A common belief spread amongst remote job applicants is that quality remote jobs are hard to find. That’s not surprising, given that most people take the same beaten path in their job search. You know, the path that leads you right back to where you started.
Search job boards. Churn out applications. Get frustrated when no one calls. Repeat.
If you’re on this hamster wheel, then perhaps it’s time to step off and instead take the road less traveled, which can be far more effective at finding remote jobs that others seldom know about.
That’s how I found my remote job. Like an unbeaten path in the woods, the one I followed had no signs or job postings. It started with a conversation, just like the one I usually had with the guy who serviced our supercomputers. But instead of the usual nerd-to-nerd back-and-forth, I asked him about his job, his company, and his work/life balance. Questions I never would have asked if I wasn’t open to learning who around me already had what I so badly sought. All it took was discovering he worked from home full-time (oh, and that he was planning to move to Hawaii), to make me run full-speed into my future position.
Sometimes What You’re Looking For Isn’t Where Everyone Else Is Looking
If you’ve ever misplaced your keys right before you need to leave for work, you know how agonizing the search can be. Hopefully you’ve already had your favorite caffeinated beverage. You check the counter, you check the couch, you check your car, but to no avail. Isn’t it interesting that we sometimes look in the same place twice, thinking, maybe we didn’t look thoroughly at first? People act similarly in their job search when they only search job boards. When they’ve exhausted all listings, they later think, maybe I’ll search again.
Whether it’s keys or jobs, we all repeat our searches in places things should be. That’s because our brain is in overdrive when we badly want something. We traverse our neural networks, accessing millions of neuron groups to remember where that item may be or how it can be achieved. Where your keys usually are – the counter, the couch, and the car – will all have strong neuron groups, influencing you to check twice. But if you weren’t paying attention when you put the keys in your coat pocket, the neuron group which generates that memory will be weak or non-existent.
Similarly, those that only know of the job board beaten path will always take it. Their neural networks haven’t been programmed with more effective ways to find remote jobs. What’s needed is a Matrix-style memory upgrade – learning two alternate places that many of us aren’t looking in. Places that can give you what you’ve been searching for, without the headache.
Where Everyone Else Is Not Looking
In a 2012 survey conducted by InterviewSuccessFomula.com, it was determined that 80% of available jobs are never advertised. One factor may be that job sites will commonly charge employers hundreds of dollars per post. This deters companies from blasting their job openings across the internet. Unknowingly, people can easily believe the 20% advertised are the 100% available.
Like houses can be sold before hitting the market, jobs can be filled before ever hitting the job boards. This adds to the mis-conception that quality remote jobs are hard to find. But don’t be discouraged, companies that do market jobs will surely post them on at least one site…their own. That was the case with my remote job, and it may be where yours can be found too. But if I had never talked to my future island-residing friend, I would have never checked his company’s website for jobs.
Therefore, its critical to expand your search beyond the common watering hole. Understand that companies have limited hiring budgets and not all jobs will be found in an online catalog. Increase your chances of finding that remote job you dream of by searching directly on company websites.
But unlike job boards, company websites don’t all provide automatic alerts when new jobs become available. Knowing this, if the thought of going direct to the source intimidates you, try to remind yourself that if it were quick and easy everyone would do it. And have comfort knowing that there is another way to find remote jobs that doesn’t involve job boards or company websites. The only path that leads to the 80% of jobs that are never advertised.
The Stronger Your Network, The Shorter Your Journey
Networking may not feel as productive as churning out job applications, but it’s proven to be more effective. A 2016 LinkedIN survey revealed that 85% of all jobs are filled either internally or through a referral from a trusted source. It’s not surprising that hiring managers will first look for someone they trust to fill the role. Wouldn’t you? It saves time, money, and there’s less risk of a mis-hire. That’s especially true with remote jobs, where a higher degree of trust is needed between manager and employee compared to desk jobs. I witnessed this fact first-hand when I asked my future coconut-consuming colleague for a referral. Within days I was interviewing, and after a couple months I was working from wherever.
Strengthening your network can greatly shorten the time it takes to land a remote role. It gives you access to the back door, while everyone waits in line at the front door. But networking isn’t a one-and-done transaction, it takes time and value being shared in both directions. Therefore, it’s important for you to narrow down what companies to target through research, regardless if there’s a job opening at the moment. Then you can build relationships that can turn into warm introductions to the hiring manager when jobs do open up.
We’re all looking for something. Whether its love, a home, or a remote job, if we’re struggling to find it, then perhaps it’s time to rethink our approach. Widening our range of view and strengthening our network are two variables that we can control to fast-track success. The question is, are you open to veering off the beaten path you’re comfortable with to explore new avenues? Who knows, perhaps getting lost in a little bit of small talk will lead you right to it.