How to Land a Job Virtually Anywhere
Pre-pandemic, physical offices were still a major part of recruitment. Businesses built huge campuses where employees could work, eat, and even sleep so they could stay at the office as long as they needed. In fact, labor has been tied very directly to geography in every stage throughout human history. Laborers either worked where jobs were available or moved elsewhere to fulfill other roles. This was true in 1918 almost as much as it was in 2018, when the American Community Survey reported only 3.6 percent of the U.S. workforce was working remotely a majority of the time.
But COVID-19 has changed this. The pandemic forced companies around the world to open up to allow employees to work from home, and many employees realized this was the ideal working situation. In many ways, remote work could be a continuation of the huge investments that tech companies made in their campuses to attract more talent. Now, perhaps the most powerful recruiting tactic will be allowing employees to work from home even after pandemic-related concerns subside.
This is good news for both tech companies looking for talent among steep competition and tech job seekers who don’t want to move to major tech hubs like Silicon Valley to land great jobs. But job seekers will need the right skills to navigate this new remote recruitment environment.
3 ways to take advantage of ‘Silicon Anywhere’ recruitment:
As geographic boundaries crumble, job seekers, too, will face steeper competition as remote roles may be open to many candidates from all around the world. To capitalize on this new post-geographic work environment, tech workers will need a few new strategies to sell themselves as candidates in a virtual world:
1 | Create a network beyond your geographic boundaries.
Because geography is no longer as big a factor when it comes to job-seeking and hiring, it’s important to cultivate a network that reflects that.
There are many ways to build a network virtually. By engaging with other professionals on sites like LinkedIn, you can connect with like-minded professionals from anywhere and gain access to job opportunities across the globe. Write and share content that demonstrates your interest and knowledge in the industry, and be sure to comment and engage on others’ posts as well.
GitHub is also an excellent tool for job seekers in tech. The platform allows users to build a portfolio of code and open access for others to review and suggest changes. Consider sharing projects with those in your network to gain valuable feedback and perspectives. A portfolio of code can also help you demonstrate your skills to interviewers in a real-world way. Just make sure the projects in your portfolio reflect the skills you’ve outlined in your resume.
2 | Show that you can pick up new skills.
The pandemic did more than just widen the talent pool. According to a McKinsey survey conducted in fall 2020, it also sped up many companies’ digital transformation plans, increasing digitalization across industries.
Even before the pandemic, most tech firms valued candidates who were problem solvers and could adapt quickly to the rapid changes of the market. This is truer than ever today as companies prioritize candidates who show a high aptitude for learning new skills quickly and evolving alongside the company’s digital transformation journey. Prepare examples to show how you’ve worked to learn new skills in past positions or even in your own spare time. For example, if you took an online course and earned a certificate for a new coding language, that would show the interviewer your commitment to keeping up with industry trends.
3 | Brush up on your soft skills.
Remote jobs will often mean virtual interviews, and selling yourself in a digital world can be challenging. Some tech companies are even using off-the-wall interview tactics, such as playing virtual board games with candidates, to learn more about how candidates will fit into the team. Remember that how you demonstrate soft skills such as clear communication, teamwork, and a positive attitude will matter.
Also, brush up on your general interview skills and do adequate research on the company in preparation. Find out what you can about its history, core mission and values, and key competitors. Come prepared with questions to cover the details you can’t dig up on your own or ask informed questions to get more information on what you do find. This will both impress your interviewer and help you get a better idea of what the company is looking for, allowing you to focus on the qualities you want to showcase most.
The fall of geographic boundaries offers huge opportunities for businesses and workers alike. Candidates who can adjust their job search and interview strategies to fit the new virtual landscape will be well prepared to take advantage of those opportunities and find the right position anywhere.
Daniel Fogarty is vice president of growth for LaunchCode, a nonprofit organization aiming to fill the gap in tech talent by matching companies with trained individuals.