Originally published September 5, 2019 on BritishPandaChick Codes. I made tweaks to the original post so it would work for The Practical Dev.
Ready for another post from the Land Your Dream Job summit? Today's post is taking a look at the third webinar presentation in the summit featuring Brie Reynolds. During the Land Your Dream Job Summit, Brie did a Q&A session about how to use job boards to find a remote job. There was a lot of great information from Brie's Q&A that I'm sharing some of Brie's advice in this post so you can get the most from a job board.
How can I watch all the webinars in the Land Your Dream Job?
Skillcrush still has all the webinar recordings available on the Skillcrush blog. All you need to do is go to the link below to sign up for all the webinar recaps. Skillcrush will send you an e-mail right away with a link to a page that has all the recordings from the summit. You won't be able to enter and sign up for any of the giveaways but you will be able to watch all the presentations at your own pace and get tons of information to help you land the job you want.
Who is Brie Reynolds?
At the time of the Skillcrush webinar, Brie was the director of online content at FlexJobs. Today she is a senior career specialist, career coach, and resume writer at FlexJobs.
FlexJobs is an online job board that specializes in remote, part-time, freelance, and flexible jobs. You can learn more about FlexJobs by visiting their website.
Although Brie does a lot of work for FlexJobs, there are other ways to learn more about Brie and her background. While she does a lot of work for FlexJobs, I found that she's done a lot of other speaking appearances and even created courses about finding remote work based on what I found in a good google search. Below I have included links to her Twitter profile and official website, two good places to find Brie on the web.
Time for the Takeaways!
There was a lot of great information from Brie's Q&A presentation so I've put together a list of Brie's answers to some of the questions people have about using job boards to find remote work. While some of these answers will be focused on finding web development and web design remote jobs, you can still use these takeaways to find any remote job in any industry you are interested in.
1. Searching for a job online is effective as long as it is done in a thoughtful way.
Brie talks about a lot of mistakes job seekers make using job boards. One of these mistakes is job seekers applying for all the jobs they think they are qualified for or interested in. While job searching is a numbers game at times, applying for everything you see isn't going to work.
Jobs can be different qualities, making it hard for job seekers to evaluate which ones are quality. This means job seekers can spend too much of their time applying for jobs that aren't good quality and not close to what you are trying to do. It can also put you in a position that makes you vulnerable to job scams.
So how can job seekers look for jobs in a thoughtful way?
The best way to get the results you want is to figure out exactly what you are looking for. So before you go to a job board and start searching for jobs, take some time to think about the job you want and things don't you don't want. It might seem like extra work, but knowing what you want is going to help you search and being to better spot the quality postings you want.
One of the ways to do this is using the flower diagram from the What Color is Your Parachute book. This is the book I used in 2015 to figure out what I need to look for when I was looking for jobs and ultimately helped me discover coding. If you would like to learn more about What Color is Your Parachute, I've already written a post sharing some of my favorite takeaways from the book. ==> Click here to learn more about What Color is Your Parachute!
2. Use your network.
Ok, Brie admits she is biased by saying job boards are effective, but she also acknowledges that networking is still the most effective way to find a job. Job boards do make it easier to find jobs, but they are only tools. Therefore job seekers shouldn't completely rely on them to find a job and instead use a variety of tactics to get the job they want.
Networking isn't just great for learning about jobs. Job seekers can increase their chances of getting the job they want using their connections. Brie suggests looking in your network to see if anyone works at the company the job posting is for.
If you don't know someone who works at the company, you should see if any of your connections know someone that works at the company. Once you find a connection, ask that person to introduce you. Brie says having someone recommend you or who knows you will help you stand out from other candidates.
Employees putting forward candidates for a job holds a lot of weight with employers because most people won't put anyone forward unless they believe they will do a good job.
They don't want to be responsible for hiring someone that wasn't the right fit for the job. So recommendations hold a lot of weight when they making hiring decisions. Brie says the best way to maximize your chance of getting hired is by mixing the human connection with your application.
Most companies want job seekers to apply online so they have all the applications in one place so they can access them easily when needed. You can still reach out to the companies you apply for on job boards unless it states they state not to on applications. Another way you can create that human connection is by using a recruiter.
You can contact a recruiter and let them know you are interested in a specific job at a company. Brie suggests telling the recruiter when you completed the job application since this shows recruiters you are going the extra mile and want the job. Many recruiters are online and easy to contact. You can find many of these recruiters with a good search on LinkedIn.
3. Use smaller, niche job boards that match your niche.
There are so many job boards online that it can be hard to focus. Brie suggests job seekers use smaller job boards that match their niche or industry. These can be job postings on professional association websites or job boards tailored to a specific career.
You can find these job boards with a good Google search. As you search, evaluate the job boards to see which ones would be the best fit for you and what you are looking for. Big job boards can be alluring to job seekers because it seems easier to go to one big job board that gathers all the jobs from different job boards in one place than just applying to jobs.
This isn't a good idea for a couple of reasons.
One reason is time. Using a big job board means lots of job postings. Although this might sound like a good thing, Brie reminds job seekers that you only need one job posting instead of every job posting in the world. So this means on big job boards you'll have to do more filtering to find the job you want, spending extra time sorting through what you need to get what you are looking for.
Big job boards are similar to a buffet. Job boards have a ton of job postings just like buffets have lots of food. You don't need a lot of job postings. You just need one job posting that will get you a job.
So when you are on big job boards, you'll be spending your time filtering through the jobs just to find what you are looking for. Another important reason to avoid big job boards is that most employers hate them. Big job boards allow a lot of candidates to apply for jobs but many times they don't fit the qualifications or aren't the best quality.
They instead like to use smaller, niche job sites since the candidates from these job boards are committed to a particular type of work and aren't looking for just anything. This speaks well of the candidates and ensures employers are getting the right person for the job.
4. Get the job board to work for you.
Brie says the goal of a job board is to focus on you not everyone else. She says the best way to do this is by using as many features a job board offers so they do the searching for you. During the webinar, Brie shares two of her favorite job board features job seekers can use to help them find the jobs they want.
First, there is the alert feature. Job seekers can create an account and fill out criteria for what jobs they are looking for. They can then sign up to get alerts for these job postings when they are published online.
This feature is a time saver since the job board filters the boards for you and lets you know immediately when a job matching your criteria is available so you can just go straight to applying for the job. The second feature to use on a job board is any filtering features they offer. This includes the search feature and advanced search options. Filtering features allow job seekers to narrow down the jobs they want or don't want, job level, or industry.
4. Use related keywords instead of job titles.
When you use the search feature on job boards, you will want to use related keywords instead of job titles. Job titles won't be the same for every employer. If you search by job titles, you might miss other job postings that use similar skills.
Using related keywords ensures you get all the job postings that all the different job titles these skills are often used for. Don't forget to use the filtering features if a job board offers them to narrow your search down even further. Although you are using related keywords to search, you still want to be familiar with job titles in your industry.
You want to know what a job is called in different areas and how people refer to it so you can find all the postings that are a good fit for you. Brie says some job boards have a feature that shows you similar positions based on what you are looking for on a job site. All you need to do is say yes or no to these positions.
5. Add skills that show you can work remotely.
Looking for a remote job isn't too different from searching for a regular job, but the best way to get a remote job is by showing you can work remotely. Your resume and cover letters need to show you are able to do this. Brie outlines some of the extra steps job seekers can do to make your resume and cover letter stand out when you apply for a remote job.
Brie says if you have any experience working from home or working at a remote job, you need to put these on your resume. Your experience will look good to employers because they want to find people who have prior experiences. You can put this in your summary for qualifications or the experience section for any job titles that you did work from home.
If you don't have any remote work experience, Brie suggests focusing on remote skills instead. The skills will also impress employers because it shows you are capable of working remotely. You can put these errors in the skills section of your resume. Some of the skills and qualities employers are looking for are self-motivated, focused on tasks, and troubleshooting issues.
Other things you can put on your resume and cover letter are webinars you attended or communication tools such as Google Hangouts, Facetime, and GotoWebinar. Haven't used these tools? Brie suggests googling tools remote workers use. She also suggests job seekers use free versions or free trials of these tools to become familiar with them and put them on your resume.
6. Plan and prepare as much as you can ahead of time.
Before you start searching the job board and applying for jobs, you will want to be 100% clear on what you are looking for. Brie kept repeating this throughout her presentation but lots of preparation will make it easier to apply for jobs later. So do your research and see what is out there.
If you want to work remotely, google to see what companies in your industry hire remotely and what remote job titles need to look for. As you research a company, Brie suggests looking for items such as the company's initiatives and problem areas. This information will help you tailor your job application to the company so you can stand out from other candidates.
Preparation doesn't just mean knowing what you are looking for.
Brie also suggests preparing as much documentation as you can ahead of time. This means having items such as your resume or LinkedIn profile ready to go before you start looking at job boards. Brie says having these items prepared will make you a better job seeker because it shows employers you did your homework and thought about how to position yourself.
It also helps you as a job seeker since it will make it easier for you to fill out job applications and write cover letters for the positions you want. So what are some things you need to think about to help you position yourself? Some of the things you need to think about are where you want to work, who you want to work for, and what experiences you have.
You also want to think about any accomplishments you have achieved. You can put all this information in a master resume file on Google Docs or Microsoft Word so you can pull it out and use it later when you are applying for a job.
7. Be on your guard with job postings.
Remote jobs are often associated with online job scams. During the webinar, she said there are 60-70 scams for every legitimate post! These numbers can sound scary. They can be even scarier since Brie says scammers are getting better with their scams.
Job scams can be tough to spot so Brie suggests job seekers be on their guard with looking for remote work. The number of scams might be growing, but there are signs job seekers can look out for to identify a job scam. The easiest ones to spot are ones that go to spam in your e-mail or any messages that talk about working from home in your pajamas making a lot of money.
One of the ways job scammers can fool professionals is by using real people to be the face of the scam. These can be harder to spot and are the most hurtful to job seekers. Brie puts together a list of red flags job seekers can use to evaluate a job posting and see if it is a scam.
- How fast is a job offer being made? If you are being offered a job in an instant, chances are that this is a scam.
- Is the interview being held over instant messenger instead of phone or video chat? Most employers will want to chat over video chat or phone.
- Is there a sense of urgency? Scammers often will say that they need someone to start right now and they can't wait. So they don't require a two weeks notice which is often a norm for most other companies.
- Does the job posting seem very vague? Most employers like to be as detailed as possible about what a candidate's role will be, salary range, and more. If a job posting doesn't have a lot of information, this is a good sign they are trying to hide something.
- Do you try to pressure job seekers not to think and just say yes? Scammers will do a lot of tactics to try to pressure you to take a job. If you get this vibe from any job posting, don't do it!
So how can you protect yourself from these scams? Brie says the best way is to use a protected trusted website. These job boards screen and clean their job boards regularly unlike ones that don't.
Many job boards don't pre-screen job postings before they are put on a website and instead rely on job seekers to flag job postings. Once a job posting is flagged, then the job board removes it from the website. Another way to protect yourself is to do your research on the job posting and googling the company.
A big company name you recognize isn't going to always be a real company so be careful who you trust. Many scammers like to say they work for a legitimate company and act like they are from a real company from using the company logo in e-mails. Brie suggests checking the URL of a posting link to see if it goes to a company website.
You should also check the company's career page to see if the posting is still on the website. Most chances you won't find anything which is a good sign you are dealing with a job scam. When I'm not sure about job postings, I like to google the person who sent the e-mail and the e-mail address to verify that they are real people. If nothing pops up, it is most likely a scam.
8. Watch your keywords when you search!
An easy way to prevent job scams is by changing the keywords you are using to search for jobs. Brie outlines a lot of mistakes job seekers make when using job boards during the webinar presentation, but she also provides alternate things job seekers can do to get a remote job. One of the things Brie suggests is using specific keywords and avoiding ones scammers like to use.
If you are looking for a remote job, Brie suggests using keywords such as remote, virtual, or telecommuting keywords to look for work from home jobs. She also suggests using distributed companies or distributed teams for your search, but she cautions job seekers to be careful since these keywords won't always mean work from home 100% of the time since some employers use distributed teams as a way of saying the team is located in different places.
One keyword you want to avoid is work from home. This is the keyword job scammers love to use. Most importantly, employers don't use this keyword when they post work from home jobs. They are most likely going to use remote or telecommuting instead.
9. Show you are predictable.
Brie says two of the biggest fears remote managers are predictability and uncertainty. She says employers are looking for candidates that can communicate well and follow instructions. With this in mind, you want to make the manager's life easier by showing these qualities in your application and documentation.
The easiest way to show you follow instructions is by following the instructions on job applications. Many job postings will include instructions on what they want in an application or in the e-mail subject header. These instructions might sound odd, but employers use these directions as a way of filtering candidates. So make sure you read and re-read the job posting to make sure you follow all the instructions.
Another way to be predictable is by responding quickly to e-mails. Brie says that responding quickly shows employers you are responsive, predictable, and trustworthy. It also benefits you too.
For example, if a recruiter sends you an e-mail and you respond quickly to their message, the recruiter's email has a good chance of being open. That will help you stay top of mind and a recruiter will be able to respond back to you promptly. Now being predictable doesn't mean going to extremes.
Remote managers don't want you to disappear and not be answering your messages. On the other hand, they don't want you harassing they don't want you to be harassing them every second. The key to predictability is a happy medium. The goal is to respond to people in a reasonable manner.
10. Be consistent with your online presence.
Being predictable doesn't just apply to e-mails and following directions. Consistency also applies to everything that shapes your online presence. Brie says 93-95% of employers google candidates to see who you really are.
If there are any differences between how you promote yourself personally and professionally, employers will notice and wonder which one is the real you. Brie says job seekers can use the privacy settings on social media platforms to make it private so employers can't see it and instead focus on the professional items. You can also have separate accounts for personal and professional use.
If you decide to just use one account for both personal and professional use, keep everything consistent with everything you have on your documentation. Online presence is your online first impression with potential employers so they want to see if you match everything they are seeing online. I've already written a couple of posts on this topic and even did my very own talk about online presence at the first Moms Can Code summit last year.
Job boards can be a great tool to help job seekers find a remote job as long as you use them in a thoughtful way. Brie's webinar presentation does a great job showing job seekers how to use job boards the best way possible to land the job they want. This presentation is something every job seeker needs to watch as well as ones looking for remote work.