Guest Post bt Bart Turczynski
It’s settled — you want to work from home. You’ve found a few nice job postings, you’re slowly tweaking your resume to reflect your worth as an employee.
However, in order to succeed at landing a remote job, it’s not enough to have an impeccable resume. Work-from-home is a popular industry, so there’s plenty of competition.
Here’s how you can boost your chances of landing that dream job by contacting the right person the right way.
Obviously, step one is all about getting your resume up to scratch. Like it or not, resumes are the coin of the realm when it comes to recruitment. You simply must read up on writing guides and how-to’s to best tailor your application to the employer’s needs. Only then does it make sense to apply tips outlined in this article.
Pro tip #1: Recruiters are more than likely to look your name up on Google, so make sure you clean up your online presence — delete potentially embarrassing tweets, Facebook updates, and photos featuring you and your good friend, Merlot.
Even if you send a stellar resume, a sub-par online presence will take you out of the running when so many people are interested in working remotely.
Now, let’s get to it.
1. How to figure out who to contact in the first place
Applications are usually sent to a general email address or are submitted via a special online recruitment platform. However, sometimes there are no guidelines provided or a specific contact person mentioned.
Note: You should be careful about submitting unsolicited resumes to potential employers. If you’re polite about it and your message is targeted, you can make a great first impression. However, if you haven’t put in enough effort to get things right, this strategy can backfire.
Here’s how to figure out who to contact.
Log into your LinkedIn account (you are using one already, right?) Type the name of the company into the search field and click “People who work for XXX.”
Note: You may need to do an advanced search to find the company’s hiring manager.
Found the recruiter? Great, give their profile a look. Some HR staffers post info about vacancies they want to fill on their profile. This is perfect — you are free to contact them.
Be sure to explain why you’re contacting them and why they should add you to their network when you type up your message.
Tell them the position you’re interested in and demonstrate you’re knowledgeable about the company (e.g., mention an article you read about the company, esp. if it was shared or written by the hiring manager etc.)
It would be much better, however, if you could also refer to a project or aspect of the company that you find admirable. Be natural and don’t wax poetic — yes, you want to show your enthusiasm for the job, but you don’t want to overdo the platitudes.
Pro tip #2: Connecting with the recruiter on LinkedIn is a bit like announcing you’ll be making a visit. It’s a polite heads-up about the email you’re going to send them.
If you penned the right kind of message, they’ll be anticipating an email from you, plus, they’ll know something about you by the time they receive it.
Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious who will be reading your resume.
If you have to send it to a general email address, crafting the perfect message is key. If you’re applying to a large company, your resume will be just one of several dozen (if not hundreds) of similar resumes and generic emails.
2. Use the Email Subject Line to Stand Out
Sure, a clear and simple general subject line is fine. Just don’t expect recruiters to really notice your message.
Before you start tweaking your subject line, double-check that you’re following the instructions in the job posting.
Usually, you’ll be asked to:
- write the title of the position,
- add the reference number.
Pro tip #3: You should have some space left. Use it to show off what an excellent candidate you are. Got a skill or qualification that is required by the employer? Mention it in the subject line.
Here’s an example: “[position title], [position reference number], MA in marketing.”
This will help recruiters notice your message and see your application as relevant to the offered position.
3. Write a Compelling Email
Surprising as it may seem, many candidates send empty emails with application documents in the attachment. This is bad manners and a wasted opportunity.
Recruiters read the emails from candidates. But even if they just scan the message, they won’t download and read your resume if there is nothing for them to scan in the first place. If you didn’t care to write a quick message, why should the recruiters care about your application?
Your message should catch the recruiter’s attention and make them want to download and read your tailored resume.
Your salutation should include the name of the contact person/hiring manager. Starting with “to whom it may concern” is not a strong opening.
Now, refer to the job posting and tell recruiters why you’re applying for this position. An explanation is all the more important for candidates new to working from home and to those with an entry-level resume.
Provide the hiring manager with relevant information about your qualifications and experience. Give them a reason to invite you to an interview.
4. Pay Attention to Your File Names
Oddly enough, few candidates ever think about names they put on files with their application documents. Lazy placeholder names such as “CV” or “resume_copy(1),” don’t make a great first impression. It’s not hard to imagine that they’ll be seen as sloppy. The signal is clear — you don’t pay attention to detail or just don’t care about the job offer.
This is how you should name your files:
Want some brownie points? Add the company’s (or the recruiter’s) name to your files. You’ll show them that you’ve tailored your resume and cover letter to the job posting. Plus, any extra effort you put in will signal that you really are interested in the opportunity.
Want to get more job opportunities? Stop spamming each and every job board out there. Start personalizing your submissions. Get that attention-grabbing subject line and compelling message.
Moreover, make sure your application documents are impeccable. First impressions matter. Tailor that resume, format it properly. Do the same for the cover letter and email you send out along with your application documents.
If you do this, you start hearing back from recruiters in no time and finally get that perfect remote job.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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