Five common remote CV mistakes jobseekers make

·Writer, Yahoo Finance UK
·4-min read
A jobseeker writing his CV on a laptop
It’s essential to keep your formatting clear.

As businesses look to the post-pandemic future, many are planning a hybrid model that combines remote work with time in the office. Some organisations may allow some employees to be fully remote, only travelling into workplaces for occasional meetings.

After a year of working from home, many would-be office workers are keen to continue working remotely. According to a FlexJobs survey of more than 2,100 people, 65% would prefer to work fully remotely while 33% would like a hybrid arrangement. A further three in five said they would quit if they weren’t allowed to work from home in the future – in order to find remote work elsewhere.

However, landing a remote job when you’re competing for a single role alongside hundreds of other candidates can be tricky. When you’re up against applicants from all over the world, how can you make your CV stand out from the crowd? And how can you avoid the mistakes jobseekers commonly make?

Tailor your CV and cover letter to each job

When you’re applying for multiple jobs, it’s tempting to send the same CV and cover letter to each employer. However, adapting each application to the role is important.

“A resume and cover letter are key in showcasing your professional background and why you’re the best candidate for a job,” says Brie Weiler Reynolds, career development manager and coach at FlexJobs and Remote.co.

Read more: How to navigate mistakes when starting a new job

“We've reviewed and written thousands of resumes through FlexJobs' Career Coaching programme, and the top candidates always tailor their resumes for every application. The same goes for cover letters – which are just as important in the application process.”

Earlier this year, a ResumeLab survey of 200 hiring managers found that 83% of the time, a solid cover letter led recruiters to offer interviews to candidates with less-than-perfect resumes. It’s also important to include keywords from the job advert in your CV, as resumes may be screened for these.

Highlight previous remote experience

If your goal is to land a remote job, you should include details about your previous remote experience throughout your resume and cover letter. Remote working often requires people to work more autonomously.

“Be sure to also highlight the specific skills that make you a good remote worker, such as written and verbal communication, organisation and productivity, great time and task management, and having a growth mindset,” says Reynolds.

Adding "remote" or "partial remote" next to your job title will clearly show that you worked remotely. The same goes for remote volunteer or school experiences too.

Highlight collaboration and communication

If you want to apply for a remote job but don’t have previous remote or hybrid experience, including information about how you’ve collaborated with other teams can help.

Many everyday tasks highlight the skills employers want in a remote worker, such as working with colleagues via Google Docs and using apps like Trello and Asana to organise work among teams. Including this experience can show that you’re up to date with many remote working tools.

Showcase your communication skills and emphasise how familiar you are with messaging platforms. It’s also important to show how you manage yourself or problem-solve on your own.

List your achievements, not just tasks

Listing your tasks and responsibilities is important, but it’s also essential to highlight your achievements and accomplishments too. Think about the impact you had at your job and use the STAR method to include the Situation, Task, Action and Result.

As CVs should be short and succinct, it may be better to include this information in your cover letter. You may have more space to elaborate on the results of your actions, what you accomplished and what was improved.

Don’t overly format your CV

As recruiters are likely to be working through hundreds of CVs at a time, it’s essential to keep your formatting clear. Making a resume look fancy might make it stand out, but if it’s illegible and difficult to scan quickly, hiring managers may disregard it.

Likewise, applicant tracking systems can have difficulty scanning certain formatting elements, such as columns, text boxes, tables and uncommon fonts. According to FlexJobs, these tracking systems can have trouble scanning contact information if it is included in the header or footer of a document, so it can help to include it at the top of the main body of the CV.

Watch: The biggest job interview mistakes

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