: Whoever told you to only go after your dreams and wait for the perfect opportunity is a fool and a liar. Doors will only open when you are willing to walk around wiggling the knobs.
That’s it. Make a plan. Research. Wiggle knobs.
Oh…and good luck!