From Robin Madell at Remote.co
Angie Wesley, TIAA chief talent acquisition officer, recently offered tips during a virtual talk with 200+ summer interns and recent college graduates on how to find a job in a virtual environment—an environment that job seekers must increasingly navigate due to COVID-19. Remote.co interviewed Wesley for her advice on finding a remote job. If you’re a remote worker considering the next steps to take in your career, keep these four strategies from Wesley in mind.
Keep Your LinkedIn Updated and Share Examples of Your Work
According to Wesley, for today’s remote job seekers, your digital footprint is a reflection of you. “LinkedIn is the storefront for every job seeker,” Wesley said. “It’s a space for you to show off your best professional self.”
She emphassed that this doesn’t mean only sharing your work, but also commenting on or sharing industry and relevant pieces of expert content with others through social media. Wesley also advised making sure your profile photos for Facebook and Instagram are “professional friendly.”
“This doesn’t mean they have to be work headshots, but it does mean they should be aligned with the brand you’re working to portray,” she said.
While in-person networking events have been largely curtailed due to the pandemic, it’s still possible to do plenty of job-search-related networking online. Wesley suggested making it a point to reach out to people in your network and ask to schedule a quick Zoom meeting.
“For job seekers, it may feel like an odd time to double down on networking, but that’s my recommendation,” Wesley said. “In the current environment, people are missing that personal connection, and now could be a great time to help foster some meaningful relationships in your professional life.”
When you reach out to people in your industry or field to network, though, make sure you’re not doing it solely to try to angle for a job. Wesley stressed the importance of taking the time to learn from them and their experiences. “Ask about how they got into their chosen profession or field, and use the time to gain an understanding of what it takes to grow in a specific area,” she said.
She also noted that those relationships that you foster professionally could last longer than any specific role or job. “If there isn’t a fit today, that doesn’t mean there won’t be one a year from now,” Wesley said. “Take the long-term view.”
Ask Questions, Read Books, and Keep Up With Timely Industry Content
Staying in touch with the present environment in your industry requires regular attention. This begins by staying current with the latest information from industry thought leaders and publications, which can be done very effectively online.
“Every single leader wants to hire someone who is up to speed on the industry, competitors, and how things are evolving,” Wesley said. “Being able to discuss current events and trends related to your field or profession are instrumental to showing the value you would bring to any role.”
She added that managers are always looking for motivated team members, so going the extra mile to study up on a company or industry can show your ability to connect the dots. “Being a professional remote worker means continually learning and developing your skills,” Wesley said.
Consider Contract or Volunteer Alternatives
If you don’t have a current position or are looking for a way to illustrate your skills and keep your resume current, Wesley advises looking for opportunities that can provide concrete examples of your work, your values, and your brand. These might include virtual consulting (contract) assignments or volunteering for a non-profit or local business to sharpen your skills and build your network.
“Short-term contract assignments can lead to full-time work and can also help you learn more about a profession while you’re looking,” Wesley said. “Working with non-profits can serve you similarly, but you also get the chance to do work for a good cause in the meantime.”
She pointed out that many non-profits run leanly with only a few staff members and can usually use some extra help—and may offer virtual opportunities, especially in current times. They can also serve as great places to network in your area since local business leaders may be on the board or donating their time as well.
“By taking these types of positions, you’re showing that you’re taking your career path into your own hands at a time where there is a lot of uncertainty in the job market,” Wesley concluded.
Keep Moving Forward
These career tips will work in a non-remote environment, too. They can help you stay connected, expand your skills set, and even lead to a new job. File them away for a time when in-person job seeking and networking is a reality again.