Article
5 Ways to Make Your Remote Job Application Stand Out

Lessons learned after reviewing hundreds of developer profiles.

It has never been so easy to find a fully remote job.

Up until 2020, there were relatively few fully remote job offers, even for software development roles. This is no longer the case.

The global pandemic had a massive impact in shifting the whole industry towards remote work. And this is not just a temporary adjustment - it's structural change.

The expansion of remote work made the market more efficient for both companies and developers:

  • Developers saw an explosion on the number of jobs they could apply to.
  • Companies saw an explosion on the number of candidates they could hire.

If you're a developer applying for remote jobs, it just means one thing.

If you invest in building out a proper profile, you have high chances of landing a great remote job as a software developer.

My goal with this article is to tell you exactly what you need to do to build a proper developer profile.


Here are the 5 things you need to do to stand out from the competition:
  1. Nail the basics
  2. Highlight your specialty
  3. Be extremely responsive
  4. Write clear English
  5. Go deep, not wide on job search

The purpose of this article is to explain how to execute these steps so you can increase your odds of success. For the purpose of this article, success means getting a first interview.

1. Nail the basics

To even stand a chance of getting past the first vetting round, you must get the basics absolutely right. Here are some of the main things you should do to ensure your basic points are spot on:

  • CV: Have a concise, one-page CV with a clean layout which contains only the most relevant information. Ask a trusted friend to review it for feedback.
  • LinkedIn: Make sure to include a professional profile picture. Your profile should be up to date, include the relevant skills in the skills section and if possible feature recommendations.
  • Github / Gitlab / Bitbucket: Include a few projects you’ve worked on in the past. They don’t need to be stellar, but there should be at least a couple. Bonus points for open-source contributions.
  • Personal Website: This one is more dispensable than the previous 3, but it can a great differentiation tool. Very few candidates have a simple personal website with some past work history, links to a few projects and a brief description of your specialty.

2. Highlight your specialty

Chances are you have some technologies with which you are most productive. These can be the tools you have the most experience with or the ones you like the most. Make sure you highlight the experiences you’ve had with these and apply to jobs where these skills are relevant requirements.

Some people can see this as limiting. “I also have experience in PHP, Java and Kotlin; would showing these not increase my chances of success?” The short answer is no. By having a larger list of skills, you’re subconsciously devaluing your expertise in your core languages. Here’s a quick exercise: imagine you’re getting married and you want to hire a photographer for your wedding. You have two candidates: one of them does weddings, family portraits, business photo shoots and landscape photography. His asking price is 50€ / hour. The other only does weddings and charges 75€ / hour. Which one would you want to hire?

3. Be extremely responsive

One great way to cause an impression is to be extremely responsive. If you see an email from the employer and you’re available to answer, do it as soon as possible. This might seem small but communication and responsibility are some of the most important skills when working remotely. Answering promptly to emails, showing up on time to scheduled appointments and listening skills all contribute to creating a favourable impression of you, which may just tip the scales in your favour.

4. Write clear English

Writing skills are significantly more relevant for remote jobs. Since there is less face to face interaction, most of the communication with colleagues and external stakeholders is done via written text. Remote work enables asynchronous communication, which is key to producing deep meaningful work as it blocks distractions. Written communication can take the form of email, collaboration software (ex: Slack) or business proposals.

5. Go deep, not wide on job search

Now that you’ve built a profile that is highly focused on your specialty, it’s easier to select which jobs to apply for. Typically, it’s better to do some proper research when applying to 5 different job openings, each with a personalised letter than to send a basic, generic CV to 50 different companies. Invest some time getting to know each company and tailoring your CV (and cover letter, if needed) to the specific role and the organisation and you’ll find you have much more success. Companies will be impressed that you’ve clearly taken time to get to know more about their business and this will certainly help your application stand out.

Conclusion

Following these 5 steps will put you in a strong position to find work as a remote developer.

Miguel Marques
Written by Miguel Marques Founder @ Remote Crew
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