Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated in your search for a remote job? Maybe you’ve found some interesting roles, but they don’t offer the work-life balance you need.
If so, you’re not alone. Many people are seeking remote work to achieve their career goals, but they’re struggling to land a quality position that will support their career.
Job searching can quickly feel disheartening, but you don’t need to discard your focus on creating a healthy balance.
You can find a quality job providing the flexibility and career growth you’re longing for. It all comes down to how you strategize and plan your job search.
The idea of a shortcut to a quick and easy job search is understandably appealing. But the trouble is, those shortcuts are rarely legitimate or as easy as they’re advertised to be.
To help, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you pursue a more effective job search. With these strategies, you can find the right position with a quality company and avoid the online scams that threaten your future and your finances.
1. Get To Know Yourself
First things first, you need to know yourself well enough to set yourself up for success. Take time for self-reflection. Define your passions and interests to target your dream job.
Taking a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator (MBTI), can help you get a big-picture perspective of what drives you.
Tip: If you haven’t already, take a personality test and read through the results for inspiration. Try the Enneagram Personality Test and/or the 16 Types Personality Test from Truity.
2. Establish Your Goals
Don’t leave your career up to circumstance. Create goals that you can check in with, rather than chasing every opportunity that comes along.
Establish your salary requirements, what type of flex you need, which type of work environment you’d thrive in, etc.
Once you have that list, you can prioritize it in order of importance. Before you pursue a job, double-check how it measures up to your goals.
Tip: Consider making a vision board to help you define your career goals and aspirations. Explore the process from beginning to end at BetterUp.
3. Master Time Management
Time management is crucial in nearly every field, and even more so if you’re planning to work remotely, where it’s easy to let the lines between work and personal time blur in unhealthy ways.
Start practicing your time management skills to keep your job search productive. Set aside time daily and weekly to outline and prioritize your job search tasks.
Stick to your schedule, honor your breaks, and take some time away from your job search tasks too.
Tip: One of the most popular time management methods among professionals is The Pomodoro Technique. Try out a free timer to manage your focus periods at Pomofocus.io.
4. Establish a Routine
Consistency is your best friend in your job search. Establish a routine that works with your strengths and natural rhythms, rather than against them.
Are you a night owl? Maybe after dinner works best. Early bird? Get up before the sun.
Whatever it is, stick with your routine. The novelty of your job search will wear off, but a pattern to fall back on will help you maintain your momentum.
Tip: Are you a visual learner that needs to see the big picture? You might love ClickUp. With the free version, you can create a daily routine that helps you approach your job search tasks with more intention.
5. Know Your Worth Before You Have To Share It
How much time do you spend researching a product to understand its value before you purchase it?
If it’s a high-value item, like a car or a house, you likely invest substantial time into your research. Your job should be the same.
Before you get too far into a job application, you should understand your market value.
Tip: Use Payscale to research and find an appropriate salary for your education, experience, title, and location.
6. Attend Job Fairs, Both in Person and Virtually
Job fairs are valuable resources for job seekers looking to expand their professional network, learn about new opportunities, and make a lasting impression on potential employers.
Attending job fairs, both in person and virtually, can help you hone your job search strategy and increase the likelihood of finding a strong career fit.
Here’s how to make the most of job fairs during your remote job search:
- Research upcoming events: Subscribe to industry newsletters, follow relevant social media accounts, and join professional organizations within your field.
- Prepare your elevator pitch: Practice your pitch so you can confidently present yourself to potential employers and make a strong first impression.
- Dress professionally: Even if the event is virtual, dressing professionally shows potential employers that you’re serious about your job search.
- Engage in conversation: Use your research to ask thoughtful questions and show genuine interest in the companies and roles being presented.
Tip: Find out which companies will be attending to get an overview of which roles they might be hiring for. Tailor your resume and print multiple copies for in-person events, or have a digital version ready to email for virtual fairs.
7. Build Your Network
One of the most effective job search strategies is to develop an extensive network.
Your network consists of everyone from colleagues and former coworkers to mentors, investors, and professionals in your industry.
Building relationships with the right people can open up a range of opportunities and provide invaluable advice that can help you land your dream remote job.
Start by connecting with contacts you already know, and then reach out to new ones. Use social media networks, job boards, virtual events, and even in-person meetups to find the right people.
Additionally, consider joining professional associations or industry organizations. These resources can help you stay up to date on current trends while connecting with professionals who may be able to open doors for you.
Tip: Be sure to always follow up with contacts and thank them for their time. This will help you stay top of mind and increase your chances of securing a great job.
8. Explore Alternatives
The business world is changing at a rapid pace. Let your career evolve with it.
That might mean that you consider options such as a part-time or freelance role along with full-time opportunities. Think outside the box a bit.
Those might be the stepping stones you need to land your dream job. Not to mention, these experiences can bolster your resume.
Tip: Read 7 Ways to Get Work Experience for Your Resume to learn more about how you can gain professional work experience while you hunt for your ideal career fit.
9. Connect With a Hiring Manager Through an Informational Interview
An informational interview is a meeting that you initiate in which you can ask questions. You might ask about specific jobs, company culture, or the industry in general.
While these interviews are not meant to land you the job, they can be incredibly helpful for gaining an inside scoop and building a new connection.
If possible, reach out directly to a hiring manager. This will show initiative and demonstrate your interest in the job.
You can also use online networks, such as LinkedIn, to send private messages and connect with potential hiring managers.
Tip: Use this opportunity to ask unique questions about their history or specific career path to highlight the research you’ve done.
Consider asking for a 15-minute meeting over lunch to ask one specific question. That sets parameters and helps them visualize how they could fit the meeting into their schedule.
10. Develop Your Personal Brand
Having an online presence is essential to stand out from the competition. Developing your personal brand can go a long way toward improving visibility for potential employers and making you more attractive to the hiring team.
Not only that, but it can support your resume when employers compare your profiles with your career history and goals.
Build a professional website or blog that showcases your skills, experience, and accomplishments.
Even if you don’t have a lot of design experience, templates and sites like Wix or about.me allow you to quickly create a site that supports your personal brand.
Tip: When creating content for your website, make sure it’s accurate and up to date. Potential employers generally look up your profiles before inviting you for an interview, so think carefully about what impact your site makes.
11. Enlist a Mentor
Mentors are experienced professionals who have “been there, done that.” They often provide valuable insights on how to improve your job search strategy — from setting goals to preparing for an interview.
A mentor could even help broaden your network by introducing you to potential employers or other contacts in the field.
Look for mentors that work in the same industry as you, preferably ones with a successful track record.
Mentors can be especially helpful if you’re looking to change careers or land your first role in a competitive field. Getting advice from someone who did the same can help you get creative in your job search.
Tip: Ask specific questions about professional development opportunities, ways to stand out during the job search process, and other career-related topics. Having one or two targeted questions will help you get the most from each mentoring session.
12. Embrace Job Search Platforms for Maximum Results
Finding a remote job that meets all of your needs can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Using niche job search platforms, like FlexJobs, or other targeted sites, such as Remote.co, can make it a lot easier.
Additionally, many job search platforms have tailored filters that allow you to narrow down your options based on your skill set, salary range, experience level, and more.
You’ll save countless hours by not sifting through endless job postings that don’t fit your needs.
Tip: Set up automated job alerts so you get notified when new roles matching your criteria become available. That way, you’ll be one of the first applicants when new roles are posted.
13. Find the Keywords
When you submit your resume, there’s a good chance you’ll need to get past an applicant tracking system (ATS) before a recruiter sees it.
To do so, find the keywords woven throughout the job description and incorporate them in your resume. But don’t stop there.
Ensure your brand tells the same story throughout your online presence and all of your application materials by using similar keywords in your LinkedIn profile, social media profiles, and any portfolio sites you have.
Tip: Learn more about keywords by reading Resume Keywords: What They Are and How To Use Them.
14. Employ a Headhunter or Recruiter
Hiring a headhunter or recruiter to help you find a remote job can be the key to winning out your competition.
These professionals have access to exclusive opportunities that may not be available to the public, which can give you a competitive edge during the job search process.
When considering recruiters, look for ones who specialize in your field, as they will likely have more knowledge about potential openings and employers.
Additionally, ask for references from past clients or colleagues who may have used their services before. And don’t forget the power of online reviews for helping you make an informed decision.
Tip: Before approaching a recruiter, be prepared to maximize your investment. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile, review industry news, and create a list of potential questions you could ask each contact.
The recruiter will offer tips and advice, but you want to have a solid foundation for them to build on.
15. Expand and Research Job Title Variations
When searching for remote jobs, keep in mind that the job title you’re looking for may be listed differently than what you expect.
Expand your search by researching job title variations to uncover roles that might be a great fit but are listed under a different name.
For example, if you’re looking for a remote administrative position, also consider applying to roles such as “virtual assistant” or “remote office manager.”
This can increase your chances of finding jobs that might not have shown up in your initial search results.
Tip: Keep a running list of job titles to use. If you have a dream company that you’re targeting, research the titles of employees on LinkedIn to find the specific title you’re targeting.
16. Focus Your Search
It’s easy to see your desired outcome of landing a job, but for a successful job search, you’ll need to narrow your focus to smaller goals.
Identify the type of remote job you’re looking for and the skills that will help increase your chances of finding a great role in the shortest amount of time. Start by listing the qualities that are most important to you in the job you’re seeking.
Once you have identified the type of remote job you’re looking for and the skills that you possess, it’s time to start building your strategy. Research different companies and organizations in your field and create a list of potential employers.
Take the time to read through their job postings, website content, and other resources, such as LinkedIn profiles and company reviews. This will give you an idea of the kind of work they’re offering and help you create a list of ideal employers.
With a more targeted job search strategy, you can create more momentum than you would by simply submitting as many applications as possible.
Tip: Get organized and utilize a daily schedule and tracking sheet to ensure that you’re following up promptly and using your job search time effectively. Use a 30-60-90 day plan to launch an effective and focused job search.
17. Harness Your Relationships for Word-of-Mouth Recommendations
With the focus on online networking, it’s easy to overlook the value of the connections you already have.
Take the time to make a list of everyone you already know personally: neighbors, relatives, previous teachers, and community members.
You can ask for advice or recommendations. If they know of any potential job openings, they might be able to provide you with an introduction or connect you with the hiring manager.
Or, you might just share the news that you’re looking for and give a brief but targeted rundown of your goals.
Tip: Before connecting with anyone, set the foundation for your job search with a completed resume and professional social media profiles. Doing so ensures that your contacts will feel confident recommending you.
18. Hire a Career Coach
If you need additional guidance or support, consider hiring a career coach.
A professional coaching service can help you create an effective job search strategy and provide practical advice to help you reach your goals.
Career coaches can also be useful if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the job search process or need a fresh perspective on how to market yourself and your skills.
They help you develop an action plan that fits into your lifestyle and budget so that you can stay organized and motivated while looking for remote work.
Tip: Before hiring a coach, read reviews online or ask around for referrals from people in your network. It’s essential to find someone with a proven track record of helping others.
Just because they were personally successful doesn’t mean they know how to translate that into actionable advice for others.
19. Join Professional Organizations
Joining professional organizations is an effective way to gain knowledge and stay up to date on the latest trends within your industry.
These organizations often host networking events, offer discounts on courses or conferences, and provide access to job boards or other resources that can help you in your remote job search.
Additionally, many of these organizations have mentorship programs that provide guidance and advice from experienced professionals in the field.
These programs are an excellent way to build meaningful relationships with potential employers and increase your chances of finding a remote job that meets your needs.
Tip: Take advantage of events, such as webinars, conferences, and panel discussions. The more you speak up during these events, the easier it is to stand out as a thought leader invested in the future of the industry.
20. Strategically Time Your Applications
When submitting applications, try to avoid Fridays. Like many of us, recruiters and hiring managers often spend Fridays preparing for the weekend ahead.
If you send your application or email on Friday afternoon, there is a greater chance that it won’t get read. In fact, submitting your application on Monday morning (or as late as possible on a Sunday night) is considered the best option.
Additionally, timing your applications can significantly impact your job search.
Research suggests you’ll have the best results if your application is submitted between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., or during lunchtime. Above all, avoid submitting your application after 4 p.m.
Tip: Consider working on your job search in the evenings or over the weekend so that your applications and emails are ready to go first thing in the morning on a Monday or Tuesday.
21. Leverage Social Media To Support Your Brand
Using social media to enhance your job search can be one of the most efficient and effective strategies for finding the right remote job for you. By leveraging platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, you can create a professional profile that stands out from the competition.
Start by optimizing your profile, and include relevant keywords, experiences, and accomplishments.
Additionally, use LinkedIn to showcase your skill set and connect with recruiters and hiring managers. You can even join industry-specific groups or start conversations on relevant topics to expand your network.
On Twitter and Instagram, you can use hashtags to find job postings, follow influencers in your field, or post content related to the remote job you’re looking for.
This will help you establish yourself as an expert in the space while also allowing recruiters to get a better understanding of who you are and why they should hire you.
Tip: Be sure to always keep it professional and stay away from posting anything that could be seen as negative or inappropriate. Take a moment to look through search results that a recruiter might find when they look you up. Analyze whether any damage control is needed.
22. Practice Extensively for Interviews
When it comes to interviews, preparation is key. Make sure you thoroughly research the company and position you’re applying for so that you can answer any questions with confidence.
It also helps to practice responding to potential interview questions either by yourself or with a friend to ensure your answers are concise.
Mock interviews are an excellent way to prepare, smooth over interview jitters, and formulate answers to curveball questions.
You can ask a friend or relative with a professional background or enlist a career coach to help you work on your interview skills.
Tip: Record yourself answering sample questions, then replay the recording. Identify areas of improvement and get comfortable speaking about yourself in an interview setting. This is especially helpful for virtual interviews.
23. Research Companies
Once you’ve focused your job search and have a clear understanding of the type of remote job you want, it’s time to dive into researching potential employers.
This step is crucial because it helps you gain insights into the company culture, values, and expectations, ensuring you’re a good fit for both the role and the organization.
Start by making a list of companies in your industry that offer remote positions. You can use job search platforms, social media networks, and professional forums to find organizations that align with your core values for job satisfaction.
Tip: When researching a company, pay attention to its overall vibe, mission statement, opportunities for growth and development, and flexible work options.
24. Tailor Your Documents to the Job
Avoid sending the same generic resume to multiple companies. This can be a red flag for potential employers, suggesting a lack of commitment or interest.
Put in the effort to customize each cover letter and resume for each role.
Start by researching the company and role thoroughly so that you can highlight specific skills and experiences that demonstrate why you are the perfect fit for the position.
Additionally, try to avoid using common phrases or buzzwords. Instead, focus on data-driven bullet points that utilize the requirements and skills from the job posting.
Finally, use a professional design template that complements your credentials while also being easy to read and navigate. This will help ensure that your documents stand out from others who are applying for the same role.
Tip: Include industry-standard sections, such as experience, education, and skills, to get past applicant tracking systems (ATS) and to help recruiters quickly identify that you’re qualified for the position.
25. Dive Into Follow-Up
Follow-up is everything that happens after your initial contact. If you met an executive for an informational interview, that’s a great time to say thanks for their time.
Did you apply for a job? Follow up with a recruiter or hiring manager. Haven’t heard back in a week or two? The email or phone call you make is a follow-up as well.
Mastering the art of follow-up ensures that you stay in the conversation, regardless of what stage of the job search process you’re in.
Tip: Read How To Follow Up on a Job Application (Phone and Email Samples) to learn how to personalize your messages and follow up quickly.
26. Hone Your Negotiation Skills
Some people love to barter. For many of us, it feels awkward. But if you’re taking the first offer that the company presents, you’re likely leaving money on the table.
Since you already established your market value in the previous step, you should have a salary range in mind.
Adjust for factors such as benefits, flexibility, and career growth. Always know the minimum salary you can accept, and be confident in presenting your counteroffer.
Tip: Prepare to negotiate by reading through What To Ask When Negotiating Your Salary and Benefits.
27. Upskill To Stay Competitive
Staying competitive in a remote job search requires you to stay up to date on your industry’s latest technologies and trends. Take courses, attend webinars or conferences, join professional associations, and read industry publications.
Increasing your knowledge base and developing new skills equips you to handle the challenges of the job, but you’ll also want to show that you’re prepared to meet the challenges of a remote role.
Aside from acquiring technical skills, it’s important to develop other skills, such as communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and digital literacy.
These soft skills are becoming increasingly valuable in any industry as organizations begin to shift toward more distributed workforces.
Tip: Become proficient with the communication tools that your target industry uses to stay connected. That might mean messaging software, such as Slack, or project management tools, like monday.com and Trello.
28. Leverage Time-Saving Tech and Tips
Not only can technology save you loads of time, but it will help you stay relevant and master in-demand skills.
Use apps, browser extensions, job alerts, profiles, and other tools to streamline your job search.
But be careful not to let tech squeeze you out of your job search. Use relevant technology as a foundational tool, but tweak and update your information to ensure your personality shines through.
Tip: Are you curious about which apps could be helpful? We’ve got you covered. Look through this list of 16 Job Search Tools and Apps To Keep Your Search on Track.
29. Use AI Tools & Platforms
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools can help you quickly create targeted resumes and cover letters. Ask for feedback on how to express your job fit more concisely. Input the job description and your resume to get specific suggestions.
While you never want to lie on your application, AI-driven technologies can help you effectively compete for the role so you can focus on building relationships and creating a solid career foundation.
Tip: Research and find an AI tool or platform that works best for your needs. Many of these options offer free trials, so be sure to take advantage of them and give them a test run before committing.
30. Watch Webinars and Tutorials
Take the time to watch webinars and tutorials related to your industry and current job-searching strategies.
Doing so will not only help you stay informed about what’s going on in the job market but also give you an edge over other applicants who may not be up to date with trends.
Additionally, tutorials can teach you how to use certain software programs or develop new skills that could benefit your role.
FlexJobs’ Career Expert Keith Spencer points out, “Take the time to familiarize yourself with the basics of a software program that’s listed as a job requirement. As long as you’re not claiming you’re an expert, you’ll often meet the requirements to apply for a role.”
This can make a huge difference when it comes to standing out from other candidates.
Tip: Along with free resources, such as YouTube videos, LinkedIn Learning courses, or podcasts, find reputable sites that offer webinars and make it a habit to check on their current offerings weekly.
Create a Reliable Job Search Strategy
With the right job search strategy, you can find success and land a role providing the work-life balance you need to thrive.
Tackling your job search one step at a time, you’ll be well-equipped to stand out from the competition.