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Land your remote dream job

From formatting a CV to nailing your online interview, we have all the strategies you need to succeed.
A person searching for a remote job with their laptop

The rise of remote work has opened up job opportunities to more people than ever before. Now you no longer have to live near a company’s offices – or relocate – to work for them. But this newfound freedom comes at a cost. It’s hard to get noticed when your CV is one of the thousands submitted online, and it takes a whole new set of skills to make a great impression in a video interview. Nearly 40% of hiring managers say that interview chemistry has been impacted by the shift to remote hiring. Don’t stress! There are plenty of ways to stand out, even in a sea of applicants. 

Beat the bots and get your CV noticed

More and more companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) software to do the heavy lifting of sorting through job applicants. It’s essential to understand how this hiring technology works, so you can use it to your advantage. Luckily, a few simple strategies can help increase your chances of getting your CV past the software and into the hands of a real, living, breathing person. Check out our four tips here:

1. Make sure a robot can read your CV

Even though applicant-tracking software is getting smarter, it still has limitations in what it can recognise. Check the formatting of your CV and steer clear of graphics, fancy fonts and most importantly, any text within images. Microsoft Word is generally more preferable than uploading a PDF, using HTML or anything else. Word docs are easily scanned by all AI programs.

An example cover letter with highlighted keywords

2. Use keywords

Applicant-tracking software works by scanning the text in your CV for keywords before giving you a job compatibility score. Wherever possible and relevant, include keywords from the actual job description to get the highest score possible. Also, double-check all of the other information that’s needed is correct, such as the month and year you started and ended each of your past roles.

You got an online job interview! Next step, get hired.

It’s now normal for companies to schedule at least one Zoom interview as part of the hiring process. With a bit of prep, you can use this to your advantage. Think about live improv comedy where the jokes fall flat versus a well-directed film with perfect timing. The movie is always funnier. Follow these seven easy steps to ace your online interview and get the job:

1. Prepare and organise

Keep all your application documents for a specific job together in organised folders. Typically, candidates carry this stuff with them to an interview in case their interviewer requests or references it. You still want to be prepared, even on a video call, and don't want to waste time clicking through multiple folders or looking for the correct version. 

Dropbox makes it easy to save, organise and share each unique CV. You can even do the editing directly from Dropbox with Microsoft and Google integrations. If you’ve been asked to share a presentation, use Dropbox Capture to film yourself and record your screen, then watch it back to perfect your work before presenting in the interview.

2. Check your tech

The first step in making sure everything runs smoothly is double-checking all of your technology. Follow this checklist the day before the interview:

  • Make sure your computer or webcam is working correctly.
  • Test your internet connection and Wi-Fi. Just Google ‘internet speed test’, click ‘Run Speed Test’, and make sure your service is running smoothly.
  • Check audio levels for your microphone. Earbuds with a built-in microphone will help reduce the chance of an echo. If they are wireless, check that the Bluetooth connection is working.

3. Set the scene

Follow this checklist to remove distractions, so you and your interviewer can focus on getting to know each other:

  • Quiet! Close doors and windows, ask roommates or family members for privacy, turn off your cell phone ringer. Do whatever you need to do to prevent any background noise that could interrupt your flow.
  • Ideally, set yourself up in front of a blank wall, but if that isn’t an option, make sure your background is tidy and free of clutter. Don’t let a mess overshadow your charm.
  • Interruptions happen. Chances are they’ve even happened to your interviewer. If a roommate or one of your children comes into the room during the interview, don’t panic. Calmly apologise and ask for a moment. Turn off your video and audio, clear the space and get back to work! You don’t always have control of your surroundings, but you do have control of how you handle the situation – and your interviewer will be paying attention to your reaction. 
A person introducing themselves during an online interview

4. Lights, camera, …

Do you ever wonder why some people always seem to look good on camera? They aren’t special. It’s the camera, and more importantly, the lighting! Follow these steps to look your best:

  1. Place your camera at eye level and have your head in the upper third of the computer screen, not centred.
  2. Use soft, indirect light when possible. If you have a light that you can direct, aim it at a white wall in front of you. If you have a typical desk lamp, put a thin sheet over it to diffuse the light.
  3. The light source should always be in front of you, never behind or directly overhead.
  4. Natural light is best. Light from a window is often better than even professional equipment.

5. Look the part

No amount of preparation or good lighting will help if you show up for your virtual interview still in your pyjamas. Dress for success to show the hiring manager you are serious about the job:

  1. Research the company culture before you pick an outfit. Your grandpa may tell you businesswear is always best, but for many companies, especially in the fashion and tech industries, clean and casual is better.
  2. Don’t dress in distracting clothes. Jewel tones always work well on camera and won’t draw unneeded attention.

6. Practice makes perfect

Remote interviewing can be awkward. The only way to truly get comfortable is to practice! Find a patient family member or friend and do as many mock video interviews as you can handle. Here are some tips to follow to get you feeling natural and confident on camera:

  1. Practice eye contact with the camera, not the person you are interviewing. It feels unnatural at first, but research shows that looking directly at the camera will create more of a connection between you and the interviewer.
  2. Smile and act a little more animated than in person. Slightly exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures will make you seem more natural on camera.
  3. Maintain confident and friendly body language. Sit up straight with your shoulders back the whole time. 
  4. Practice answering common interview questions. Why did you leave your last job? Why do you want this job? Why are you the best candidate? What are your biggest weaknesses?

7. Take notes and follow up

Take notes during the interview and send an email to the recruiter or hiring manager within 24 hours of your interview. Make sure to:

  1. Write down interesting personal facts about your interviewers. 
  2. Note how they describe the role and how you would work with them.
  3. Be sure to ask for their work email.
  4. Send a follow-up note to thank your interviewers for their time. It helps if you can reference a detail or two from your conversation to make your email more personal. 

Dropbox Paper is a great way to take and organise notes. Learn how to use Paper here.

The statistics and quotes featured in this article are compiled from several years of research conducted by Dropbox, Totaljobs, Remoters, Appcast and Brandata. Learn more about the methodology and sources here.

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