How to apply for a remote technical job

Everybody wants to work from home (or the nearby workspace of their choice) and cut out those wasted hours of commute time. Governments and businesses should be encouraging this as well. It is better for the environment and for productivity. However, there are a few things slowing down the switch to an all-remote workforce. Today we are looking at the application process.

With a traditional application, recruiters can assess your writing skills and skim through a stack of paper you have provided. They can administer tests or challenges with little fear that you have someone else taking the test for you. They can evaluate how you handle tough situations and hold up under stress. Companies rely heavily on these because they work.

The remote application process is a little different. Many things that work in-person fail in a remote environment, but there are alternatives. A recruiter can potentially get a much deeper understanding of you and your skills much faster and find a position that is a better match than they ever could in a traditional process. That will only work, though, if you have provided all the information they need and made it easy to find.

Here are some things you can do to help recruiters get the information they need to make a good decision:

  • Keep all of your social media up to date and interlinked.
  • Pay attention to what you make public. Use PM’s when it makes sense.
  • Talk about lessons learned. Use a blog or public social media.
  • Journal your progress in learning new tech.
  • Participate in StackExchange, Quora or other forums.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong or ask noob questions. They show growth.
  • Dream out loud. Talk about the things you would like to build someday.
  • Talk about what is important to you: quality, speed, cost, learning, sustainability.
  • Share code snippets. Change file and variable names and other details that might impact security or an NDA if the code is not open-source.

 

Bring all of this together with a master list of links to everything about you.

  • Use deep links to multiple pages on the same site if necessary.
  • Never require more than two clicks away from the master list.
  • If a second click is required, the first click should lead to a page of just links about you.
    • A link to your gist.github.com/ is good.
    • A link to the project page for a project you built is good.
    • A link to a project you contributed a few tickets to is not helpful.
    • Link to the specific tickets you worked on or a list of just your contributions if the repo/bug-tracker site provides one.
  • Include links to the most significant projects first.
  • Include a 10-20 word description for each link explaining what it is and how it relates to you.
  • Link to this master about-you list from every place where people might land after searching for you online.

If you have other suggestions or questions, please comment. Comments are moderated, but I do read, release and reply to them.

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