What prompted my remote job search
Before my partner and I decided to live in an RV, we lived in an 800 square foot apartment in a suburb near Oklahoma City. We both had jobs we commuted to and quickly realized this lifestyle didn’t work for us.
For over a year, we lived by people who were our neighbors but we barely knew them. We weren’t fulfilled in our jobs, we hated the traffic, and the general vibe of the city. Now, I’m not here to hate on “city life” but it just wasn’t for us.
We loved the mountains and longed to live a lifestyle where we could spend more time outdoors, pursue peace, and live more simply. We decided it was time to move, but where?
The pursuit of location independence and remote work
How would we know we’d actually like where we lived?
What if there was a family emergency and we couldn’t get there fast enough?
We need a flexible way to live that allowed us travel, live and work where we wanted, and visit family and friends. I knew before we could decide where to live I needed a remote job so I could work no matter where we lived.
I already had some remote work experience at my previous job, so I knew I had something to work with on my resume.
Searching for remote work
But I made the mistakes that many make when they began job searching:
- Changing the design thinking that will make a huge difference
- Adding every little detail you can about each position you’ve had
- More than two pages
- No real quantitative data to back up the qualitative and subjective “accomplishments” listed
- No testimonials or references that speak directly to your accomplishments
- And more
I probably revised my resume at least ten different times (no exaggeration). My profiles on LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Dice, CyberCoders, etc. all said the same thing with the same resume attached.
I’d apply to any position that somewhat matched the title I was looking for without researching the description, salary, or company. I effectively blasted my resume all across the United States without a real sense of direction just to get any job that allowed me to work remotely.
Trust me when I say: this is the worst possible way to search for a job.
Even if you found a job this way, how can you really be sure you will enjoy what you do or the company you work for? Without a full understanding of what you have to offer and how that applies to what a company is looking for, you will waste both you and your potential employer’s time.
Both you and the company are looking for the right fit. You owe it to yourself to put more effort into where you will spend the majority of your weekdays.
How I found TopResume: advertisement on GlassDoor
After weeks of applying and no real solid leads, I was at my wit’s end. The lease on our apartment was up soon and I needed hope that working remotely was actually possible.
Would could it hurt?
I immediately uploaded my resume and patiently awaited a response.
How it works
After uploading your resume, I waited for a couple of days before I got an email from a REAL person from the TopResume team.
At first I thought it was a scam but I quickly discovered there were actual humans behind this website that cared about my ability to accomplish my career goals and land a remote job.
For more information on how the process works, check out their FAQ section.
How to work with your resume writer
Your resume writer is there to help you. But, you need to come prepared with a very specific goal in mind for your resume.
For me, that was landing a remote job. So, highlighting my ability to deliver results and my past remote work experience was important. As a secondary focus, I also wanted to highlight the variety of software and technical skill set I had because I wanted to move into a more technical role.
Why is this important?
You need to think very clearly about what you want from your career. Do you prefer high level strategy and innovative visionary work? Or do you prefer executing business objectives set forth from leadership?
Your previous experience can help inform this decision.
What I learned about ATS (applicant tracking systems)
What is an ATS?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be implemented or accessed online on an enterprise or small business level, depending on the needs of the company and there is also free and open source ATS software available. (via Wikipedia)
Historically, the ATS was used for large companies that dealt with thousands of submitted resumes. Now, it has become a staple piece of software that helps employers and recruiters collect, sort, scan, and rank resumes for available job openings.
Think of an ATS like Google. It collects and sorts through resumes using an algorithm. If you resume doesn’t make the cut, it won’t be see on the first page.
Today, thousands of companies rely on this software to automate and streamline their recruitment process.
I had no idea this was even a thing until I discovered TopResume and began working with my resume writer. I thought to myself, “No wonder I wasn’t getting any phone calls!”
How does an ATS work?
An applicant tracking system acts as a gatekeeper for the employer. Its job is to weed out any unqualified candidates by reviewing specific keywords in their resume.
Then, the software will determine if the candidate met the criteria of the job and pass the resume to the hiring manager or toss your resume
How can I format my resume for applicant tracking systems?
Most companies use this technology today so it’s important that you develop your resume to pass through an ATS regardless of the size of the organization.
How I used my new resume
After receiving my new resume, I was stoked. I updated my resume on all my job site profiles and rather than blasting it all over the world, I began to dive deeper into remote positions that fit my career goals.
I started to email hiring managers at companies directly with a customized cover letter, rather than using their job portal to apply (unless it was required). By doing this, I got a much better response rate. Again, companies want to see why you are specifically interested in working for them.
If you apply with a canned template or response, it doesn’t really show the hiring manager or employer why you want to work for them – just that you want a job that pays well.
Filling out multiple job applications with the same information is redundant. However, it is crucial to follow the company’s hiring policy to be considered.
Why I recommend TopResume
Here are a few reasons I’m such a huge advocate of TopResume:
- I wasted too many hours making senseless revisions to my resume that weren’t getting responses. When I hired a TopResume resume writer, I stopped focusing on whether my resume was working. Instead, I focused on finding a remote job that fit my career goals.
- I was frustrated that revision after revision and multiple submissions my phone wouldn’t ring for weeks. With each new resume I uploaded to my job site profiles, I was disappointed if my phone wasn’t ringing the next day. By allowing someone else to focus on my resume and design to capture hiring manager’s attention, I could focus on preparing my responses to questions for initial phone interviews.
- Even though I’m a marketer by trade, I had trouble marketing and selling myself. I needed someone to look at my resume and career goals and objectively and help me achieve them by highlighting my strengths and ability to deliver results.
You can upload your resume today and get a free review with no obligation, but I do highly recommend utilizing their professional resume writers to update your resume.
As I said before, using TopResume was the key factor in my ability to land a remote job and I would use them again!