Applying for a Remote Software Developer job means you are voluntarily choosing to compete against the entire country versus just one city. In some cases, multiple countries. There a lot of people interested in working from home, setting their own hours, and maintaining separation of their job from where they live. The result of this interest is extremely stiff competition.
So how do you increase you chances of landing a remote job? There are a lot of ways to maintain a competitive edge. In my experience, these approaches helped me beat the odds consistently over the last decade.
Step 1 - Cast a Wide Net
There's always two sides to a coin, right? It's true that Remote Software Developer jobs have a large pool of candidates to choose from. This also means that, for people looking to work remotely, there is a large pool of positions they can apply to. So although it's true that the competition for Remote Software Developer jobs is stiff, it also means that there are a lot more jobs that you can apply to.
With that in mind, it's important to cast a wide net when applying for remote jobs. Use every source at your disposal to track down available remote positions and apply to them.
One of the biggest problems I've seen with Developers trying to land a remote job is how much they underestimate the number of applications they need to submit before getting a response. It's not unusual for me to submit twenty applications before hearing back from one. Don't take it personally and don't assume it means you aren't qualified. Unfortunately it's a numbers game, so just keep playing.
If you are currently searching for a Remote Software Developer job, check out this article I published that describes the resources I use to cast a wide net. It's worked for me and it'll work for you.
Step 2 - Focus Your Resume
With so much competition, it's important that you focus your resume for the type of job you are looking to land. The more specific your resume is to a position, the more likely you'll find yourself on the interview list.
For example, if you are applying for a front-end position, you should have a resume that is specifically tailored to this type of position. It should highlight your previous front-end work experience and the applicable technologies.
If you have a goal or mission statement, it should specifically mention the job title for the job you are applying to.
The freedoms that come with a Remote Software Developer job completely outweigh the effort you have to put into obtaining one.
Right now you're probably thinking "If I cast a wide net and customize my resume to each job posting, when will I have time to sleep and eat?". This is a completely valid concern and I'm not going to lie, it's a lot of work. Sometimes applying for remote jobs can feel like a full-time job in it's self. Just remember why you want a remote job in the first place. The freedoms that come with a Remote Software Developer job completely outweigh the effort you have to put into obtaining one.
Step 3 - Be Extremely Responsive
This goes without saying for any type of job but it's even more important for Remote Software Developer jobs. Be responsive when communicating with potential employers. Being successful in a remote position requires strong communication between it's team members. Your initial correspondence with a potential employer is sort of it's own mini interview. It shows them how well you can communicate and how responsive you are.
So be prompt when you are returning emails, on time for calls and hangouts, and make sure to be clear and concise when communicating with interviewers. If you are neck and neck with another applicant they may just lean towards the person that was the easiest to get ahold of or seemed the most eager to get back to them.
Step 4 - Build a Strong, Focused Portfolio
Your portfolio is probably the most effective tool for both getting your foot in the door and succeeding in an interview. Just like your resume, you want to create and highlight personal projects that are directly related to the position you are applying for.
This means you may need to do some programming in your spare time. If you are applying for a job that specifically mentions ReactJS as the main qualification, you better have a ReactJS application that you can show them and talk about in depth. Does it have to be a huge project? No. It just has to be big enough that it highlights your knowledge and capability with the technology in question.
I want to emphasize how important having a relevant portfolio is. For most professional programmers your day to day work is proprietary and can't be shown off. Yes you have years of experience programming, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of teams hiring Remote Software Developers want to see examples of your code. It's very rare that I don't get asked this, so I make sure to have my portfolio sharpened when looking for a new position.
Step 5 - Be Persistent
Unfortunately, due to the nature of remote jobs, you're going to get a lot of radio silence from your applications. Don't be discouraged by this. I've talked to businesses that have gotten hundreds and hundreds of applications for a single available Remote Software Developer job. Often times they simply don't have the time or resources to respond to all of the applicants.
So be persistent. Keep applying to positions that you are interested in and qualified for. If you don't hear back after a few weeks and it's a position you are really interested in, you can try submitting your application again, otherwise assume that the position is no longer available and move on. Hit the job boards, let people know you're looking, and keep the applications flowing. Eventually, you'll start to see the fruits of your labour.
Landing a Remote Software Developer job can be a lot of tedious hard work. It often takes a large investment of time and effort before you finally see any results. In the meantime, continue your professional growth, follow the approaches I've mentioned in this article, and you'll be working in your pajamas in no time.
Looking for Tech Jobs? Check out my website ObviousJobs.com for jobs with full salary disclosure.
Top comments (9)
Good post man.
The single most important thing is that you have a live project to showcase.
For example, I used an application for User to User messaging with 20 Gmail-like features implemented, hosted on Heroku and GitLab.
It is fun, Interviewers would send me the message, and I would respond.
After that, I'd show them the code by allowing them to check it in GitLab, afterwards I would disable their user.
Easy peasy ...
Nailed the job 3 times with that single app.
yup, that's one of main reasons to do my side project fullstackjob.com , having some nice code to show.
Thanks for your post, especially for someone who is looking for remote job like me.
I'm a marketer who works alongside developers and work remotely.
Remote jobs for software developers are the most ubiquitous but they're also the hardest to get, especially for good companies. The competition is fierce. Taking action on these tips will get you ahead of most applicants, even if your experience isn't as deep. It's all about presenting yourself nicely "on paper" and having a badass project.
I documented my process for getting remote jobs and this documentation has helped others, including software developers. Free to download here as a PDF: remotejobcourse.com/. No email needed or anything like that.
Hope it helps!
Thanks for your sharing Robert
great tips! But it also depends on your location.
Nice article! We are running a remote jobs board here: up2staff.com There are new postings every day from many different areas.